Uniondale, NY – Dan Girardi scored with 1:49 remaining in overtime to lift the New York Rangers to a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders in a battle between postseason hopefuls at Nassau Coliseum.
With the win, the Rangers moved into sole possession of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. They entered play tied with Winnipeg at 44 points.
By getting the game to overtime, the Islanders remained in seventh place. They are one point behind Ottawa for the sixth seed and one point ahead of their Atlantic Division rivals.
The Islanders had to kill one minute of Kyle Okposo's slashing penalty to secure the valuable point. Okposo had broken Girardi's stick in the offensive zone at the 19:00 mark of the third period.
With a fresh piece of lumber, Girardi gathered a pass from Derick Brassard and beat Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov high on the far side.
The Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots to record his first shutout of the season.
"(Lundqvist) was our backbone. He gave us the opportunity and we ended up scoring a goal," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella.
The Blueshirts improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
Nabokov finished with 19 saves.
"Guys battled hard tonight. They deserved better, but we'll take the point and move on," said Islanders head coach Jack Capuano.
The Islanders had a three-game winning streak snapped, but they still have picked up at least a point in seven straight (5-0-2).
Lundqvist now has 44 career shutouts, including five against the Islanders ... The Rangers went 3-0-1 in the season series, with only one of the games decided in regulation ... The Rangers ended the Islanders' home winning streak at four games ... Islanders forward Brad Boyes played in his 600th career NHL game.