Rangers aim to continue home mastery of Isles

8:24 AM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers shoot for a ninth straight home win over the Islanders on Thursday when the rivals square off at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers extended that run over the Isles with a win last Thursday and have won two more since that victory. On Tuesday, the Rangers beat Boston, but it wasn't easy, as they blew a three-goal lead in the third period to the Bruins.

Ryan Callahan managed to avert disaster, though, as he scored in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Blueshirts a 4-3 win.

"We showed some character in not giving up and not folding the tent in overtime," Callahan said.

Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Anton Stralman all had goals in regulation for the Rangers, who have won six of their last eight. Hagelin has now lit the lamp in three times, while assisting on another in his last two games.

Henrik Lundqvist came up with 37 saves through overtime in the triumph, then turned aside three of the four Boston skaters he faced in the deciding phase to help New York prevail. Lundqvist, though, allowed two goals in the final 1:31 to allow the Bruins to tie.

Lundqvist has won seven straight home starts versus the Isles, while compiling a 1.27 goals-against average and posting three shutouts.

A bad trend continued in Boston, however, as the Rangers were whistled for yet another bench penalty for having too many men on the ice. They lead the league in that category this season.

"It (stinks). It's stupid. It (stinks). It's brutal. I can use a lot of different things," coach John Tortorella said.

The Islanders, meanwhile, are headed in the opposite direction and lost for the fifth straight time on Monday, falling to Carolina Hurricanes, 6-4. Matt Moulson notched two goals and an assist for the Isles, who scored four times on the power play.

John Tavares scored once and assisted on another for the Islanders, with Lubomir Visnovsky registering a pair of helpers in the setback. Tavares has a goal in three straight games.

Rick DiPietro stopped 25-of-30 shots for the Islanders in his first start since Jan. 25.

"We're working hard. That's all we can do," DiPietro said. "The difference between winning and losing is so small -- it's one mistake here, one bad play there. If we continue to play hard and make smart decisions, we're going to win a lot more games than we lose."

Evgeni Nabokov will likely be back between the pipes on Thursday and is 4-5-1 on the year with a .897 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against- average.

The Rangers, who have not lost at home in this series since Dec. 26, 2009, have also registered at least one point in 14 of their last 17 games against the Islanders, posting a record of 12-3-2 over the span, dating back to a 5-2 win on Dec. 17, 2009, on Long Island.

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