NEW YORK -- The Rangers saw a two-goal lead disappear as the surging Islanders rallied for a spirited come-from-behind win, 5-3 at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.
Rick Nash remained red-hot, boosting the Rangers with a pair of first-period goals for the second straight game, while linemate Chris Kreider recorded three points in the opening frame, including his 13th goal of the season, but Tavares and his plucky Islanders squad nullified those efforts.
Vanek also finished the night with two points with his game winner and a helper. Tavares' primary assist on Matt Martin's first-period goal was his first point against the Rangers this season.
Double up: With his second consecutive multigoal game, and his third in a nine-game span, Nash gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the first period although the Blueshirts were outplayed by the Islanders in large stretches. Nash, who notched his first just 62 seconds into play, leads the Rangers with 16 goals and has nine goals in the past nine games. The 6-4 winger has forged what appears to be some promising chemistry with Kreider, whose speed has helped create an abundance of quality scoring chances for the two-time 40-goal scorer. Kreider assisted on both of Nash's first-period markers and scored one of his own, a power-play goal, in the second period by tapping in a loose puck behind Kevin Poulin for a 3-1 Rangers lead.
Second-period swing: Matt Martin tallied late in the first period to cut the Rangers' 2-0 lead in half with 2:38 to play, and his Islanders teammates kept chipping away to tie the game 3-3 with a pair of markers from Thomas Hickey and Colin McDonald in the second period.
Roll Call: With Lundqvist out due to an illness and Talbot given the starting nod, the Rangers were forced to scramble for a backup goaltender -- a task made even more difficult with the inclement weather. The Rangers ultimately released 30-year-old journeyman David LeNeveu from his minor league deal with Hartford (AHL) and subsequently signed him to a two-way NHL deal. LeNeveu backed up Talbot for his first NHL appearance since 2010-11.