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Rangers edge Islanders in OT

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Marian Gaborik scored a power-play goal 42 seconds into overtime, and the New York Rangers rallied for a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

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Gaborik took a feed in the high slot from Rick Nash, who got the Rangers even at 1 with 5:23 left in regulation, and fired in a shot for his eighth of the season and first in nine games.

The Rangers got their third power play of the night - the only advantages for either team - when Michael Del Zotto was hauled down as he crashed in on Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov 21 seconds into the extra session.

Gaborik's goal stretched the Rangers' winning streak to a season-high four games and ended the Islanders' winning run at two.

Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves for the win. Nabokov stopped 35 in a tough-luck loss.

Right after the Islanders used their timeout, the Rangers got a puck past Nabokov on their 32nd shot. Derek Stepan kept the puck in at the left point and sent a drive that Nash deflected in for his eighth goal - all scored in the third period.

Nabokov was that close to making Michael Grabner's first-period goal stand up and earning his 54th NHL shutout.

Nabokov stood tall in the face of constant pressure in the opening minutes of the third. He denied J.T. Miller, Ryan Callahan, and Nash in tight as the Rangers pressed for the tying goal, but couldn't keep Nash down for good.

Both clubs entered playing their best hockey of the season, but the Rangers came in as the more banged-up squad as they again played without top center Brad Richards and key defenseman Marc Staal.

Staal sat out for the first time this season because of injuries sustained Tuesday when he was struck in the right eye by a deflected puck in New York's victory over Philadelphia. Staal is out indefinitely, but doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery.

The Rangers held a 13-12 shots advantage in the first period, but it was the Islanders who grabbed the early lead at home.

After creating a couple of early chances with his speed, Grabner cashed in to make it 1-0 with 8:09 left in the first period. He was set up in the middle of the slot when Colin McDonald found him with a pass from behind the net. Grabner fired a rising shot that beat Lundqvist to the upper right corner of the net for his 10th goal of the season.

Grabner has scored in three straight games and four of seven. He nearly netted another just more than three minutes into the second period when he got free on a rush and fired an unimpeded drive from the left circle that Lundqvist blocked aside.

That came right after the Rangers put pressure on Nabokov at the other end, with their best chance being a drive that hit the outside of the net.

The Rangers received two power plays in the second period, but did little with them. The Islanders had the best chance when Matt Martin got free for a short-handed breakaway, but his in-close drive was knocked away by Lundqvist with 3:45 left.

NOTES: Richards missed his second straight game because of neck and back soreness following a hard hit into the boards from behind on Sunday vs. Buffalo. ... Veteran D Roman Hamrlik, formerly of the Islanders, made his Rangers debut one day after being claimed off waivers from Washington. ... Islanders LW Eric Boulton played in his eighth game of the season, and second since Feb. 14 against the Rangers, in place of David Ullstrom. D Lubomir Visnovsky missed his second consecutive game because of personal reasons. ... Grabner became the Islanders' third double-figure goal scorer this season, joining John Tavares (14) and Matt Moulson (11). The Rangers don't have any. ... The game featured three No. 1 overall NHL draft picks: Hamrlik (1992 Tampa Bay), Nash (2002 Columbus) and Tavares (2009 Islanders).

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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