NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Rangers knew all about their long-running struggles in Brooklyn. Any win over the Islanders these days was going to be welcome.
Mats Zuccarello’s well-placed skate sent the Rangers happily back to Manhattan.
Zuccarello scored late in the third period, redirecting a shot from the point with his foot to lift the Rangers over the Islanders 2-1 on Saturday for their first ever win at Barclays Center. Filip Chytil also scored and Alexandar Georgiev made 24 saves to help the Rangers win in Brooklyn for the first time since their intra-city rivals began playing home games there in 2015.
The Islanders had been 13-2-0 in the teams’ previous 15 meetings overall.
“We didn’t talk about it before the game or anything, but I was well aware,” Marc Staal said. “It was nice to see that goal go in during the third and us able to hang on and get a win.”
The Rangers had been 0-6-1 in their previous seven games in Brooklyn, with their only point coming on Dec. 2, 2015 in a shootout loss.
“We have to string a few more like this together,” Brady Skjei said. “Keep building off this one and get back in the playoff hunt.”
The game completed a home-and-home between the Islanders and Rangers, which began on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. It also marked the final meeting between the Big Apple rivals this season, with each team winning two games.
Saturday’s win was an important one for the Rangers, who had yet to win since the calendar flipped to 2019. The Rangers had been 0-5-0 since the start of January and scored three or more goals just once in that span.
“We battled. We were determined to get a win here finally,” Mika Zibanejad said. “I thought we played right from minute one. Just battled hard on the PK, on the power play, 5-on-5. It was a really good win and I’m happy.”
Anthony Beauvillier scored for the Islanders and Robin Lehner made 24 saves in his second consecutive start. Saturday was the Islanders second loss in their last three games, but they remain in a wild-card spot a point ahead of the Montreal, which plays Saturday night against Colorado.
“I thought our game was way better than it was last game,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We weren’t able to capitalize on some of our chances. We had a big 5-on-3 kill for and we sort of gave it right back to them. … We got the lead we just couldn’t put them away.”
Beauvillier broke a scoreless tie at 8:40 of the second period. The forward took a pass from Josh Bailey near the side of the net, quickly spun around and slid the puck past Georgiev.
The goal came moments after the Islanders’ Nick Leddy hit the post with a backhand.
Chytil evened it at 14:09 after an Islanders turnover in the neutral zone. The goal was Chytil’s seventh of the season and came just after the Islanders had managed to kill a five-on-three advantage for the Rangers.
NOTES: The Rangers had been 2-6-2 in their previous 10 games. The Islanders had been 8-2-0. … Rangers F Kevin Hayes missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury. … Islanders D Luca Sbisa appeared in his first game since Dec. 23 against Dallas. He has appeared in nine games this season with the Islanders. … The Rangers scratched D Brendan Smith and D Neal Poinl. … The Islanders scratched D Adam Pelech, F Tom Kuhnhackl and F Michael Dal Colle.
Rangers: At Columbus on Sunday night.
Islanders: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday night.
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