NEW YORK (AP) — Following a stretch of seven games in 11 days, the New York Islanders don’t play again until Feb. 1 The extended time off around the All-Star break will feel much better after a needed win against one of their biggest rivals.
Josh Bailey had a goal and two assists, Thomas Greiss stopped 40 shots, and the Islanders held on to beat the New York Rangers 4-2 Tuesday night.
“I’m ecstatic with the two points,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s huge for our psyche and the break. We’ve had so many games in the short period of time. We’re mentally and physically fatigued, and the break is going to do us good.”
Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson also scored, and Mathew Barzal had two assists to help the Islanders get their second win in eight games (2-4-2). The Islanders got their first win against the Rangers in the teams’ third meeting in nine days.
The Islanders led 4-0 before giving up two late goals, and holding off the charging Rangers.
“If we lost that game in any way, shape or form, I think it would’ve been a big punch to the stomach,” Trotz said. “But we didn’t and we’re going to have a good break now, and a well-deserved rest.”
Pavel Buchevich and Chris Kreider scored power-play goals 1:47 apart late in the third period for the short-handed Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev, who came in 4-1-0 in five games against the Islanders, finished with 14 saves.
“Couple of tough goals today,” said Georgiev, who had stopped 70 of 74 shots while winning the teams’ previous two games last week. “They managed to score their goals and shut us down pretty good.”
The Rangers were without All-Star forward Artemi Panarin, who sat out with an upper body injury.
The Islanders, 2 for 29 on the power play over their previous 14 games, were 2 for 2 against the Rangers.
Both teams had shots hit off goalposts or the crossbar and stay out — Barzal in the first and Nick Leddy midway through the second for the Islanders, and Mika Zibanejad early in the second and Brendan Lemieux in the third for the Rangers.
Nelson scored from the left side off a nice pass from Bailey to make it 4-0 at 3:13 of the third. It was Nelson’s 20th of the season.
Shortly after Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield was whistled for a double-minor for spearing Lemieux, Buchnevich scored on a deflection to get the Rangers on the board with 6:15 left. It was Buchnevich’s eighth.
With the Rangers still on the power play and the goalie pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage, Kreider scored on the rebound of Mika Zibanejad’s shot to make it 4-2 with 4:28 to go. It was Kreider’s 17th.
After a time out by the Rangers, the Islanders were given a delay of game penalty — putting the Rangers on the power play again with 4:26 left. The Rangers again pulled Georgiev for another 6-on-4, but couldn’t take advantage.
“Greisser was outstanding,” Trotz said. “It’s a big win. … We could have made it easy, we didn’t. We don’t do anything easy right now.”
Lee fired a one-timer off a pass from Barzal past Georgiev for his 16th at 9:52 of the second for a 3-0 lead. The puck appeared to deflect in off the Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren, the second time in the game a goal was scored off the defenseman.
“It’s always good,” Bailey said. “We’ll take those as they come. … We got a couple tonight, and found a way to get a big win.”
Ryan Strome appeared to get the Rangers on the scoreboard with 2:08 left in the second, but the Islanders challenged for offside on the play and, after a review, the goal was erased.
The Rangers also controlled play for much of the first 12 minutes of the game, outshooting the Islanders 8-1.
With the Islanders on a power play, Bailey deflected a shot by rookie defenseman Noah Dobson. Georgiev made the save, but the puck deflected off Lindgren’s leg and in. Bailey was credited with his 11th goal with 6:25 remaining.
The Islanders were on another power play as Beauvillier got the puck from Barzal high between the circles, skated forward and fired the puck past Georgiev for his 13th with 3:25 left in the period to make it 2-0.
NOTES: Panarin, signed to a seven-year, $81.5 million deal last summer, missed his first game this season. He has totaled 26 goals and 42 assists in 47 games. … With the Rangers off until Jan. 31, rookie G Igor Shesterkin was sent down to Hartford of the AHL. Shesterkin, who went 2-1-0 with a 2.68 goals-against average in three starts with the NHL club, earned a selection to the AHL All-Star Game before his promotion earlier this month. … F Jesper Fast played in his 400th career NHL game. … The teams conclude the season series Feb. 25 at Nassau Coliseum. … Bailey has three goals and three assists in his last seven games. … Lee scored for the second straight game and has five goals and an assist in his last nine games.
Islanders: Host Vancouver on Feb. 1 to open a three-game homestand in Brooklyn.
Rangers: Host Detroit on Jan. 31 to open a two-night, home-and-home set with the Red Wings.
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