Page last updated on Sun Mar 29 09:47:22 EDT 2015
02/07/2013 10:54 PM EST
Miller scores 1st 2 goals, Rangers beat Isles 4-1

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- J.T. Miller scored his first two NHL goals and
then cautioned everyone not to get used to it.

The teenage rookie found the net twice in his second career game
to lift the New York Rangers to a 4-1 victory over the New York
Islanders on Thursday night.

Miller, however, said setting up others is really more of his
game. As long as pucks go in, the goal-starved Rangers will
gladly take offense from anyone.

"I am more of a playmaker," said Miller, who won't turn 20 until
March. "I've always had more assists than goals."

Just not yet in the NHL.

Miller was kept off the scoresheet in his debut on Tuesday - a
3-1 loss at New Jersey - and didn't add any assists on Thursday
en route to claiming the "Broadway Hat" as the game's MVP.

But as is his nature, Miller was already preparing to dish it to
another worthy teammate.

"It's a nice hat," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting a
win next time so I can pass it off."

Miller gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead just 1:29 in and then pushed
their advantage to 3-1 in the second period with a rare
power-play goal for the club. Marian Gaborik also scored,
defenseman Marc Staal had two assists, and Ryan McDonagh added
an empty-net goal to give the Rangers their second win in three

"We wanted to have a good start," Staal said. "We've been
getting scored on first a lot. It's tough playing catch-up in
this league. We knew that first goal was important. We ended up
getting two. That was huge for us and we were able to close it

The Rangers have an eight-game winning streak over the Islanders
at Madison Square Garden, outscoring them 35-11.

New York entered with 20 goals, tied for fewest in the NHL, but
scored more than two for just the second time in five games. The
Rangers connected for only the fourth time this season in 37
power-play opportunities - the worst percentage in the league.

"We have to find a way to get points," coach John Tortorella
said of his 5-5 Rangers. "I still think there's a lot of
sloppiness with our game. There are a lot of things that need to
continue to improve."

The Islanders' struggles on the power play continued as they
went 0 for 5. They have failed in 19 straight chances over three
games after going 9 for 24 to begin the season.

Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves as he started for the ninth time
in the Rangers' 10 games and earned his first win in three

He, too, was pleased by the instant offense provided by the
young Miller.

"It's great. We need everybody to do good stuff for us,"
Lundqvist said. "He plays so mature out there, making good
decisions with the puck. It's important. It definitely brings
some energy to the group. Guys come in and do well right away."

The Rangers also welcomed back captain Ryan Callahan, who had
missed three games because of a shoulder injury sustained nine
days earlier.

Callahan helped on the Rangers' penalty-killing and added a
different kind of assist - fishing out the first puck from the
Islanders' net to present to his young linemate.

"He just kind of does it all for the line of me and (Chris
Kreider) - just two young guys," Miller said. "It feels really
nice to have a guy like that."

John Tavares scored his fifth goal of the season in the second
period to cut the Islanders' deficit to 2-1, but they dropped
their third straight after a 4-2-1 start. Evgeni Nabokov stopped
21 shots just hours after the Islanders acquired veteran goalie
Tim Thomas from the Boston Bruins.

The 38-year-old Thomas has no intention of playing this season -
the last year of his contract - and has been under suspension by
the Bruins for failing to report to the club.

Miller started the scoring early with a snap shot from the lower
left circle that beat Nabokov. Gaborik made it 2-0 with 5:56
left in the first period when he was left alone in front for a
perfectly placed drive that produced his sixth goal of the

"We have to make the opposition's defense work harder," Tavares
said. "We just weren't good enough. That is unacceptable. Our
effort and consistency has to be there for the full 60 minutes.
We have good periods and good momentum but we're not carrying it

Tavares brought the Islanders within a goal 11:13 into the
second period with a rising wrist shot from the right circle
that eluded Lundqvist's glove, but Miller struck again with 1:49
left in the period when he got by the defense and came right in
on Nabokov.

"We can't be satisfied with playing close," Nabokov said. "We
have to win. We didn't play bad. We have to get better at every
single detail on the ice."

NOTES: Rangers D Dan Girardi missed his second straight game
because of an undisclosed injury. ... The Islanders will send a
conditional second-round draft pick to the Bruins either next
year or in 2015, depending on if Thomas plays for New York. ...
The Rangers benched forward Brian Boyle to make room in the
lineup for Callahan. Tortorella was critical before the game of
Boyle, who has one assist, a minus-3 rating and 11 penalty
minutes this season. ... The Rangers went 1-2 without Callahan.
... D Lubomir Visnovsky passed a physical and was activated from
the suspended list by the Islanders after he didn't report to
the club to start the season. He wasn't in the lineup and might
play Saturday vs. Buffalo. ... The Rangers were caught with too
many men on the ice for the fifth time this season.

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