By IRA PODELL, Associated Press
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — P.A. Parenteau scored two goals in regulation and linemate Matt Moulson netted the winner in a shootout as the New York Islanders outlasted the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers 4-3 on Friday night.
Parenteau scored in the first and second periods after Moulson opened the scoring as the Islanders grabbed a 3-1 lead. But the Rangers overcame sloppiness in front of backup goalie Martin Biron and got even on goals by Marc Staal, Marian Gaborik and Derek Stepan.
It wasn't enough as Evgeni Nabokov returned after a bout with the flu and made 33 traditional saves and three more in the shootout. Frans Nielsen also scored in the tiebreaker for the Islanders, who had lost three of four.
Gaborik had the lone shootout goal for the Rangers, 1-2-1 in their past four. They have lost consecutive games for the first time since mid-December.
Biron made 24 saves through overtime in place of No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Biron allowed four first-period goals to Chicago in his previous appearance on Feb. 16.
The Islanders threatened to run the Rangers out of the building, stretching their lead to 3-1 and nearly scoring again when Michael Grabner came in on a breakaway midway through the second. Biron turned aside that chance and gave his teammates the opportunity to make a comeback.
Gaborik started the rally when he took a length-of-the-ice bank pass from Artem Anisimov off the side boards after an Islanders turnover and came in alone on Nabokov. Gaborik shifted to his backhand and flipped a shot that just eluded Nabokov's glove for his 28th goal, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Gaborik was involved in Stepan's tying power-play goal, too, 4:51 later. Gaborik slid a pass in the Islanders' end to Stepan for a shot that deflected in on Nabokov. The loose puck in the crease was kicked in by Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, who just got back into the lineup after missing nine games because of injuries to his face when he was struck with a puck.
Thinking the goal was scored by Ryan Callahan — who swung his stick at the fluttering puck in front — Gaborik fished the puck out of the net. He gave it Callahan, who is one goal shy of 100 in his career.
Until then, the night belonged to the high-flying Islanders line of Parenteau, John Tavares and Moulson.
Parenteau did the majority of the damage against his former team, with plenty of help from his linemates. In 11 career games versus the Rangers, Parenteau has seven goals, three in five meetings this season.
Parenteau scored his first of the night at 8:42 of the first to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead. The Rangers got caught in a bad line change that left Michael Del Zotto alone in his end without a defense partner. Tavares made a pass behind his back and between his legs to spring Parenteau, who fired a slap shot from above the right circle past Biron.
Del Zotto was in the penalty box after he illegally swept teammate Brian Boyle's dropped stick back to him, when Parenteau made it 3-1 in the second period. Andrew MacDonald sent a shot from the point into traffic in front. Moulson backhanded the rebound to Parenteau for his 14th goal.
Moulson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead 6:07 in when Tavares skated one way behind the net and then quickly changed directions before feeding a crisp pass out front to Moulson for his 26th goal. The Islanders scored twice on their first four shots of the game.
Staal brought the Rangers within 2-1with the first of his team's two power-play goals. Anton Stralman faked a shot and then fed his defense partner with a pass that Staal snapped in for his second goal of the season.
The Rangers had been 1 for 15 on the power play in the previous five games.
NOTES: LW Ruslan Fedotenko returned to the Rangers after missing six games due to a suspected concussion after he was leveled by a hit from Tampa Bay's Dominic Moore on Feb. 9. D Stu Bickel, who also played at forward during Fedotenko's absence, remained in the lineup. D Steve Eminger was scratched. ... Biron is 21-4-2 against the Islanders. ... C Casey Cizikas, recalled by the Islanders from Bridgeport of the AHL on Thursday, made his NHL debut. He was in the penalty box when Stepan scored the tying goal. ... Parenteau, who leads the Islanders with 42 assists, already has a career high with 56 points. He has nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) in nine games. ... Tavares, with two assists, has 60 points on 138 Islanders goals this season. He has assisted on 18 of Moulson's goals.
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