Rangers score first six, cruise to win


UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- Tom Renney preached restraint in his
first game behind the New York Rangers' bench, and the
disappointing team listened to its new coach.

A night after Renney took over from Glen Sather, he led his club
to a 6-3 victory Thursday that completed a six-game, season sweep
of the New York Islanders.

Sather stepped down Wednesday to concentrate on his president
and general manager duties with the team that is in 11th place in
the Eastern Conference, 12 points behind the Islanders and the
playoff cutoff.

"It's a vision. It's a ways out there, but we have our eye on
it," Renney said of the distant playoff hopes with 19 games

In the rematch of last week's slugfest, Dale Purinton didn't
take the bait from Islanders enforcer Eric Cairns. Instead, he took
the punches but didn't retaliate and earned a lengthy power play
for the Rangers.

"You have to be smart about keeping your emotions in check,"
Purinton said. "I don't think that was the time to do it."

The Rangers completed their second six-game sweep over the
Islanders in a campaign that will likely see them miss the playoffs
for a seventh straight season. They are 8-0-2 in their last 10
against the Islanders.

Jaromir Jagr had two goals and an assist, and Chris Simon added
two goals. Brian Leetch had a goal and two assists, and Bobby Holik
had a goal and an assist as the Rangers swept their area rival for
the third time.

The Islanders, outscored 27-13 by the Rangers this season,
almost got back in it after falling behind 6-0 6:49 into the second
period. Janne Niinimaa and Mariusz Czerkawski scored in the second,
and Sven Butenschon added his second NHL goal early in the third.
It wasn't enough to extend the Islanders' home unbeaten streak to

The Islanders hadn't lost at home since Jan. 10, the last time
the Rangers visited.

"We're not worried about the Rangers," Islanders defenseman
Adrian Aucoin said. "I don't think the Rangers are going to catch
anybody. They have our number."

Just like last Thursday, the Rangers jumped to a big lead and
then fought the Islanders.

Cairns matched up again with Purinton, who absorbed four punches
while on the ice with his head down. When he got back to his
skates, he waved Cairns off and the Rangers were rewarded.

Last week, Purinton had the upper hand after coming to the
defense of forward Martin Rucinsky -- punched twice by Cairns. He
claimed Purinton suckered him then, and still wasn't happy after
Purinton didn't fight him in a rematch.

"I've lost a lot of respect for him," Cairns said. "For
whatever reason, he decided to go into a turtle position. He has no
respect. Stand up and be a man."

The Rangers already led 2-0 and chased starting goalie Garth
Snow when the first batch of violence broke out. Cairns drew 27
penalty minutes and was ejected for instigating the mayhem that
also included a bout between Matthew Barnaby and Isles counterpart
Eric Godard.

The Rangers ended up with a two-man power play that produced
Holik's goal against Rick DiPietro that made it 3-0. They had a man
advantage for nearly seven minutes, but couldn't convert again.

DiPietro was sharp early in relief of Snow, two days after he
helped the Islanders to a 0-0 tie with Boston. But once the second
period started, DiPietro was shaky, too.

Jagr knocked in a backhander for another power-play goal 35
seconds in, and Simon scored his first by intercepting DiPietro's
clearing attempt and firing the puck into the empty net before the
goalie could get back.

With that, Islanders coach Steve Stirling turned to Snow and
said "Go In."

In last week's 6-2 victory at Madison Square Garden, Snow
relieved DiPietro in the third period, but was ejected as part of
the 132 penalty minutes that were handed out.

Simon scored again to make it 6-0, prompting the song "Rescue
Me" to be played soon after.

It worked a little as Niinimaa beat Mike Dunham and Czerkawski
made it 6-2 with 2:14 left in the period.

Leetch beat Snow with a long shot 2:39 into the game just after
the Islanders had a goal waved off because of a penalty. Jagr made
it 2-0 at 4:35.

Game notes
Rangers fans taunted Islanders fans with chants of "You
can't beat us." The home faithful responded with "Make the
playoffs." ... Dan LaCouture of the Rangers fought Godard, called
up for the game, in the second period. ... The Rangers also swept
the Islanders in the 1972-73 and 1998-99 seasons. ... Islanders
captain Michael Peca left in the first period with a leg injury and
didn't return.