Rangers defeat Isles on big night for rookie

The 19-year-old J.T. Miller had his first career goals Thursday. Credit: Getty Images
The 19-year-old J.T. Miller had his first career goals Thursday.
Credit: Getty Images

The youngest Ranger was the leading man on the night The Rivalry was renewed on center stage, as J.T. Miller scored his first two NHL goals in the Rangers’ 4-1 win over the Islanders Thursday night at the Garden.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 5-5-0 this season, and hold a 117-99-19-6 advantage all-time over the Islanders.

“I’m just trying to stay on an even keel here. Obviously it was nice for me but even better go get the win on home ice and a big bounce back from the last game. We just have to keep looking forward,” Miller said while wearing the Broadway Hat, given by the team to the game’s best player. He noted that his mother, grandmother and girlfriend were in attendance.

“It’s nice to get it out of the way,” Miller said of scoring his first goals at the Garden. “I was just trying to look past [the first goal] because we had a lot of game left so [I] just tried to keep plugging along.”

Ryan McDonagh and Marian Gaborik added goals. Gaborik’s was his first since Jan. 26, even though he is tied for fourth in the league in that category. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves. His lone mistake was yielding John Tavares’s fifth goal of the season.

“It’s been a bumpy start for us but we’re working really hard right to try and correct everything,” Lundqvist said. “I thought tonight we did a lot of good things. Tonight we got a good start.”

One-third of a newly formed second line with Chris Kreider and the returning Ryan Callahan, Miller opened the scoring 89 seconds into the match. Miller corralled a Mark Streit turnover at the Islanders’ blueline and sped past Brain Strait before roofing a shot over Evgeni Nabokov (21 saves).

“It’s so important for the organization to keep filling in with kids,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. “Cap world, youth, enthusiasm. [Carl] Hagelin comes up here and changes our team last year.

“[Miller and Kreider] have contributed in the first couple games. Hags brought speed. They’re two different type [of] players. I think Miller — he’s what, 19? — he has a lot of puck poise for such a young kid. He’s a bigger body. He’s a different type player.”

Gaborik increased the lead to 2-0 when he stuffed a rebound of a Marc Staal shot past Nabokov.

Tavares cut the lead in half at 11:13 of the second but Miller made sure the Islanders would come no closer with his second of the game on a semi-breakaway seven minutes later. McDonagh, who finished with two points in 24:42 of ice time, sprung Miller with a gorgeous headman pass. A deke opened a hole between Nabokov’s legs that Miller snapped a shot through to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.

“I was trying to go right over his blocker,” Miller said. “I think it went through his arm; it’s nice for it to go in.”

The Islanders have lost three in a row. One of the culprits in the slide has been a suddenly impotent power play. The Islanders were 0-for-5 on the man advantage last night and are 0-for-19 in the last three games. Adding to the collapse of the Islanders’ specialty teams units was the fact that Miller’s second goal came on the power play.

“Some guys played tentative and some guys didn’t take hits to make plays. You’re not going to win like that,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. “I told them after the game that I was disappointed with some guys and their battle level.

Our power play couldn’t get it going when it was a one-goal game. Special teams are still a factor.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Are you a narcissist? We look at the…

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.