for this game

Rangers blank Islanders

Dec 27, 2011 - 6:17 AM
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Henrik Lundqvist stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the season as the New York Rangers downed the New York Islanders, 3-0, at Madison Square Garden.

Carl Hagelin scored twice and Marian Gaborik notched his league-leading 22nd goal of the season for the Rangers, who have won five straight to move alone atop the Eastern Conference.

Evgeni Nabokov gave up two goals on 30 shots for the Islanders, who are at the opposite end of the spectrum as they occupy the basement of the Eastern Conference.

"We have to come out with a swagger, not come out and see the other team and think about how good they are," said Nabokov. "We have to come out with the mentality that we can beat any team out there, because we can."

The first 20 minutes passed scoreless, but the Rangers were able to get on the board 5:14 into the second thanks to defenseman Mike Del Zotto.

Good pressure in the Islanders end saw the team attempt a blind clear which Del Zotto grabbed. He deked a defender and moved to the left circle, where he got a backhand on net. That was stopped and Ryan Callahan's follow up was as well, but Hagelin was able to grab the puck at the right side and bank it off the skate of Nabokov and into the net.

"I saw the guy racing out to try and defend me so I tried a move that's only worked once for me," said Del Zotto. "Fortunately that time it worked was tonight and it helped us grab this win."

The second goal of the game went to the Rangers as well as Del Zotto and Callahan worked a give-and-go with Del Zotto passing it from the low left side to the front where Hagelin one-timed it home at the 6:32 mark of the third.

Gaborik scored his seventh goal in the past five games with the net open and 2:28 to play to account for the final score.

Game Notes

The Rangers got some good news on Monday as defenseman Marc Staal has been cleared for contact in practice. He has been out since February with a concussion he suffered in a game against Carolina when he was hit by his brother, Eric...Lundqvist has 38 shutouts in his career...The Rangers have won three of four against the Islanders this season.