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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Isles 1 (OT)

By Katie Strang

What it means: Michael Grabner was whistled for a hooking penalty 21 seconds into overtime and the Rangers capitalized for a 2-1 OT win over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday. Marian Gaborik unleashed a slapshot that beat a screened Evgeni Nabokov at the 42-second mark of the overtime period to give the Rangers their season-high fourth straight win. The Islanders were not a happy bunch as they exited the ice and directed their ire at the officiating crew that sent Grabner to the box. The team staff was slapped with a game misconduct for their outburst.

Tie game: Snapping Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov's shutout bid and knotting the game at one, Rick Nash extended his goal-scoring streak to four games. Nash tipped in Derek Stepan's slapshot at 14:37 of the third, scoring his team-leading eighth goal of the season. Coincidentally, all eight of Nash's goals this season have come in the third period. Nash now has eight points (five goals, three assists) in four games since returning from an undisclosed injury (believed to be a concussion) on February 28.

Top shelf: A pretty no-look feed from Colin McDonald set up Michael Grabner in the slot for his tenth of the season. Grabner roofed the puck for a 1-0 Islanders lead at 11:51 of the first period. Matt Martin, who leads the league in hits, almost extended the Islanders' lead to two goals with a short-handed breakaway in the second, but Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stoned him to keep his team within a goal.

New guy: Roman Hamrlik made his Rangers debut after being claimed off waivers by New York on Wednesday. The 38-year-old veteran, who played only four games with the Capitals this season, was used on the third pair with Steve Eminger. Before the game, he said he felt his new club is a “Stanley Cup Contender.”

Richards, Staal out: Both Brad Richards (soreness) and Marc Staal (eye) sat out Thursday’s game. Richards said he is “feeling better” since sustaining a vicious hit from Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta on Sunday but does not want to rush his return. Staal is out indefinitely after taking a puck to the eye on Tuesday, but doctors expect him to make a full recovery. Arron Asham missed his seventh straight game with a back injury.

Up Next: Rangers vs. Senators, Friday at 7 p.m.