Rangers atop East with 5th straight win
Hagelin scores two goals, Lundqvist stops 28 shots in 3-0 shutout of Isles
NEW YORK (AP) - Carl Hagelin scored twice for his second multi-goal game in the NHL, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 28 shots he faced as the New York Rangers beat the New York Islanders 3-0 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.
Hagelin, in just his 16th NHL game, scored in the second and third periods for the surging Rangers (22-8-4) - the Atlantic Division leaders, who leapfrogged defending Stanley Cup champion Boston into first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers finished a 3-0 homestand that included a pair of victories over the Islanders in a five-day span. New York's past four victories have been against division rivals. The Rangers begin a three-game trip at Washington on Wednesday that will conclude with the outdoor Winter Classic in Philadelphia next Monday.
Lundqvist improved to 23-11-5 against the Islanders with four shutouts. He has three shutouts overall this season and 38 in seven NHL seasons.
Joyous Rangers fans chanted "Hen-rik!" as the final moments ticked down. Marian Gaborik sealed the win with his league-leading 22nd goal - an empty-netter with 2:28 left. Gaborik scored for the fifth straight game, netting seven in the span, and matched his goal total for all of last season.
Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves for the Islanders (11-17-6), who are 14th in the 15-team East. The Islanders have lost three of four to the Rangers this season.
After an uneventful first period, the Rangers took a 1-0 lead 5:14 into the second on the rookie Hagelin's fifth goal. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto made a slick, toe-drag move to get around forward Frans Nielsen in the high slot and sent the puck down to Ryan Callahan near the left post. Callahan moved it across the crease to Hagelin at the right post for a drive that banked in off of Nabokov.
Lundqvist was the overall star of the period for the Rangers as he turned aside numerous in-close chances by the Islanders. With just under seven minutes left in the second, Lundqvist made a tough save to stop P.A. Parenteau during a power play, and quickly got back into position to kick out Nielsen's try at the left post on the rebound.
At the end of that advantage, Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi sprung Callahan on a breakaway as the New York captain left the penalty box, but just before he closed in on Nabokov, the puck bounced over his stick and he never got off a shot.
Lundqvist came up big again later in the frame when in rapid fire he denied Marty Reasoner twice and Tim Wallace once. He got some help in the closing seconds when teammates Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman threw their bodies in front of potentially dangerous Islanders shots and were left down on their knees in pain when the buzzer sounded.
Hagelin doubled the lead 6:32 into the third when he took a pass from Del Zotto, who had run a give-and-go with Callahan, and beat Nabokov for his sixth goal.
NOTES: Islanders C Micheal Haley injured a hand during a first-period fight with Rangers D Stu Bickel and didn't return. He will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. ... The Islanders recalled G Anders Nilsson from Bridgeport of the AHL, and he served as Nabokov's backup. ... The Rangers have beaten the Islanders six straight at the Garden. ... Bickel, a rookie, had earned four assists in his first three NHL games - with at least one in each contest - before being blanked by the Islanders. He was left with a black eye following his fight with Haley.