NEW YORK — Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin scored 2:05 apart in the third period to help Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders beat the New York Rangers 2-0 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Varlamov made 30 saves for his third shutout this season — second against the Rangers — as the Islanders won their second consecutive game. Islanders coach Barry Trotz earned his 850th victory, passing Ken Hitchcock for third place on the NHL's career list.
Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots, but the Rangers' four-game point streak ended.
Cal Clutterbuck’s aggressive forecheck created a turnover in the third period and the Islanders capitalized. Adam Pelech fired a shot from the point and Cizikas stuffed home a loose puck at 11:15 to snap a scoreless tie.
Just more than two minutes later, Martin buried a feed from Clutterbuck right in front. Mathew Barzal extended his point streak to six games with an assist on the play.
Two of the best chances for the Rangers came early in the third. Star forward Artemi Panarin had a breakaway but Varlamov denied him with a glove save. Shortly after that, Mika Zibanejad had a good opportunity but could not beat the Russian goaltender.
Varlamov became the first Islanders goalie to shut out the Rangers twice in one season. He made 24 saves for a 4-0 victory in the Jan. 14 opener between the crosstown rivals.
The teams don't meet again until April 9, then play each other five times in 23 days.
Due to several changes to the NHL schedule because of COVID-19, the Rangers are in the middle of an eight-game homestand, their longest of the season. The stretch began Jan. 30 and is currently scheduled to conclude Feb. 16.
The Islanders will play the same opponent in consecutive games 19 times this season.
The Islanders have four players (Barzal, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock) with streaks of at least 200 games played.
Rangers: Host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
Islanders: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
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The Associated Press