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Rick DiPietro earns 100th NHL victory in 2-1 win over Rangers

NEW YORK - Rick DiPietro chose not to dwell on his 100th NHL win and his one punch to Sean Avery's head.

The face of the New York Islanders franchise stopped 18 shots Monday night and led his club to a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. It was his 10th against Long Island's biggest rival including all three matchups this season.

DiPietro, the first goalie ever drafted No. 1 when the Islanders took the Massachusetts native in 2000, followed up a 1-0 win Friday at New Jersey with another stellar performance against the Rangers.

He twice foiled Martin Brodeur when the Devils goalie was shooting for 500 wins last week, but needed only one try to reach 100.

"It means I've been in the league a couple of years, I guess," said DiPietro, in the second season of a 15-year contract with the Islanders. "It's a long way to go and hopefully a lot more wins."

The only blemishes against DiPietro on this night were Michal Rozsival's short-handed goal in the second period, and when the Islanders netminder drew a roughing penalty for punching prime agitator Avery in the first.

"It's always a physical game," he said. "It was kind of a wild first 10 minutes, with both teams sparring back and forth. The big thing for us is to maintain our composure. Obviously I lost mine there a little bit but the penalty-kill bailed me out."

The Islanders are 8-1-2 in their last 11 against the Rangers, and now have 500 road victories in franchise history. They snapped the Rangers' winning streak at five.

"It's a big road game," DiPietro said. "It's a division game. We have played well in here the last four or five games."

The Islanders' last seven overall were decided by one goal and in regulation (5-2). They have won two straight on the road despite scoring only three times.

"We have to give Ricky a lot of credit," said Josef Vasicek, who scored in both games. "He stood tall. He's given us confidence in our game."

Ruslan Fedotenko and Vasicek staked the Islanders to a 2-0 lead in the second period.

The Rangers got 22 saves from Henrik Lundqvist but fell to 8-3 at home. They returned to Madison Square Garden after a four-game road sweep and had won nine of 10.

"We allowed frustration to creep into our game," forward Brendan Shanahan said. "I don't know if it's because we want to beat them so badly.

"We place a lot of importance on every game we play. Obviously there is a little bit more emotion involved in this one and sometimes we channel that emotion the wrong way."

After a sluggish first period in which the teams combined for 11 shots, and the Islanders were whistled for icing five times in the first 3:11, the action picked up in the second.

Fedotenko broke the scoreless deadlock eight seconds in, taking advantage of a penalty against Rozsival.

The puck squirted free following a neutral zone faceoff and slid into the Rangers zone. Fedotenko tracked it in the left circle and smacked it past Lundqvist to make it 1-0 on the Islanders' sixth shot.

Minutes later, Vasicek raced down left wing on a 3-on-2 break. He skated to the left circle dot and snapped a shot that sailed past Lundqvist's left shoulder at 5:51.

"It's weird. We don't really get it," Lundqvist said. "They've been good. They play smart."

The Rangers' run of offence from defencemen continued when Rozsival earned his second short-handed goal in two games at 6:37 to cut the deficit in half. Counting all the goals scored in the Rangers' 4-3 overtime win at Pittsburgh on Saturday - including two by Rozsival - they had five straight goals from defencemen.

Rozsival has seven goals in 21 games this season after posting a career-best 10 last season.

The Rangers had an 11-8 edge in shots, but the Islanders closed the second with 11 of the final 13.

Lundqvist was the main reason the Islanders didn't cash in, jumping, sliding and diving at loose pucks as bodies landed all around him. He even absorbed a sliding hit, followed by an elbow from Mike Comrie that went unpenalized and led to a scrum that finished with Avery and Fedotenko going off for roughing.

Avery has toned down his pregame antics that helped precipitate two recent skirmishes in warmups and earned fines for the Rangers and himself, but he is every bit as antagonistic during play.

"He does his job and tries to get under people's skin," Comrie said. "You have to focus on the game, you can't focus on the opponents."

After DiPietro covered a loose puck in the crease, Fedotenko cross-checked Avery from behind into DiPietro. The fiery Islanders goalie jumped up and punched Avery.

"I don't even want to talk about it," DiPietro said. "It's just a waste of energy."

The Islanders killed all five Rangers power plays, including one that lasted the final 1:12.

Notes: Rozsival has 40 goals in 420 NHL games. He had never scored one short-handed before Saturday. ... Vasicek has eight goals, two more than he scored in 63 games with Nashville and Carolina last season.


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