The Islanders defeated the New York Rangers 4-1 Tuesday night at a sold-out Nassau Coliseum. It was the Islanders' third win in as many games against the Blueshirts this year. It was also the third consecutive time that Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist allowed three or more goals against the Islanders.
The victory pushes the Isles further in front of the Rangers. They are seven points ahead of their Manhattan rival in the Metropolitan Division and moved back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
"It's a big game and obviously the standings are tight," John Tavares said. "These games are a lot of emotion and intensity. It's just a good way to start [the second half]. I think we gave up quite a few chances tonight, but the intensity was there, work ethic and Jaro [Halak] played a great game.
"He made some big saves and it's just a good win."
Halak had 40 saves for the Islanders and was stellar between the pipes. He was fresh off his trip to the NHL All-Star Game over the weekend and nearly had his second straight shutout oagainst the Blueshirts before Carl Hagelin's power play goal with 8.1 seconds left.
"It's obviously disappointing, but you have to win," Halak said. "It's not like it was a 1-0 game and they got the goal. Obviously I would be [upset] more, but this time it's two points at home. Hopefully next I'll have more luck at the end."
The Islanders had plenty of luck Tuesday in their four-goal night. Mikhail Grabovski scored off of an impressive passing sequence between him, Josh Bailey and Johnny Boychuk. Matt Martin put the Islanders ahead 2-0 early in the second period.
Ryan Strome made it 3-0 after a cross-ice pass to Frans Nielsen took an errant bounce and went into the net. Tavares scored the fourth goal on a 5-on-3 advantage
Despite the resounding victory, coach Jack Capuano characterized the Islanders play as "OK".
"I thought (the Rangers) dominated a lot of the play tonight," he said. "I thought the second period was a good period for those guys. They grinded us out. Our goalie made some terrific saves to keep us right there where we needed to be. For the most part we did some good things, but as the guys know I thought there were a few guys that struggled tonight."
Asked why he thought the Islanders were able to win, Capuano said "we found a way to win and that's what good teams do."
The Islanders will reconvene at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday for practice, before hosting the Boston Bruins on Thursday.