Thomas Vanek scores game-winner as Islanders beat Rangers

Colin McDonald
Colin McDonald celebrates the game-tying goal for the Islanders.
Credit: Getty Images

In every corner of the dressing room, the Rangers seethed — at themselves.

The Rangers dropped the first of three meetings in 10 days with the Islanders, 5-3.

“I thought they were controlling most of the game,” Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said.

Thomas Vanek’s power-play goal with 4:38 left in regulation was the game-winner. Frans Nielsen added an empty net goal.

“Division games are huge this time of year,” Islanders forward John Tavares said. “It’s nice to beat these guys, [and we] probably played a really good, strong hockey game. I think from the puck drop, they got those two early goals, but I think for the most part we were the better team.”

The Islanders’ top line of Vanek, Tavares and Kyle Okposo finished with seven points.

The long-time rivals took turns trading figurative body blows throughout.

Rick Nash opened the scoring 1:02 into the game by cutting through two Islanders and whipping a shot past Kevin Poulin. Exactly 10 minutes and five seconds later, Nash scored his second of the game when Dan Girardi sprung him for a breakaway and he beat Poulin with a deke.

Nash has nine goals in the Rangers’ last nine games.

“We’ve got a centerman that can feed both [of] his wingers and you [have] two wingers that have speed and skill,” Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said of the Nash-Derek Stepan-Chris Kreider line. “It should be an effective line and it has been for us.”

Matt Martin cut the deficit in half with his third of the season at 17:22 of the first, but Chris Kreider put the Rangers up 3-1 with a power-play goal at 9:31 of the second.

“I don’t think it felt like a 3-1 game at the time,” Callahan said. “We got off to that lead but then we have to try and grab control of that hockey game. We need to up our intensity, our energy [and] for whatever reason we didn’t do it.”

And that’s when it fell apart.

Thomas Hickey one-timed a diagonal, cross-ice feed from Kyle Okposo to cut the deficit to 3-2 at 13:22 of the second and Colin McDonald tied the game a 3-3 three minutes later.

“You’re up 3-1 and you think maybe you can get through this period and play a good solid third but we didn’t,” Brad Richards said. “We made some mistakes. Some nights other teams will capitalize and some nights you get away with it. We didn’t get away with it.”

The Rangers did not have the services of Henrik Lundqvist because of an undisclosed illness, so the organization signed free agent goaltender David LeNeveu, who played for AHL Providence and AHL Hartford this season.

Cam Talbot started for the Rangers and made 32 saves. Kevin Poulin finished with 30 saves.

“Goaltending has not been our issue this year, I’ll tell you that,” Tavares said. “Great job by [Poulin] to shut the door. [He] had to make some big saves and can’t ask for much more than that.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.