UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Marc Staal picked a good time to break out of his scoring slump.
Staal scored his first goal since Jan. 19 early in the third period to lift the New York Rangers to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. Vinny Prospal, Olli Jokinen and Marian Gaborik scored second-period goals, and Henrik Lundqvist posted 25 saves for the Rangers in their third win in four games.
New York remains four points behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with six games remaining.
“We need wins as much as possible and if that’s what it takes, I’m going to do that,” Staal said about adding offence from the blue-line. “Lately I’ve found more opportunity to jump in the rush. Our forwards are making room out there.”
Blake Comeau scored twice and Mark Streit added a goal before the Islanders lost for the fourth time in six contests. The Islanders are 10 points back of the Bruins with six to play.
We did a lot of good things in the first and the third, but we’ve preached about it being a full 60 minutes,” Comeau said. “It seems like we’ll play a good 20 together, have a letdown and have another good 20. It hasn’t been working.”
The Rangers dominated play coming out of the first intermission down 2-0. The club fired 15 shots in the session after registering just four in the opening period.
Prospal ended a personal eight-game goal drought when his left circle wrist shot beat Dwayne Roloson high on the glove side 1:14 into the period.
A nearly minute-long 5-on-3 Islanders power play almost reversed momentum before Lundqvist came up with two saves on open point shots.
“We took some stupid penalties and got away with it,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said.
The Rangers parlayed the stop into Jokinen’s tying goal midway through the period.
Kyle Okposo’s stick broke on a clearing attempt near the left circle, allowing Jokinen to collect the puck and beat Roloson high for his first goal since Feb. 12. Jokinen added an assist after recording just six points in his previous 14 games.
Gaborik’s team-leading 40th goal with 3:45 remaining in the period capped the scoring barrage. Aaron Voros hit Gaborik with a crisp behind-the-net pass and the winger connected from the slot for his second career 40-goal season.
Staal slammed in Prospal’s pass 5:05 into the third for the 4-2 edge. Prospal finished with his first multipoint game since March 12.
“I think we came in and regrouped really well,” Staal said. “They had all the momentum. We were really calm and got it done.”
Comeau drilled a shot in front off Sean Bergenheim’s feed at 13:27, cutting it to 4-3. Lundqvist only needed to make two saves in the final five minutes to finish it off.
Lundqvist shut out the Islanders at Madison Square Garden six days ago but allowed two goals on the first nine shots Tuesday.
The Islanders ended a 0-for-9 power play drought when Matt Moulson screened Lundqvist to set up Streit’s 11th goal 2:09 in. Entering the night, the Rangers had killed all 11 penalties in the previous four games.
The Rangers’ first line change of the game resulted in a too-many-men bench minor. Streit’s right-point slap shot through traffic marked the Islanders’ first power play goal in six games. Streit recorded his sixth point in the last six games.
Lundqvist, who allowed a bad-angle goal in a loss to Toronto, struggled to pick up the puck on Comeau’s hard left circle wrister later in the period. The shot hit Lundqvist’s mask before sliding into the back of the net at 12:09.
“We didn’t get any help tonight but hopefully well get more help down the road,” Lundqvist said.
NOTES: Rangers RW Ryan Callahan (leg), C Brian Boyle (foot) and LW Sean Avery (knee) were scratched … C Corey Locke logged 6:35 of ice time in his Rangers debut and second career NHL game … Islanders D Andrew MacDonald returned after missing 12 games with a foot injury … LW Trevor Gillies started after being a healthy scratch the last two games.