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game recap

Islanders win, get closer to wild card

Defeat Rangers, two points out of second spot from Eastern Conference

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders moved within two points of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Andrew Ladd scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play with 7:22 left in the third period for the Islanders (34-26-12), who trail the Boston Bruins with one game in hand. Thomas Greiss made 34 saves.

"Another two points," Ladd said. "Obviously at this point every win is crucial. We found a way to win. Obviously our power play was huge tonight, two big goals. We just found a way to win."

 

WATCH: All Islanders vs. Rangers highlights

 

Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash scored for the Rangers (45-25-4), who have lost seven straight home games (0-5-2). Antti Raanta made 25 saves.

"I wish I had that answer," Nash said when asked about the home skid. "It's been a key factor. You have to win your home games once the playoffs come around. We only have three more [home games] to gain some momentum."

Zuccarello gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 2:46 into the second period when he one-timed Mika Zibanejad's feed front in front of the net. It was Zuccarello's 15th goal of the season.

Video: NYI@NYR: Lee buries a rebound past Raanta

The Islanders tied it 1-1 when Anders Lee scored 54 seconds later. Anthony Beauvillier took a pass from Nick Leddy and drove past Steven Kampfer before backhanding a shot from the right circle that Raanta stopped, but Lee scored on the rebound for his 27th of the season.

"We stuck to our game and really grinded them down and took it over," Lee said. "Sometimes games fall that way where it takes two periods to get into a team and they played [Tuesday] night, so that's maybe why we had some good opportunities and came out with a win."

Nash gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 6:36 of the second period, but Nikolay Kulemin tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal 5:01 into the third. Joshua Ho-Sang took a shot from the left wing that went off Beauvillier's skate and then Kulemin's before trickling past Raanta. Kulemin was credited with his 12th goal of the season.

"It was a great game," Beauvillier said. "A lot of character in the room, so we showed up [in the third period]. It was a tough first period, but we came out strong in the second and the third and ended up winning the game. A huge two points for us."

 

Goal of the game

Ladd gave the Islanders the lead when he took a pass from Lee and quickly shot it past Raanta for his 20th goal of the season.

"It's always nice to get to that mark, especially after the start that I had," said Ladd, who scored two goals in his first 24 games. "But at this point, the good feeling is coming away with two points."

Video: NYI@NYR: Ladd finishes Lee's feed in front for PPG

 

Save of the game

Greiss made a pad save against Michael Grabner with 32 seconds remaining in the third period with some help from Leddy, who managed to catch up to the Rangers forward and took away what should have been a breakaway from the neutral zone.

Video: Nick Leddy races back to catch Grabner from breakaway

 

Highlight of the game

Nash got the puck near the Islanders blue line and skated past Thomas Hickey. Greiss got his glove on the shot but the puck trickled over the goal line.

"He's been one of our best two-way players for the last little while," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of Nash. "Not only is he making skilled plays, but he is also going to those tough areas. He's been a real power forward like we need him to be. He played a real good game tonight."

Video: NYI@NYR: Nash kicks puck to skate, chips in goal

 

Unsung performance of the game

Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield blocked three shots, had three hits and fought Rangers forward Tanner Glass in 11:32.

 

They said it

"I don't think it was our best effort in the first two, but it certainly wasn't bad. It's always tough games to play here for both teams. It's a heck of a rivalry, no matter where our teams are in the standings. It doesn't really matter, it's always a pretty passionate game. But to come out in the third, that was a huge push for our team. -- Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic

 

"It doesn't matter where you play. It just so happens to be we are not winning much at home and we are winning a lot of road games. We could look at that as a positive that we are going on the road for three games and try to right the ship out there before we come back." -- Rangers forward J.T. Miller

 

Need to know

Islanders forward Ryan Strome sustained an upper-body injury late in the second period and did not return. Coach Doug Weight said Strome will miss the next two games and probably longer. … Islanders center John Tavares took three minor penalties. … Nash became the fourth Rangers player to score 20 goals this season, joining Grabner, Chris Kreider and Miller.

 

What's next

Islanders: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports, ROOT, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Rangers: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, MSG+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Ladd, Greiss lift Isles to 3-2 win against Rangers

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