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01/30/2014 12:02 AM EST
Carcillo's goal gives Rangers cold win over Isles
NY RANGERS 2, NY ISLANDERS 1

By IRA PODELL
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Rangers have quickly warmed to the
challenge of playing outside in the chill of winter.

Despite being the road team in both games at frigid Yankee
Stadium, the Broadway Blueshirts made themselves at home in the
ballpark in the Bronx and completed a sweep of the New Jersey
Devils and New York Islanders.

The Rangers rallied for the second straight game and topped the
Islanders 2-1 on Wednesday night on Daniel Carcillo's
tiebreaking goal 4:36 into the third period.

On Sunday, the Rangers dug out of a 3-1 hole against the Devils
and scored the final six goals. New York is an NHL-best 3-0 in
games played outside.

"They're a ton of fun," defenseman Marc Staal said. "I could
play in 50 of these in a year. Maybe not 50. Forty."

Building off Sunday's Bronx win, the Rangers took out another
division rival under the lights in front of 50,027 fans. The
temperature was 22 degrees when the first puck dropped at 7:45
p.m. with a single-digit wind-chill factor.

It got progressively colder.

Benoit Pouliot also scored, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30
shots while again adorning pinstriped pads in honor of the
Yankees. The only goal he allowed was a late second-period tally
to Brock Nelson that gave the Islanders a short-lived 1-0 lead.

The Rangers evened the season series with the Islanders 2-2. The
teams will play for the final time on Friday at Madison Square
Garden. The Rangers improved to 17-10 on the road - including
five straight - and they have won 13 of 19 (13-5-1) overall.

Wearing a ski cap with a pompom atop his mask, Evgeni Nabokov
had 32 saves for the Islanders, who made their outdoor debut.
Road teams are 9-1-1 in NHL outside games.

Nabokov handled the cold OK, and showed no signs of the injuries
that have troubled him during this season.

"You never really know (about playing outdoors) until you're out
there and see that great atmosphere," he said. "I loved every
second of it."

Carcillo fired in a rebound of Dominic Moore's shot for his
third goal of the season, helping drop the Islanders to 0-3-1 in
the last four games.

"We're playing well enough to win, but we've got to find a way
to win," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.

With both teams struggling to control the puck early, it took
nearly 39 minutes for the scoreless deadlock to be broken by the
Islanders, and then 40 seconds for the Rangers to get back even.

The Islanders built a big lead in shots, but couldn't get any
past Lundqvist - despite getting the first three power plays.
When Islanders forward Kyle Okposo went off for holding, and
took Rangers forward Rick Nash with him for embellishing with
9:49 left in the second, the Islanders held a 21-10 edge in
shots.

By the time the period ended, the Rangers had cut it to 25-20.

The Islanders grabbed a 1-0 lead with 1:27 left in the second,
using a three-way passing play. Cal Clutterbuck flung the puck
from the left circle into the middle as he fell, and connected
with defenseman Matt Donovan, who quickly moved the pass to his
right to Nelson, who fired in his 10th goal.

Before it was announced to the cheering and shivering sold-out
crowd, the Rangers tied it with Pouliot's ninth goal.

Derick Brassard did hard work from the back edge of the left
post, worked the puck free and slid it in front past the prone
Nabokov, who was down in the crease. Pouliot scored into a
fairly open net with 46.3 seconds remaining.

Both teams dealt with a bouncing puck during the scoreless
first, and Islanders forward Thomas Vanek had a puck hop over
his stick from right in front of Lundqvist early in the second.

Even though the Rangers had already played a game on this ice,
coach Alain Vigneault didn't think it gave his club an edge.

"I don't think it took them a long time to figure out that the
puck was bouncing, and that it was going to be challenging as
far as making plays," he said of the Islanders. "But I do feel
our response after they scored, how quickly they responded
really helped us in that third period."

Nabokov was playing in his first full game since returning from
a lower-body injury that forced him to miss 10 games. He backed
up Kevin Poulin in a 6-3 loss to Boston on Monday, but came on
in relief for the third period and stopped the only shot he
faced.

Nabokov drank from a steaming cup at the bench during a break in
the second period.

Lundqvist looked comfortable at the other end, playing on the
Yankee Stadium ice for the second time in four days. Since
giving up three goals in the first period against New Jersey
following a pregame nap, Lundqvist allowed just one over the
next five frames.

"I felt more calm and in a good place when the game started,"
Lundqvist said. "I think the preparation was a little bit
better, but I was definitely more relaxed."

While the Rangers had louder support, despite this being an
Islanders home game, both sides were well represented and
occasionally traded chants of "Let's Go Rangers!" and "Let's Go
Islanders!" There were no signs of empty seats, even in the far
reaches of the upper deck that stretch into right-center and
left-center field.

Including the Winter Classic and last weekend's game at Dodger
Stadium in Los Angeles, the combined attendance for outdoor
games this season is 259,722.

"It's been an incredible month of special events," NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "To our fans who were here both
Sunday and tonight: simply incredible."

NOTES: Okposo had a six-game point streak snapped. Nash had a
five-game goal run broken. ... The Islanders were 0 for 4 on the
power play, including one at the end of game. The Rangers were 0
for 1.

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