After three straight losses to Rick DiPietro and the New York Islanders this season, the Rangers finally found a way to solve their biggest rival. Chris Drury had a goal and assist during two power plays in the second period and the Rangers skated off with a 4-2 victory Thursday night.
"You start to learn some tendencies," said Shanahan, who had an assist. "You can see that they've got some pretty good scouting on us, and we're starting to pick up some on them."
Not that he was going to share that information.
The Rangers had dropped all three previous meetings with their biggest rival this season, scoring only four goals in the process, and were 3-8-1 in the past 12 matchups dating to April 11, 2006. DiPietro played in all but one of those games and allowed two goals or fewer eight times.
The teams have played half of the eight-game season series but won't meet again until March. The Rangers are tied for first in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of the Islanders, who have played two fewer games.
"They've kind of had an easier schedule than everybody ... so they've stayed under the radar as far as their positioning in the division, but they're right there," Shanahan said. "It was important for us to beat them."
DiPietro finished with 27 saves while playing his 18th straight game. He has missed only one of New York's 23 contests.
The Islanders, who beat Ottawa 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday night, fell to 11-2 this season against Eastern Conference playoff teams from last season. The only such club they have yet to beat is the Atlanta Thrashers, who New York will play Saturday for the first time.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," DiPietro said. "We turned a lot of pucks over in the danger spots. Either they capitalized or got power plays."
The Islanders' Miroslav Satan got credit for a power-play goal in the second period, during a wild scramble in front following a funny carom off the boards, and Mike Comrie cut the Islanders' deficit to one late in the frame.
"Offense is like the weather. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "Right now we're going through a bad storm where we just can't seem to put them in."
The Islanders are 2-3-1 in their last five and 5-5-1 in the past 11 despite not scoring more than two goals in any game. They were 1-for-5 on the advantage.
"The biggest thing was our power play. It's failed us for way too long," Islanders captain Bill Guerin said. "Things have to change. It's got to get better.
"If we could put in one or two on the power play, it would make a big difference," he said.
Drury gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with his sixth of the season, third on the power play, at 6:20. Dan Girardi fired a shot from the left point that appeared to be heading wide of the net, but DiPietro stretched to make a pad save. The rebound bounced in front of him, and Drury pushed the puck back between the goalie's legs.
Gomez made it 3-1 exactly 10 minutes later when after a whole lot of passing, and desperate cries from the crowd to shoot, Gomez let the puck go from the right side -- off a slick behind-the-back feed from Drury -- over a sprawled DiPietro, who was down on his back.
It marked the first time in nine games the Rangers scored twice on the power play and the first time that Drury and Gomez -- New York's prized free-agent acquisitions this summer -- had goals in the same game.
"I didn't know that, but it's good," Drury said. "Hopefully there is more of that down the road. We're still just getting more and more comfortable every single day. In the big picture overall we're winning games. We've got 30 points. That's a little more important than any individual stuff."
Comrie brought the Islanders to 3-2 with 2:03 left in the second period when he got free down low and squeezed his eighth of the season by Lundqvist.
Dubinsky sealed it with 3:16 remaining in the game when he steered in a pass from Martin Straka, who got the puck from Jagr.
The Islanders failed to score in the first period for the seventh time in eight games. ... Guerin has no points in 12 games. ... Rangers right winger Ryan Callahan returned to the lineup after missing 16 games with a knee injury. He took the place of left winger Sean Avery, who had wrist surgery Thursday. ... Islanders defenseman Bryan Berard was back after being a healthy scratch Wednesday against Ottawa. Left winger Sean Bergenheim sat out. ... The Rangers were 2-for-5 on the power play.