What it means: It was a low-scoring affair, but Saturday's Islanders-Rangers game lived up to the hype in every way, from the tight-checking, high-intensity level of play in three scoreless periods down to the end when Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi snapped a 0-0 tie with the game-winner in overtime to give the Rangers the 1-0 win. The sellout crowd of 16,170 got their money's worth and more as the two playoff-caliber teams duked it out in a Battle of New York that upstaged any other rivalry games between the two clubs in recent memory.
The Islanders, who entered the game with a two-point lead on the Blueshirtsm remain in seventh place. The eighth-place Rangers are only one point back and have a game in hand with seven games left.
Power outage: Both the Islanders and Rangers had prime opportunities to snap a scoreless draw with power-plays late in the game. The Islanders were blanked on the man-advantage with Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger in the box at 10:28 for hooking, but were able to come up huge on special teams with the Rangers threatening late in regulation on Kyle Okposo's slashing penalty that extended into the overtime period.
Scoreless first: The first period lacked for a ton of scoring chances but it was an entertaining one nonetheless. Beyond the impeccably-timed “Let’s Go Rangers!” and “Let’s Go Islanders!” that grew to a deafening ding, there were a few entertaining moments. Islanders forward Colin McDonald crushed Eminger along the boards, causing the first major scuffle of the night at 12:14. Arron Asham came to Eminger’s defense, but in doing so negated what would’ve been a Rangers power-play. Instead, both McDonald (elbowing) and Asham (roughing) headed to the box. Later in the period, Lundqvist made an incredible, outstretched glove save to rob Matt Moulson’s rebound attempt. Rangers fans were on their feet after that one, chanting “Hen-rik, Hen-rik,” while Moulson looked incredulous that the shots was snagged.
Stalemate in second: Even with two scoreless periods in the books, the sellout crowd had nothing to be disappointed about with great action on both ends in the second period. Both the Islanders and Rangers hit the post in the second and received stellar performances in net. Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov made a lightning-quick kick save to stop Rangers forward Darroll Powe early in the period. Late in the second period, Lundqvist made a series of clutch saves in a flurry of chances in the waning minutes of the middle frame.