WHAT IT MEANS: The Rangers beat the Islanders in The Battle of New York, 4-2, on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts (20-8-4) have now won three games in a row, while the Isles (11-15-6) saw their two-game winning streak come to an end. John Mitchell's empty-netter with 1:33 remaining the third period sealed the deal.
ISLE LOVER: For whatever reason, backup goaltender Martin Biron flourishes in net against the Islanders. Biron improved to 21-4-1 in 27 starts versus the Isles, and 7-1-0 on the season after making 24 saves. His best one came with 10:28 remaining in the first period went he post-to-post to rob Michael Grabner with his left toe. He also thwarted a wraparound attempt by Kyle Okposo with his stick with 3:28 left in the third period.
SLOVAKIAN ROCKET: Marian Gaborik scored his NHL-high tying 20th goal of the season -- and fifth in his last three games -- to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 7:52 of the second period. On what was a set play, Artem Anisimov chipped the puck over Frans Nielsen's stick off an offensive faceoff in the left circle, charged forward and tucked a pass across the crease for Gaborik to tap it home.
DUBI: Third-liner Brandon Dubinsky wristed home his first goal since Nov. 11 (a span of 16 games) -- and second of the season -- from the right circle to open the scoring at 14:53 of the first period.
TWO-WAY D-MAN: Michael Del Zotto not only saved a goal by clearing a loose puck away from the left post in the second period -- he also scored one. With 4:35 left in the middle frame, Del Zotto blasted a shot from the top of the left circle that found the back of the net, giving the Rangers a two-goal cushion.
PA’S REVENGE: PA Parenteau loves to play against his former team. The Islanders top-line right winger netted his sixth on the powerplay off a rebound of Mark Streit’s point shot 18 seconds into the second. In nine games versus the Rangers, Parenteau has five goals and eight assists. The Blueshirts had killed off 21 of their last 22 penalties prior to Parenteau’s tally. They later gave up another man-advantage tally to Matt Moulson off a rebound at 8:29 of the third period.
NO WOYWITKA: Defenseman Jeff Woywitka (foot) was kept out of the lineup and missed his second straight game after getting hit in the foot during the team’s optional morning skate. Coach John Tortorella had no update on how long he’d be out. Rookie Tim Erixon dressed in Woywitka’s place, and played on the third pairing with rookie Stu Bickel. Erixon’s father, Jan, who played a decade with the Blueshirts, was at the game cheering on his son. Bickel dropped the gloves and fought Matt Martin at 1:19 of the third period. He also obliged Tim Wallace at 12:29 and was called for a double-minor for roughing.
SCRATCHED: Along with Woywitka, Sean Avery and Erik Christensen were the scratches. Avery was scratched for a sixth straight game.
WHAT’S NEXT: The MSG Classic before the Winter Classic: Rangers vs. Flyers, Friday night at 7 p.m.