Lundqvist Shines With 38 Saves As Rangers Beat Islanders 4-1

Jim Cerny | Friday, 01.31.2014 / 10:09 PM

Henrik Lundqvist was a difference-maker again Friday night at Madison Square Garden, making 38 saves, and his teammates rewarded him with three goals late in the third period, as the Rangers beat the Islanders by the score of 4-1. The win was the third straight for the Rangers, who are now 14-5-1 in their last 20 games.

Derick Brassard's goal with 7:46 to play in regulation snapped a 1-1 tie, and Brad Richards followed with a back-breaking goal between Evgeni Nabokov's pads with 5:01 to play as the Rangers beat their rivals from Long Island for the second time in as many games over the past three days, following their 2-1 win at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. The Rangers finished their regular season series with a winning record of 3-2-0 against the Islanders in 2013-14.

Marc Staal, who had two assists in the game, made a sweet pass to Brassard at the right post during a delayed penalty call and Brassard made no mistake rifling his ninth goal of the season into the back of the cage for the eventual game-winning goal. Two minutes later Ryan Callahan sprung Richards over the blueline with a head-man pass and Richards wristed one five-hole on Nabokov for his 14th goal.

Ryan McDonagh scored on a long shot into an empty net with one second to play to close out the scoring.

The Rangers came out flying on their home ice Friday, firing five shots on goal within the first minute of the game and recording the first six shots of the contest before the Islanders countered with one of their own nearly three minutes into play. More importantly the Rangers struck for the game's first goal, as well.

Brian Boyle netted his fourth goal of the season--and first in 12 games--3:29 into the first period to provide the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Staal made a pretty play controlling the puck inside the Islanders blueline before blasting a shot towards the net from straight away. Positioned with his back to Nabokov, Boyle deflected the puck into the cage, extending his point-scoring streak to three consecutive games, as the Rangers once again received a lift from the team's fourth line.

At that point the Rangers held an 8-3 shots advantage, but the Islanders responded with a strong rest of the period, though the Rangers still held that 1-0 lead after one period of play. Lundqvist made the save of the night nine minutes into the opening stanza when he did the splits in order to make a sensational right-pad save on a wide-open slam-dunk attempt by the Islanders Josh Bailey, and Nabokov responded six minutes later when he performed a one-two punch of sorts stopping Derick Brassard's tip and then smothering a rebound try by Mats Zuccarello.

After being outshot 14-12 in the first period the Islanders controlled the tempo--and the puck--for much of the second period, peppering Lundqvist with 18 shots on goal. On top of his game, Lundqvist denied one quality scoring chance after another by the Islanders until Kyle Okposo was able to bat a rebound past the Rangers netminder, tying the game at 14:28 of the second.

Okposo's 24th goal of the season came five seconds after the Rangers had killed off a hooking penalty against Ryan McDonagh. However defensemen Dan Girardi and Staal were caught on ice the entire kill, and were exhausted as the Islanders continued to control the puck even after McDonagh's return to the ice. That helped free up Okposo who was left alone at the left post to tie the score.

With the score still tied early in the third period the Rangers seized some momentum for themselves with a solid power play. They tested Nabokov with a series of shots--four officially recorded as shots on goal--and came close to untying the contest, but the veteran Islanders goaltender held the visitors in it, and play leveled out once both teams were back at full strength.

The game grew more testy the longer it went on tied. First Staal took exception to a post-whistle hit from the Islanders Brock Nelson and responded with a punch to Nelson's jaw, leading to a scuffle and coincidental minor penalties at 9:27 of the third.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
03:29NYR Brian Boyle (4) ASST: Marc Staal (6) 1 - 0 NYR
2nd Period
14:28NYI Kyle Okposo (24) ASST: Calvin de Haan (8), Josh Bailey (14) 1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
12:14NYR Derick Brassard (9) ASST: Marc Staal (7), Mats Zuccarello (24) 2 - 1 NYR
14:59NYR Brad Richards (14) ASST: Ryan Callahan (12), Carl Hagelin (9) 3 - 1 NYR
19:59NYR EN - Ryan McDonagh (8) ASST: Dominic Moore (8) 4 - 1 NYR
Three Stars of the Game
Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 39TOI: 59:53
GA: 1EV: 27-28
PIM: 0PP: 10-10
SV%: .974SH: 1-1
Mats Zuccarello
Mats Zuccarello
G: 0Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 14:20
Marc Staal
Marc Staal
G: 0Shots: 0
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 22:43
Penalty Summary
1st Period
10:58NYR Derick Brassard  Holding against  Calvin de Haan
2nd Period
03:26NYI Andrew MacDonald  Cross checking against  Mats Zuccarello
12:23NYR Ryan McDonagh  Hooking against  Peter Regin
19:55NYI Thomas Hickey  Holding the stick against  Carl Hagelin
3rd Period
07:31NYR Brad Richards  Hooking against  Colin McDonald
09:27NYI Brock Nelson  Roughing against  Marc Staal
09:27NYR Marc Staal  Roughing against  Brock Nelson
11:39NYR Chris Kreider  Roughing against  Casey Cizikas
11:39NYI Casey Cizikas  Roughing against  Chris Kreider
18:06NYI John Tavares  Slashing against  Ryan Callahan
18:51NYR Benoit Pouliot  Slashing against  Evgeni Nabokov
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/30/3
Faceoff Wins2736
Blocked Shots1518
Penalty Minutes1012
11L. VisnovskyD00-21020:02
12J. BaileyR01-13014:34
13C. McDonaldR00-1009:53
14T. HickeyD00-11215:54
15C. ClutterbuckR00-13011:16
16P. ReginC00-1009:32
17M. MartinL00-10010:35
21K. OkposoR1005023:27
26T. VanekL0004023:35
29B. NelsonL0012210:17
37B. StraitD0002017:56
40M. GrabnerR00-10011:21
44C. de HaanD01-13019:27
46M. DonovanD00-16019:27
47A. MacDonaldD00-11222:13
51F. NielsenC00-24018:02
53C. CizikasC00-12212:55
91J. TavaresC0002222:53
20E. Nabokov3336.91758:47
5D. GirardiD0001022:19
6A. StralmanD0030020:51
8K. KleinD0000013:02
13D. CarcilloL001005:49
16D. BrassardC1018214:40
17J. MooreD0001013:49
18M. StaalD0220222:43
19B. RichardsC1022219:37
20C. KreiderL0002216:15
21D. StepanC0014018:15
22B. BoyleC1013010:29
24R. CallahanR0104018:44
27R. McDonaghD1001223:56
28D. MooreC011109:16
36M. ZuccarelloR0113014:20
61R. NashL0007016:10
62C. HagelinL0110017:37
67B. PouliotL0000213:06
30H. Lundqvist3839.97459:53