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Rangers erupt for five goals against Islanders

New York Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky, far left,

New York Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky, far left, and Vinny Prospal (20), celebrate with Marian Gaborik (10), after Gaborik scored the Rangers' fifth goal in the third period of their 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. (December 17, 2009) Credit: AP

The Rangers had been held to two goals or less in seven straight games and 12 of their last 14 entering last night's game at Nassau Coliseum.

Then something strange happened. They broke out with five goals, including three on the power play, and beat the Islanders, 5-2.

Ryan Callahan scored two goals with the man advantage as the Rangers won the second game of the home-and-home series.

"It's hard to be satisfied," said Lundqvist, who finished with 35 saves, "because we're in such a tough spot, but you have to enjoy it. It's been a tough couple weeks."

Indeed. The Rangers had lost five straight and were torched by coach John Tortorella after the listless 2-1 loss to the Islanders on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

"We wanted to come out strong and get the first one," said Callahan, who did just that with a power-play goal at 13:06 of the first period.

Chris Drury banged in a rebound for his first goals in 20 games and on their fourth shot, the Rangers were holding a surprising 2-0 lead after being outshot initially 10-1.

The Rangers were outshot 14-4 in the first period but had a 2-0 lead.

"Hank made some key saves for us," said Callahan, who added his ninth goal in the second period to make it 3-0. He also had an assist. "I don't think we were concerned. We were pretty composed on the bench, we talked about it before the game. I thought we played with the lead pretty well . . . It's nice to see some payoff, some dirty goals to get us over this hump of not putting the puck in the net. That's what we needed."

Marian Gaborik, with his 24th goal (Markus Naslund led the team with 24 last year) and two assists, dominates the conversation when it comes to the Rangers' most dangerous scorer. And deservedly so. But as the Rangers (15-16-3) have struggled mightily to put the puck in the net, Callahan has delivered. With the two goals last night in the win that seemed to restore some spirit in the locker room, the Rochester native upped his total to five in the last seven games.

It was the Rangers' fourth straight win in Uniondale, and Lundqvist held the Isles to two or fewer goals in six of the last seven.

"There's no secret that the game's is a lot easier when you score goals. I relax and you can see the guys who score just have a little more confidence," he said.

That would include Michal Rosival, subbing for the scratched Ales Kotalik on the point on the power play, and Vinny Prospal, each of whom had two assists. Artem Anisimov scored his sixth at even strength in the third to make it 5-1.

"The power play obviously was a key," said Tortorella. "Cally did a really good job . . . It was similar to Atlanta when we were putting pucks to the net and looking for rebounds."

One difference: Last night, the Rangers won.

New York Sports