UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers like they way they've been playing lately. Beating the rival New York Islanders for the second time in four days was a big confidence boost, too.
Kreider scored a power-play goal with 25 seconds left to give the Rangers their fourth win in five games, 3-2 over the Islanders on Thursday night.
“As the season’s going we’ve started to do a lot of the little things that have given us opportunities to win games and be in games," Kreider said. “We’ve had a stretch here where we’ve definitely done a better job of that.”
With the Islanders' Derick Brassard off for cross-checking earlier in the final minute, Kreider was at the right side of the net and knocked in the rebound of Mika Zibanejad's shot for the tiebreaking goal.
“Mika got a good shot off and it just sat there for me,” Kreider said.
Zibanejad and Tony DeAngelo also scored as the Rangers beat the Islanders for the fourth time in the last five meetings after losing 12 of the previous 13 matchups. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 38 shots to improve to 4-1-0 against the Islanders, who faced the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum for the first time in nearly five years.
The Rangers also won 6-2 at home Monday night in the teams' first meeting of the season.
“They test your mettle, they test your mental toughness, they test your physical toughness," Rangers coach David Quinn said of the Islanders. "To come in here and get two points certainly is a great sign for growth.”
Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier scored for the Islanders, and Semyon Varlamov finished with 25 saves.
“I thought we played well for the most part," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "We made a poor decision at the end and they capitalized on it.”
With the score tied 1-all and the Islanders on a power play, Jordan Eberle hit the crossbar 4:08 into the third period.
Seconds later, DeAngelo came out of the penalty box, grabbed a loose puck and skated up the left side on a 2-on-1 rush. DeAngelo beat Varlamov high to the blocker side for his 12th goal, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 4:16.
The teams were skating 4-on-4 when Beauvillier tied it with 7:20 left. He fired the puck off the end boards, chased down a lively rebound and backhanded it past Georgiev for his 12th.
After getting outplayed in the opening period, the Rangers turned it around and outshot the Islanders 12-5 in the second, holding them without a shot on goal for more than 14 minutes to start the period.
“A little like a roller-coaster,” said Georgiev, who made 21 saves in the first period. “I got warm in the first period and then when we were playing great hockey in the second, I just knew that whenever they had the chance I had to stay sharp.”
With the Rangers on their third power play, DeAngelo’s shot was stopped by Varlamov and knocked up in the air before it fell to the ice behind him. Ryan Pulock swooped in and attempted to keep the puck out of the net, with Zibanejad coming in from the left side and whacking at it.
Play continued for more than a minute until a stoppage. A review then determined Zibanejad did knock the puck across the plane of the goal line with 7:14 left in the second, tying the score with his 18th.
The Islanders’ Leo Komarov hit the right post with 1:19 remaining in the second.
The Islanders outshot the Rangers 22-6 in the first, including a 16-1 margin over the final 10 1/2 minutes.
“We knew they were going to come out hard in the first period and they put the heat on us and got up 1-0,” Quinn said. “Really thought we got back to the way we’re playing in the second period. Our special teams were huge, we got two power-play goals, our penalty-kill was immense.”
Late in the first, Tom Kuhnhackl chased the puck into the right corner, took it away from Rangers defenceman Jacob Trouba and passed in front to Ross Johnston. He sent it to Bailey at the top of the right circle and the veteran forward fired it past Georgiev for his 10th goal with 51 seconds remaining.
NOTES: Islanders forward Casey Cizikas returned after a two-game absence due to a sore groin. He was hit by a puck last Saturday night against Boston. ... The Islanders finished 0 for 5 on the power play and are 1 for 22 over their last 12 games. ... The Rangers were back at Nassau Coliseum for the first time since a 2-1 victory on March 10, 2015. The Islanders began playing home games at Barclays Center the following season and won seven of the eight meetings in Brooklyn the last four years. ... The teams play again Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden and Feb. 25 back at Nassau Coliseum. ... Rangers forward Artemi Panarin had an assist to give him 17 assists and 23 points in his last 10 games. ... The Rangers improved to 10-3-0 against the Metropolitan Division. ... Zibanejad has six goals and five assists in his last 10 games.
Rangers: Host Columbus on Sunday night.
Islanders: Host Washington on Saturday.
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