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game recap

Islanders hand Rangers fifth straight loss

Tavares scores deciding goal in shootout, Halak makes 38 saves

by Brian Compton / Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- Jordan Eberle and John Tavares scored in the shootout, and Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves to help the New York Islanders to a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Mathew Barzal scored his first NHL goal, and Anders Lee and Brock Nelson also each had a goal for the Islanders (3-3-1), who managed to get two points in the standings despite giving up a two-goal lead in the third period. The Islanders went 2-2-0 playing four straight road games.


[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Rangers highlights]


"When you're down, you push," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "You take chances and start throwing pucks and get things to the net and you get a little desperate. You can't always blame your hockey club for hanging on for a win. It's tough, but we'll work at some things tomorrow and talk about some things. But it was a big win."

Video: NYI@NYR: Tavares goes to his backhand for SO tally

Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes scored for the Rangers in the third period to erase a 3-1 Islanders lead. David Desharnais also scored and Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves, but the Rangers (1-5-2) lost their fifth straight game.

"That's the challenge we face right now as a group, and the only way to get those bounces is to continue to play the right way and continue to work hard," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of trying to keep a positive attitude. "That's what we're doing right now and you saw the third period; we spent close to 10 minutes in the Islanders end, so we've got to bottle that up and get ready for the next game and bring that against Nashville (on Saturday)."

Lee scored the Islanders' first power-play goal of the season 2:40 into the game when Ryan Pulock put it front for Lee, who tapped it past Lundqvist to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.

Video: NYI@NYR: Lee knocks home Pulock's rebound for PPG

It was the Islanders' first power-play goal in 21 opportunities this season.

Desharnais made it 1-1 at 5:02 of the first period when he redirected Kevin Shattenkirk's wrist shot from the right point past Halak.

Goals by Nelson (6:06 of the first) and Barzal (1:15 of the second) gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead before Zuccarello got the Rangers back within one at 3:29 of the third. Lee turned the puck over at the Islanders blue line to Brendan Smith, who fed Zuccarello in front for an easy tap-in to make it 3-2.

"We definitely let them back in the game, and I take responsibility for that first one," Lee said. "But we held our game and held strong. They put a big push on there and we were able to win in a shootout."

The Rangers thought they tied the game with 7:53 left in the third period, but after video review it was ruled Smith had kicked the puck across the goal line.

But the Rangers did tie it 2:01 later when Hayes drove past Andrew Ladd and let go a soft backhand shot from the right side that got past Halak to make it 3-3.

"Obviously, it was an unfortunate bounce," Halak said. "Just one of those where I just tried to seal the post, and somehow it went in. It looked like the puck had eyes and found a way."

Video: NYI@NYR: Hayes ties game with shot from goal line


Goal of the game

Nelson responded for the Islanders 1:04 after Desharnais' goal when he put a wrist shot from the slot past Lundqvist to make it 2-1.

Video: NYI@NYR: Nelson whips huge wrister past Lundqvist


Saves of the game

Lundqvist made sure the Rangers got at least one point in the standings when he made back-to-back saves on Islanders forward Josh Bailey from point-blank range in the final seconds of the third period.


Highlight of the game

Barzal, a first-round pick (No. 16) in the 2015 NHL Draft, gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead when he took a pass from Calvin de Haan, drove past Rangers forward Rick Nash down the left side and put a shot from a sharp angle past Lundqvist.

Video: NYI@NYR: Barzal beats Lundqvist for first NHL goal


They said it

"I'm happy I scored, but at the same time I'm a little bit frustrated that I thought I could have had a couple more. [Bailey] has been giving me a lot of passes and I haven't been able to get him assists yet. A little frustrating." -- Islanders forward Mathew Barzal


"We're close. I think we do a lot of good things. Obviously when we don't get the win, we seem to get stuck in the mistakes. The missed opportunities, not coming up with that extra save. But at the same time, we are doing a lot of good things as a group. We just need that extra play right now." -- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist


Need to know

Pulock made his season debut. … Halak made saves against Mika Zibanejad and Desharnais in the shootout after Zuccarello scored in the first round. Halak is 8-3-0 against the Rangers since joining the Islanders in 2014-15. … Rangers defenseman Marc Staal had an assist. He has more points (20) against the Islanders than any other NHL team.


What's next

Islanders: Host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

Rangers: Host the Nashville Predators on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET; SN, MSG, FS-TN, NHL.TV)


Video: Halak, Tavares lead Isles in SO for 4-3 victory

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