for this game

Simon's penalty leads to winner as Rangers triumph

Mar 9, 2007 - 5:53 AM
UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) -- Chris Simon's senseless act cost the New York Islanders an important two points.

Petr Prucha's power-play goal during Simon's penalty in the latter stages of the third period snapped a tie and lifted the New York Rangers to a 2-1 triumph over the Islanders.

With the win, the Rangers (33-27-7) grabbed hold of the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Toronto (32-27-9) and idle Carolina (33-28-7) also have 73 points but have each played one more game than the Rangers.

Conversely, the Islanders (33-24-10) failed to create breathing room between themselves and the trio, remaining only three points ahead.

"We needed two points in this game," Prucha said. "We couldn't let them get a point from the tie."

After being checked hard into the boards by Ryan Hollweg, Simon made a crucial mistake, picking himself from the ice and retaliating with a severe chop to the face of the Rangers' center with his stick with 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the third.

"These things happen. Sometimes you step out of yourself," Hollweg said. "I saw the stick coming, and next thing I was out. Fortunately, I'm not injured as much as I could be."

"That's stuff we don't need in our game and we're trying to get out of our game," Rangers defenseman Paul Mara added. "It cost them the game. It's too bad (Simon) had to go do that, but it was a positive for us."

A former Ranger, Simon - who likely will be suspended by the NHL - received a match penalty for a deliberate attempt to injure, giving the Rangers a five-minute power play.

"I know I've been known as a team guy, and I feel really bad for letting my team down," Simon said. "I feel bad for taking a penalty and leading to losing the game. I think I've always been open and available (to the media), but I think I should wait to talk to the league."

"It's one of those things that happens," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "We need to speak to the league."

It took the Rangers just 77 seconds to cash in, as Prucha took a backhand pass from behind the net by Michael Nylander and slid the puck past goaltender Rick DiPietro at 14:46 for a 2-1 edge.

"Thanks to Simon, who took the penalty," Prucha said. "It's like revenge. I had a pretty good shot."

Following the vicious hit he endured, Hollweg was attended to by the team trainer but suffered a minor abrasion below his lip.

"I feel unbelievable," he said. "We're square, we got the win. I'll do whatever it takes to get into the playoffs."

The Islanders nearly drew even with 21 seconds remaining, as Trent Hunter's backhander appeared to cross the goal line before netminder Henrik Lundqvist pulled back the puck with his stick. But after a lengthy video review, the Rangers hung on to their 2-1 advantage.

"I was on the other side of the goalie," Hunter said. "I just tried to put the puck into the mix, and it went off (Jason Blake's) or (Ryan Smyth's) stick or skate. I just tried to get it on net."

"I saw the shot from the blue line (by defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron) and I blocked it, and then it rebounded and I lost the puck," Lundqvist said. "Then it was sliding slow over to the corner (of the net) and I got a stick on it. It can be hard to see."

Nolan thought his team had knotted the contest but did not vehemently argue the final decision.

"Different shots and different opinions," he said. "I thought it was over (the line) and they didn't think it was."

Mara also scored and Lundqvist made 30 saves for the Rangers, who completed a home-and-home sweep of the Islanders after losing the first four meetings of the season. The Rangers posted a 2-1 shootout victory over the Islanders at home on Monday.

"(The rivalry) is everything I thought it would be and everyone said it would be," said Mara, a New Jersey native. "The fans are crazy out there."

Simon netted the lone goal for the Islanders, who failed to earn a point for the first time in eight games, suffering their first regulation loss since February 17.

"They got two power-play goals," Nolan said. "We played much better than the other night (at Madison Square Garden)."

After a scoreless first period, Simon gave the Islanders the lead with his third goal in five games. Richard Park carried down the right wing and skated behind the net before passing to Arron Asham, whose shot from the slot hit a skate in front.

The puck caromed to Simon, who banged it in from near the right goalpost at 3:33 for his 10th of the season.

The Rangers forged a tie with 8:06 to go in the second on Mara's first goal as a Ranger. Acquired from Boston at last week's trade deadline, the blue-liner beat DiPietro to the glove side with a one-timer from the right point for his first tally in 25 games.

"It's great to get my first goal as part of this great rivalry and in the first week or so," Mara said.

Ironically, Mara's last goal also came against the Islanders on January 11.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 1 1 2
    NY ISLANDERS 0 1 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYI - CHRIS SIMON 10 (ARRON ASHAM, RICHARD PARK) 3:33
    NYR - (PP) PAUL MARA 4 (KAREL RACHUNEK, MATT CULLEN) 11:54
    3RD PRD: NYR - (PP) PETR PRUCHA 17 (MICHAEL NYLANDER, JAROMIR JAGR)
    14:46
    POWER-PLAY CONV

    Mar 8 10:10 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    3RD PRD: NYR - (PP) PETR PRUCHA 17 (MICHAEL NYLANDER, JAROMIR JAGR)
    14:46

    Rangers vs. IslandersMar 8 9:51 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Rangers vs. IslandersMar 8 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 1 1
    NY ISLANDERS 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYI - CHRIS SIMON 10 (ARRON ASHAM, RICHARD PARK) 3:33
    NYR - (PP) PAUL MARA 4 (KAREL RACHUNEK, MATT CULLEN) 11:54
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 8 1

    Mar 8 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    2ND PRD: NYR - (PP) PAUL MARA 4 (KAREL RACHUNEK, MATT CULLEN) 11:54

    Rangers vs. IslandersMar 8 8:56 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 0
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    2ND PRD: NYI - VIKTOR KOZLOV 22 (ARRON ASHAM, RICHARD PARK) 3:33

    Rangers vs. IslandersMar 8 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 0
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 8 8
    NYI 15 15
    GOALIES: NYR - HENRIK LUNDQVIST
    NYI - RICK DIPIETRO

    Mar 8 8:14 PM