BRANDON DUBINSKY scored his first goal in more than a month, Marian Gaborik moved into a tie for the NHL lead with his 20th, and Martin Biron was solid in net to lead the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Islanders last night.
Dubinsky staked the Rangers to a 1-0 lead in the first period, scoring for the first time in 17 games - dating to Nov. 11 - and Gaborik and Michael Del Zotto connected in the second for New York, which has won three straight. The Rangers got off to a good start in their back-to-back games against Atlantic Division rivals, and will look to complete the sweep tonight when they host their Winter Classic foe, the Flyers, in a matchup for first place.
Biron stopped 24 shots as he gave No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist a break, and earned an assist on Dubinsky's second goal of the season. The Rangers are 5-2-1 in their past eight games. John Mitchell scored an empty-net goal with 1:33 remaining to seal it.
"You have to give Marty Biron some credit," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It's not about giving Henrik rest, it's I have a good goalie and I can't call him a backup. He's winning games. There is no question Henrik is our number one guy, but if you want to get there . . . your goalie can't be playing 75 or 78 games.
"When we signed Marty we thought we had a good one, but right now it's a 1 and a 1a."
Biron made several key saves early and kept the game tied in the second when the Islanders generated scoring chances.
"You feel a sense of pride just producing for the team and being part of a great tandem with Hank," said Biron, a former Islanders player.
Tortorella acknowledged that his team could have been looking ahead to tonight.
"No disrespect to the Islanders, I know the players looked to that Philly game," Tortorella said. "I don't think we were great, but I don't think we got ahead of ourselves."
In other games:
* At Toronto, Nazem Kadri, fresh off a 22-game stint in the AHL, scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, lifting the Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
* At Ottawa, Bobby Butler scored 2:02 into overtime and the Senators beat the Florida Panthers, 4-3, for their third straight win.
* At Nashville, Martin Erat scored with 8.4 seconds remaining to give the Predators a 6-5 comeback victory over Columbus. Jeff Carter had a hat trick in the first period for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four straight.
* At Winnipeg, Blake Wheeler had two goals and an assist and Ondrej Pavelec pitched a shutout in the Jets' 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
* At Calgary, Curtis Glencross scored twice and Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves as the Flames defeated Detroit, 3-2.
Jiri Hudler and Ian White scored third-period goals for the Red Wings, who have lost two straight. Ty Conklin finished with 24 saves for Detroit.
* At Edmonton, Jordan Eberle scored twice and Nikolai Khabibulin made 30 saves as the Oilers defeated Minnesota, 4-1.