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Rangers’ McDonagh: ‘We were the slower team’

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers

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Anders Lee, Nikolay Kulemin and Frans Nielsen scored second period goals while Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves as the New York Islanders blanked the New York Rangers 3-0 Tuesday night.

The Islanders concluded their season-high seven-game road trip with 10 of 14 points and improved to 10-3-1 in their past 14 games.

“It’s a big win,” said Islanders captain John Tavares. “Certainly it’s going to make a lot of people on Long Island happy [Wednesday] morning. We’re excited about beating them. It’s a lot of fun. The rivalry has been great and you enjoy it. Obviously they’ve been playing well and the top of our division is real tight, so just a big game.”

The loss halts the Rangers’ five-game winning streak. New York entered the game with a 13-1-0 record since Dec. 8.

Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves on 32 shots and was pulled after the second period. Cam Talbot made 12 saves in relief.

“We were the slower team, which we haven’t been in this last stretch,” Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. “We know what makes us successful and we just weren’t doing it tonight. They were definitely making us look pretty slow out there.”

The Rangers also lost center Derek Stepan. The 24-year-old did not play in the third period due to what the team is calling an upper body injury.

Carl Hagelin had a close call in the first period. The Rangers’ forward was cut by the skate of Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Hagelin left the game, but returned after having the cut stitched up.

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