Final

Series (Game 6 of 6)

New York leads 6-0

Game 1: Thursday, December 4th
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Islanders2
Game 2: Thursday, December 18th
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Rangers4
Game 3: Saturday, January 10th
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Islanders2
Game 4: Tuesday, January 13th
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Rangers4
Game 5: Thursday, February 19th
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Game 6: Thursday, February 26th
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Rangers 6

(23-29-4, 57 pts)

Islanders 3

(29-23-2, 69 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 26, 2004

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
NYR 3 3 06
NYI 0 2 13

J. Jagr (Rangers - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

B. Leetch (Rangers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

C. Simon (Rangers - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Rangers score first six, cruise to win

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- Tom Renney preached restraint in his first game behind the New York Rangers' bench, and the disappointing team listened to its new coach.

A night after Renney took over from Glen Sather, he led his club to a 6-3 victory Thursday that completed a six-game, season sweep of the New York Islanders.

Sather stepped down Wednesday to concentrate on his president and general manager duties with the team that is in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 12 points behind the Islanders and the playoff cutoff.

"It's a vision. It's a ways out there, but we have our eye on it," Renney said of the distant playoff hopes with 19 games remaining.

In the rematch of last week's slugfest, Dale Purinton didn't take the bait from Islanders enforcer Eric Cairns. Instead, he took the punches but didn't retaliate and earned a lengthy power play for the Rangers.

"You have to be smart about keeping your emotions in check," Purinton said. "I don't think that was the time to do it."

The Rangers completed their second six-game sweep over the Islanders in a campaign that will likely see them miss the playoffs for a seventh straight season. They are 8-0-2 in their last 10 against the Islanders.

Jaromir Jagr had two goals and an assist, and Chris Simon added two goals. Brian Leetch had a goal and two assists, and Bobby Holik had a goal and an assist as the Rangers swept their area rival for the third time.

The Islanders, outscored 27-13 by the Rangers this season, almost got back in it after falling behind 6-0 6:49 into the second period. Janne Niinimaa and Mariusz Czerkawski scored in the second, and Sven Butenschon added his second NHL goal early in the third. It wasn't enough to extend the Islanders' home unbeaten streak to 10.

The Islanders hadn't lost at home since Jan. 10, the last time the Rangers visited.

"We're not worried about the Rangers," Islanders defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. "I don't think the Rangers are going to catch anybody. They have our number."

Just like last Thursday, the Rangers jumped to a big lead and then fought the Islanders.

Cairns matched up again with Purinton, who absorbed four punches while on the ice with his head down. When he got back to his skates, he waved Cairns off and the Rangers were rewarded.

Last week, Purinton had the upper hand after coming to the defense of forward Martin Rucinsky -- punched twice by Cairns. He claimed Purinton suckered him then, and still wasn't happy after Purinton didn't fight him in a rematch.

"I've lost a lot of respect for him," Cairns said. "For whatever reason, he decided to go into a turtle position. He has no respect. Stand up and be a man."

The Rangers already led 2-0 and chased starting goalie Garth Snow when the first batch of violence broke out. Cairns drew 27 penalty minutes and was ejected for instigating the mayhem that also included a bout between Matthew Barnaby and Isles counterpart Eric Godard.

The Rangers ended up with a two-man power play that produced Holik's goal against Rick DiPietro that made it 3-0. They had a man advantage for nearly seven minutes, but couldn't convert again.

DiPietro was sharp early in relief of Snow, two days after he helped the Islanders to a 0-0 tie with Boston. But once the second period started, DiPietro was shaky, too.

Jagr knocked in a backhander for another power-play goal 35 seconds in, and Simon scored his first by intercepting DiPietro's clearing attempt and firing the puck into the empty net before the goalie could get back.

With that, Islanders coach Steve Stirling turned to Snow and said "Go In."

In last week's 6-2 victory at Madison Square Garden, Snow relieved DiPietro in the third period, but was ejected as part of the 132 penalty minutes that were handed out.

Simon scored again to make it 6-0, prompting the song "Rescue Me" to be played soon after.

It worked a little as Niinimaa beat Mike Dunham and Czerkawski made it 6-2 with 2:14 left in the period.

Leetch beat Snow with a long shot 2:39 into the game just after the Islanders had a goal waved off because of a penalty. Jagr made it 2-0 at 4:35.

Game notes


Rangers fans taunted Islanders fans with chants of "You can't beat us." The home faithful responded with "Make the playoffs." ... Dan LaCouture of the Rangers fought Godard, called up for the game, in the second period. ... The Rangers also swept the Islanders in the 1972-73 and 1998-99 seasons. ... Islanders captain Michael Peca left in the first period with a leg injury and didn't return.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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