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(Thursday, March 7th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 2, NY Islanders 1 (OT)
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Marian Gaborik's power-play goal 42 seconds into overtime capped a late comeback that gave the resurgent New York Rangers a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Rick Nash netted the game-tying tally with 5:23 left in regulation before drawing the primary assist on Gaborik's game-winner, with Derek Stepan assisting on both Ranger markers and Henrik Lundqvist stopping 27-of-28 shots for the Blueshirts.
The win was the Rangers' fourth in a row, a streak that coincided with Nash's return to the lineup from a four-game absence caused by an undisclosed injury. The team went 0-3-1 during that stretch.
Michael Grabner lit the lamp for the third straight game for the Islanders, but was also whistled for a costly hooking penalty 21 seconds into extra time that led to Gaborik's score.
Evgeni Nabokov finished with 35 saves for the Isles, who earned at least one point (2-0-2) for a fourth consecutive outing.
Nabokov had stymied the Rangers for the majority of the night with a strong performance between the pipes, but Nash was finally able to break through with his team down a goal deep into the third period.
The dangerous sniper deflected Stepan's long drive from the left boards past Nabokov with just under 5 1/2 minutes remaining for his eighth goal of the season -- all of which have come in the third period.
"I thought the Nash line was doing a great job around the net," said Nabokov. "They were putting pucks on the net and they were crashing. They made it tough on our D."
The score stayed at 1-1 entering overtime, but wouldn't be for long after Grabner pulled down Michael Del Zotto with the Ranger defenseman charging to the net not long after the opening draw.
Stepan won the ensuing faceoff and got the puck to Nash, who quickly passed it to Gaborik for a screaming one-timer that whistled by a partially screened Nabokov to end it.
"Nabby played great tonight," said Islanders center John Tavares. "We allowed a tough one to tie it. We kept it going into overtime and [the game-winner] was just an unfortunate break."
Grabner recorded the only goal over the first two periods, taking a no-look, behind-the-net pass from Colin McDonald and perfectly placing a wrister into the upper right corner of the net with 8:09 remaining in the opening session.
Nabokov and the Islander defense made the lead stand into the second intermission and beyond, with the veteran netminder coming up with good stops on Nash and J.T. Miller early in the middle period and the home team able to kill off a pair of Rangers power plays to keep it a 1-0 game heading into the final frame.
Nash now has scored in all four games since coming back and has racked up six goals and seven assists during an eight-game point streak ... Defenseman Roman Hamrlik, claimed off waivers by the Rangers from Washington on Wednesday, made his debut for his new team in place of Marc Staal, sidelined indefinitely after being struck in the right eye with a puck in Tuesday's win over Philadelphia ... Rangers center Brad Richards sat out a second straight contest with a sore neck and back resulting from an illegal hit by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta on Sunday ...Isles defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky missed a second consecutive game due to a personal matter in his native Slovakia ... The Islanders fell to 0-11-0 this season when recording two or fewer goals, but lost for only the third time in 10 matchups when scoring first (7-2-1).
03/07 22:52:38 ET