Rangers beat Isles to split home-and-home

March 6, 2008 7:20:45 PM PST
Scott Gomez deflected a shot past New York Islanders backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz early in the third period, and the New York Rangers earned a split of the home-and-home series with a 4-1 victory Thursday night.The Rangers, who lost to the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday night, came out of the two-game series with three points out of four. They are 8-0-3 in their last 11.

Brendan Shanahan scored a breakaway goal just 1:29 in, and Sean Avery built the Rangers' lead to 2-0 later in the first period when he was left open in the slot.

Dubielewicz couldn't really be faulted with any of the goals. Gomez scored when a shot by Marc Staal ricocheted in off him and Islanders defenseman Rob Davison at 1:12 of the third.

Even though the Islanders lost, the decision by coach Ted Nolan to start Dubielewicz over goalie Rick DiPietro couldn't be faulted.

DiPietro, in the second season of a 13-year contract, was away from the team for three days following the death of his grandmother. He returned to practice Wednesday, but Nolan already seemed to be leaning toward playing Dubielewicz because of the backup's solid performances against Florida and the Rangers in DiPietro's absence.

DiPietro took the news in stride and watched the game from the far right corner of the bench, wearing a white Islanders baseball cap.

Dubielewicz finished with 24 saves, and was bailed out a few times when the Rangers found goal posts when shooting at an open net. His best stop came on Chris Drury, when he dived across the crease to make a stick save.

Avery sealed it with an empty-net goal with 57.8 seconds remaining.

Henrik Lundqvist bounced back from Tuesday's loss with a 26-save effort. His only blemish was Sean Bergenheim's second-period goal that caromed in off Rangers defenseman Marek Malik.

The Islanders fell to 4-2 against the Rangers, and the teams will conclude the eight-game season series with another home-and-home set in April.