NEW YORK, N.Y. – The New York Rangers sensed the will of the suddenly surging New York Islanders and then crushed it with a dominating final 40 minutes.
Defenceman Matt Gilroy broke a long scoring drought with his first two-goal game in the NHL, and the Rangers recorded a season-high 52 shots to cool off the Islanders with a 7-2 victory Monday night.
The Rangers broke open a 2-2 game with two goals in the second period, and then made it a rout with a three-goal third. The Rangers had 18 shots in the first and second periods and outshot their rivals 34-8 in the last two frames.
As the area dug out of a major blizzard that struck New York on Sunday and into the early hours of Monday, the Rangers handed the Islanders their first loss in four games and snapped their five-game point streak (4-0-1).
“They work real hard as long as they feel they have a chance,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “After we scored the fourth one, you could see they got really tired and started making more mistakes.
“It was important that we scored a couple there in the second to kind of kill it.”
Gilroy gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 44 seconds in and made it 3-2 in the second against goalie Dwayne Roloson, who was chosen Monday as the NHL’s top star for last week. Gilroy, taking the place of scratched defenceman Michael Del Zotto, had gone 64 games without a goal—dating to Nov. 28, 2009. He has six goals in 91 career NHL games.
“It was nice to be a part of it and help the team to win,” said Gilroy, a Long Island native who has played in only 22 of 37 games. “I got some lucky bounces, but I will take it.”
Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko and Derek Stepan also scored for the Rangers to back goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Boyle added two assists as New York improved to 4-1-1 in its past six.
The Rangers outshot the Islanders 52-20 in beating them for the third time in four meetings this season. However, coach John Tortorella called his team sloppy. He chalked that up to the three-day layoff for Christmas.
Lundqvist had a similar theory.
“I got comfortable being off for a few days and eating a lot of Swedish meatballs,” he said. “That’s what happens.”
Rob Schremp and former Rangers forward P.A. Parenteau scored 1:52 apart in the first period to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. The seven goals were the most allowed by Roloson this season, but he kept his club in it for a long time.
“It was just one of those things,” Roloson said. “Some lucky breaks and bounces that were going off people and in the net. But it’s my fault. I’ll take the blame for the loss. As a goalie, you’ve got to give your guys a chance to win, and I didn’t do that.”
The tide turned in the second when the Rangers held an 18-4 shots advantage and scored twice to carry a 4-2 edge into the third.
Roloson, who made 38 saves in a 4-1 home win over Montreal on Sunday night, fell behind quickly on Monday when Gilroy took a pass from Chris Drury at the left point and fired a shot the appear to hit Schremp before finding its way in.
The Islanders (9-19-6) were on their second three-game winning streak of the season and looking to stretch it to a season-best four, but Roloson couldn’t match his recent success.
The 41-year-old netminder, a prime candidate to be traded before the March deadline, was 3-0 last week with a 0.98 goals-against average and .972 save percentage. He allowed only one goal in each start and helped the Islanders escape the NHL cellar.
The Islanders went ahead 2-1 when Schremp and Parenteau connected in short order midway through the first.
Schremp carried the puck from the neutral zone into the left circle for a snap shot that caromed in off Lundqvist’s glove at 7:51. Parenteau capitalized off a turnover and scored his eighth of the season at 9:43.
The Islanders gave up the lead with 50.4 seconds left in the first when Gaborik, back in the lineup after a one-game absence caused by a sore groin, scored his 10th goal on a power play.
Gilroy scored 12:08 into the second when his fluttering shot somehow eluded Roloson and found its way in. Boyle stretched the advantage to 4-2 with 1:39 left in the period.
Dubinsky and Fedotenko scored off rebounds in the third, and Stepan netted the Rangers’ second power-play goal of the game. Dubinsky connected at 4:14, Fedotenko made it 6-2 at 9:05, and Stepan closed the scoring at 10:34.
NOTES: LW Mats Zuccarello earned an assist on Stepan’s goal for his first NHL point in his second game. … The Rangers’ previous high for shots this season was 43 on Oct. 29 against Carolina. It was their most since recording 57 against the Islanders in a 2-1 win March 5, 2007. … Parenteau has scored in three of four games and four of six.