UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) _ Tom Renney preached restraint in his first game
behind the New York Rangers' bench, and the disappointing team listened to its
A night after Renney took over from Glen Sather, he led his club to a 6-3
victory Thursday that completed a six-game, season sweep of the New York
Sather stepped down Wednesday to concentrate on his president and general
manager duties with the team that is in 11th place in the Eastern Conference,
12 points behind the Islanders and the playoff cutoff.
``It's a vision. It's a ways out there, but we have our eye on it,'' Renney
said of the distant playoff hopes with 19 games remaining.
In the rematch of last week's slugfest, Dale Purinton didn't take the bait
from Islanders enforcer Eric Cairns. Instead, he took the punches but didn't
retaliate and earned a lengthy power play for the Rangers.
``You have to be smart about keeping your emotions in check,'' Purinton
said. ``I don't think that was the time to do it.''
The Rangers completed their second six-game sweep over the Islanders in a
campaign that will likely see them miss the playoffs for a seventh straight
season. They are 8-0-2 in their last 10 against the Islanders.
Jaromir Jagr had two goals and an assist, and Chris Simon added two goals.
Brian Leetch had a goal and two assists, and Bobby Holik had a goal and an
assist as the Rangers swept their area rival for the third time.
The Islanders, outscored 27-13 by the Rangers this season, almost got back
in it after falling behind 6-0 6:49 into the second period. Janne Niinimaa and
Mariusz Czerkawski scored in the second, and Sven Butenschon added his second
NHL goal early in the third. It wasn't enough to extend the Islanders' home
unbeaten streak to 10.
The Islanders hadn't lost at home since Jan. 10, the last time the Rangers
``We're not worried about the Rangers,'' Islanders defenseman Adrian Aucoin
said. ``I don't think the Rangers are going to catch anybody. They have our
Just like last Thursday, the Rangers jumped to a big lead and then fought
Cairns matched up again with Purinton, who absorbed four punches while on
the ice with his head down. When he got back to his skates, he waved Cairns off
and the Rangers were rewarded.
Last week, Purinton had the upper hand after coming to the defense of
forward Martin Rucinsky _ punched twice by Cairns. He claimed Purinton suckered
him then, and still wasn't happy after Purinton didn't fight him in a rematch.
``I've lost a lot of respect for him,'' Cairns said. ``For whatever reason,
he decided to go into a turtle position. He has no respect. Stand up and be a
The Rangers already led 2-0 and chased starting goalie Garth Snow when the
first batch of violence broke out. Cairns drew 27 penalty minutes and was
ejected for instigating the mayhem that also included a bout between Matthew
Barnaby and Isles counterpart Eric Godard.
The Rangers ended up with a two-man power play that produced Holik's goal
against Rick DiPietro that made it 3-0. They had a man advantage for nearly
seven minutes, but couldn't convert again.
DiPietro was sharp early in relief of Snow, two days after he helped the
Islanders to a 0-0 tie with Boston. But once the second period started,
DiPietro was shaky, too.
Jagr knocked in a backhander for another power-play goal 35 seconds in, and
Simon scored his first by intercepting DiPietro's clearing attempt and firing
the puck into the empty net before the goalie could get back.
With that, Islanders coach Steve Stirling turned to Snow and said ``Go In.''
In last week's 6-2 victory at Madison Square Garden, Snow relieved DiPietro
in the third period, but was ejected as part of the 132 penalty minutes that
were handed out.
Simon scored again to make it 6-0, prompting the song ``Rescue Me'' to be
played soon after.
It worked a little as Niinimaa beat Mike Dunham and Czerkawski made it 6-2
with 2:14 left in the period.
Leetch beat Snow with a long shot 2:39 into the game just after the
Islanders had a goal waved off because of a penalty. Jagr made it 2-0 at 4:35.