Rangers rally to beat Islanders
The New York Rangers' last two wins have been satisfyingly similar.
Sandwiched around their disappointing home-opening loss to Montreal, the Rangers secured a pair of road victories with third-period rallies on late goals by Benoit Pouliot and solid goaltending by rookie Cam Talbot.
Pouliot netted the winner moments after defenseman Ryan McDonagh tied it, and the Rangers edged the New York Islanders 3-2 on Tuesday night at raucous Nassau Coliseum that featured fans of both teams dueling chants.
"It feels good for everyone," said Pouliot, who also scored the winner Saturday at Detroit when the Rangers finished a nine-game trip. "After last night's loss we came in here ready to play."
The Rangers brought a 3-6 mark back to Madison Square Garden on Monday, and lost 2-0. They managed only 15 goals in their first 10 games, so once they fell behind the Islanders 2-1 through two periods, a comeback wasn't the most likely scenario.
Yet, it happened again.
McDonagh got the Rangers even at 4:59 with their second power-play goal of the night, and Pouliot put them ahead for good off a pass from Carl Hagelin with 6:14 left.
Talbot, subbing for No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist, made 22 saves for his second win. He played in place of Lundqvist for the third time in four games, this time to give him a break from back-to-back games.
"I am not really trying to surprise anyone," the 26-year-old Talbot said. "I am just trying to give the guys a chance to win when I go out there.
"I know the team has got a lot of confidence in Hank back there, and I'm just trying to give them confidence in me."
McDonagh's goal was set up by a penalty for too many men on the ice that had Islanders coach Jack Capuano screaming at the officials.
Cal Clutterbuck and Peter Regin had rallied the Islanders (4-5-3) in the second period after the Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first. Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves.
"Our defense has to play better," Capuano said. "We played decent, but we're making the same mistakes."
The Rangers shut down John Tavares, Frans Nielsen and newcomer Thomas Vanek, who made his Islanders debut two days after he was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres.
"We have a lot to get better at, and a good couple of days coming up to work on that," Tavares said. "We kept trying to find ways in the third to get opportunities."
Chris Kreider scored in the first period for the Rangers, who rebounded after Monday's loss. The Rangers (4-7) have played all but one game on the road.
The Islanders nudged ahead in a ragged second period in which both teams had defensive lapses and turnovers that created numerous scoring chances.
The Islanders made the most of a miscue by forward Brad Richards, who was playing at the left point. Richards made a lunge to keep the puck in, but missed it. That allowed Clutterbuck to race the other way.
With Richards chasing, Clutterbuck snapped off a textbook wrist shot that nestled into the top right corner to make it 1-1 at 3:40.
It was the first goal and second point for Clutterbuck.
The Islanders went ahead with 40.5 seconds left in the middle period, with help from the Rangers.
A shot from the left circle was deflected in the air by Talbot with his glove. The puck hit defenseman Dan Girardi, who was protecting the crease behind Talbot and fell into the net.
"It was just a fluke play," Talbot said. "It went over me and hit him. You can't really think about that because you can't really help it. You just kind of have to move on, and that's what we did."
The Rangers had only four shots in the first period but 15 in the second. One drive struck Nabokov in the mask and appeared to stun him, but the puck stayed out.
Kreider gave the Rangers a 1-0 edge when he scored his first NHL goal of the season. He showed his relief once the puck glided into the net during a brief power play. The 22-year-old forward was despondent Monday when he was robbed of a goal by Montreal's Peter Budaj.
This time he got to a rebound of Richards' drive and scored with 7:30 left in the first.
Kreider, who had two goals and two assists in six games with Hartford of the AHL before being recalled Oct. 20, recorded one assist in three previous games since his return.
"The fashion we did it, coming back, it is always exciting," Kreider said. "It kind of gets your heart going a little more than you'd like.
"The guys showed a lot of resiliency. It was a great character win."
NOTES: Tavares has a 10-game point streak snapped, the longest in the NHL this season. Nielsen had scored a goal in four straight games. ... The Rangers activated Hagelin from the injured list, and he made his season debut following shoulder surgery. ... Clutterbuck has 63 goals and 337 penalty minutes in 355 NHL games. ... This was the only meeting between the teams at Nassau Coliseum.