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Islanders-Rangers Preview @NHLdotcom
Islanders-Rangers Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (5-4-0) at New York Rangers (4-3-3).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT.

After not beating the New York Rangers for nearly three years, the New York Islanders look for their third win in this rivalry in just over a week when the teams meet at Madison Square Garden.

Entering this season, the Islanders were 0-8-2 in the last 10 meetings in this series since a 3-1 win on Nov. 23, 2002. The Islanders, however, swept a home-and-home set with the Rangers last week, winning 3-2 in a shootout at Madison Square Garden and 5-4 at home.

"It was a tremendous lift for us," Islanders forward Mark Parrish said. "If you can't get up for an Islanders-Rangers game, regardless of where you are in the standings and all those other things, you shouldn't be playing."

The Islanders went on to lose 4-3 at Montreal in their next game after the home-and-home series, but bounced back with a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday.

Alexei Yashin had two goals and an assist to extend his points streak to seven games, and Miroslav Satan and Jason Blake also scored for the Islanders.

"What I liked about tonight was that every goal we scored was a team goal," Yashin said. "It seemed that everyone was getting involved in the goals, and we're going to continue to need that to keep on winning."

The Rangers had won three straight heading into the matchups with the Islanders last week, but have now lost three in a row.

On Saturday against Buffalo, they thought they tied the game with 8:10 remaining only to have the goal disallowed in a 3-1 loss. Jason Ward's shot from the side of the net deflected off the leg of Sabres defenseman Toni Lydman and through goalie Ryan Miller's pads.

Rangers players celebrated as if they had scored, but referee Don Van Massenhoven ruled he had whistled the play dead before the puck crossed the goal line.

"Looking at the video and listening to the audio, I'd have to say it's a goal, but it's not for me to judge," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.

Renney was also unhappy his team gave up eight power-play chances.

"We beat ourselves," he said. "We got in trouble with some very silly penalties from people who you'd think wouldn't."

Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr had an assist to extend his points streak to seven games (eight goals, three assists).

STANDINGS: Islanders - 10 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Atlantic Division. Rangers - 11 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Satan, 7 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 9 assists; Yashin, 12 points; Janne Niinimaa, 26 PIM. Rangers - Jagr, 10 goals and 15 points; Martin Straka, 11 assists; Darius Kasparaitis, 20 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Islanders - Power play: 18.4 percent (12 for 65), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.1 percent (64 for 77), 17th. Rangers - Power play: 21.2 percent (14 for 66), 5th. Penalty killing: 85.9 percent (61 for 71), 7th.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Rick DiPietro (4-3-0, 3.18 GAA); Garth Snow (1-1-0, 3.95). Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist (3-1-2, 1 SO, 1.64); Kevin Weekes (1-2-1, 3.75).

SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 20; Islanders, 5-4. At Uniondale, N.Y., Parrish scored twice and Arron Asham had a short-handed goal and an assist as the Islanders won despite Jagr's first hat trick with the Rangers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 2-3-0 on the road; Rangers - 3-0-2 at home.

Associated Press
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