New York, NY (Sports Network) - J.T. Miller had a dazzling Madison Square
Garden debut and Henrik Lundqvist delivered a strong performance between the
pipes as the New York Rangers came through with a 4-1 victory over the New
Miller, a 2011 first-round pick playing in just his second NHL game, scored
his first two career goals to help the Rangers rebound from Tuesday's 3-1 loss
at New Jersey while handed their slumping crosstown rivals a third consecutive
Marian Gaborik and Ryan McDonagh added goals to back a 27-save effort from
Lundqvist, with McDonagh also notching an assist and Marc Staal contributing
two helpers to the win.
John Tavares netted the lone goal for the Islanders, who made headlines prior
to the game by acquiring the rights to idle goaltender Tim Thomas in a trade
with the Boston Bruins.
The Isles dealt a conditional future second-round choice for the 38-year-old
former Vezina Trophy winner, who is currently sitting out the season in order
to spend time with his family in Colorado. The Bruins will receive the pick
only if Thomas reports to his new team.
Evgeni Nabokov, the Islanders' current starting netminder, stopped 21-of-24
attempts in the setback.
It didn't take long for Miller to impress the home crowd. Just 1:29 into the
contest, the 19-year-old pounced on a loose puck that Islanders defenseman
Mark Streit misplayed and broke loose down the left side before firing a shot
over Nabokov's shoulder for a 1-0 Rangers' lead.
Gaborik made it a two-goal cushion with just over six minutes left in the
opening period, when the sniper wristed a rebound off a Staal blast off the
right post and in for his sixth tally of the season.
Tavares would get the Isles on the board near the midway mark of the second
period, with the former No. 1 overall pick beating Lundqvist glove-side on an
odd-man rush to cut the visitor's deficit in half.
Lundqvist kept the Rangers in front by stoning Michael Grabner on a
shorthanded breakaway attempt near the end of the frame, however, and Miller
restored the two-goal advantage just seconds later after the Blueshirts won
the resulting faceoff.
The rookie split two Islander defenders after taking in a feed from McDonaugh
and snapped the puck into the right corner of the net to put his team up 3-1
with 1:49 remaining in the second session.
Lundqvist made the lead stand by coming up with 10 saves in the third period,
with McDonagh putting the finishing touches on the triumph with an empty-net
goal with 2:08 left to play.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan returned to action following a three-game
absence caused by a shoulder subluxation in a Jan. 29 matchup against
Philadelphia, but defenseman Dan Girardi sat out a second straight contest due
to a lower body injury ... The Islanders are now 0-7-1 in their last eight
visits to the Garden since a 3-2 overtime win there on Dec. 26, 2009 ...
Rangers center Brian Boyle was a healthy scratch for the first time since the
2009-10 season. He had played in the team's last 174 regular-season tests ...
The Islanders reinstated suspended defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who rejoined
the team Thursday after initially intending to remain in Russia's Kontinental
Hockey League following the lockout, though both he and fellow blueliner Matt
Carkner (lower body) did not play ... Miller's second goal was only the fourth
in 37 power-play chances for the Rangers, who entered the game last in the
league with the man advantage.
The Sports Network