The New York Islanders climbed off the bottom of the standings with a win over the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers.
MacDonald the hero for Islanders
NEW YORK // The New York Islanders climbed off the bottom of the standings with a 2-1 win over the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers. Joey MacDonald made 35 saves as the Islanders won their second successive game after a six-game losing streak despite being out-shot 36-19 and out-played most of the night. MacDonald, who was filling in for the injured Rick DiPietro, said: "Tonight we were out-shot by a lot but we stuck to our game plan and capitalised on our chances."
The Islanders' coach Scott Gordon praised MacDonald's performance as well as giving credit to the team's ability to kill off the Rangers' power play. Both of the Islanders' goals were scored while they were a man down. "Our penalty kill and goaltender bailed us out," he said. The Rangers still lead the Eastern Conference standings but the defeat was their second in a row after a 5-2 loss in Toronto on Saturday.
After two scoreless periods the Islanders scored twice early in the third period through Nate Thompson and Richard Park. Thompson's goal was his first NHL point. "It was a great feeling on the bench after the goal," Thompson said. "The team was lifted from it." Markus Naslund spoiled MacDonald's shutout with just 1:41 remaining in the third period, but the Rangers could not equalise. Carolina's Niclas Wallin hit the overtime winner to seal a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs and earn coach Peter Laviolette a record-tying 239th career coaching win.
With the victory Laviolette ties the mark set by John Tortorella for the most career wins by a US born coach. * Reuters