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New York Islanders Squeak by Rangers in 4-3 Shootout Victory on the Island

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 24:  Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers and Nino Niederreiter #25 of the New York Islanders fight in the third period at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 24, 2012 in Uniondale, New York.  The Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-3 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IFebruary 25, 2012

You never could guess what the standings would look like after watching last night's game between the Rangers and Islanders.

The Rangers, atop the Eastern Conference, fell to the Islanders, struggling for a playoff position. I say that because the way the game went last night, you'd think the Islanders were one of the best teams in hockey alongside the Rangers.

The energy was crazy last night—on the ice and in the stands.

Matt Moulson opened the scoring on a sweet pass from behind the net by John Tavares at 6:07 in the first. A couple of minutes later, after a big stop by Evgeni Nabokov, PA Parenteau put the Isles up 2-0 at 8:42 with a sizzler that beat Martin Biron.

The two-goal advantage didn't last long when Marc Staal beat Nabokov short side on the power play at 12:47.

At 8:11 in the second period, Moulson made a nice play to keep the play alive, which eventually set up Parenteau's second goal of the game against his former team. That gave the Isles a 3-1 lead.

Two minutes later at 11:49, Marian Gaborik took advantage of an Islanders lapse and went on a breakaway, going top shelf on Nabokov to make it a 3-2 game.

The last goal in regulation was scored at 16:40 on the power play by Derek Stepan. A lucky bounce went off a stick in front, off Nabokov's blocker and off Travis Hamonic before bouncing into the net at 16:40.

In the shootout, Frans Nielsen scored for the Isles when he went five-hole on Biron, fooling him. Biron was probably expecting the Nielsen backhand.

Gaborik then beat Nabokov for the second time of the game, tying the shootout. After Tavares hit the post, Nabby stopped Brad Richards, who got fancy.

Moulson scored low on Biron to give the Isles a lead in the shootout, and Nabby secured the victory with the save after that.

If I had to make my own three stars selection, in order from third to first, it would go Nabokov, Moulson and Parenteau.

It was a huge win for the Isles, and a confidence booster as well. Nabber looked sharp in his first game back from the flu. The Isles next play the Senators Sunday.

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