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Originally published Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 6:53 PM

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Girardi's OT goal lifts Rangers over Islanders

Defenseman Dan Girardi scored 3:11 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a stirring 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night in a game that felt every bit like a playoff matchup between the area rivals.

AP Sports Writer

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. —

Defenseman Dan Girardi scored 3:11 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a stirring 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night in a game that felt every bit like a playoff matchup between the area rivals.

Henrik Lundqvist and Islanders counterpart Evgeni Nabokov staged a classic goalie duel that seemed destined to go to a shootout, but Girardi finished off a rush by flipping a shot over Nabokov's shoulder for just his second goal of the season.

The Rangers are eighth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, one point behind the Islanders. The Rangers lead ninth-place Winnipeg by two points with seven games remaining - one more than the Jets. The Islanders have six games remaining, but only one more at home before they finish on a five-game trip they hope will end in their first playoff berth since 2007.

Lundqvist finished with 29 saves for his first shutout of the season. Nabokov stopped 19 shots.

The Rangers are 5-1-1 in their last seven. The Islanders, who had won their previous three, are 8-1-2 in their last 11.

Though the three regulation periods were scoreless, they didn't lack for action or scoring chances.

The Rangers even started overtime with a minute left on a power play, created when Kyle Okposo slashed the stick out of the hands of defenseman Dan Girardi.

Before that, Islanders forward Colin McDonald struck the crossbar with a tough-angle shot 1:41 into the third - the latest in a slew of shots that were kept out by posts.

The Rangers earned the first two power plays of the game - both in the second period - and the first nearly broke the deadlock, but Derek Stepan's drive clipped the left post and stayed out. A video review confirmed that the puck never crossed the line.

John Tavares got caught throwing a punch to the back of the head of Carl Hagelin, drawing a roughing penalty that had the young Islanders star slamming his stick as he entered the penalty box.

The Islanders were also thwarted by the post on a rebound attempt after Lundqvist got the edge of his right skate on a dangerous shot in front.

Lundqvist faced plenty of pressure and pucks right in front of his crease, and calmly stood up to everything the Islanders threw at him. The most dangerous stretch came when the Rangers were pinned in their own zone and couldn't get a line change.

The Islanders' intensity paid off in the home team's first power play that also went for naught.

Despite no goals, the Nassau Coliseum rocked through the frantic first two periods.

The Islanders came out quickly, much to the delight of their sold-out crowd that spent much of the opening period alternating raucous chants of "Let's Go Islanders" with retorts of "Let's Go Rangers" from those who made the trip to Long Island to support the visitors.

The Rangers were pinned in their own end for much of the first two shifts as the Islanders kept the pressure on without scoring. It took nearly 90 seconds for the Rangers to get the puck across the Islanders' blue line, but just seconds after they did they were back in their own end because of icing.

The pace was brisk after that, with both teams racing up and down the ice with a few scoring chances. Rick Nash was stopped by Nabokov on a wraparound try just over 4 minutes in, and Matt Moulson was turned aside with 4:24 remaining by Lundqvist's glove after he seemed to have an open net to shoot at following a rebound in the slot.

With 7:46 left in the first, the Rangers were primed to receive the game's first power play after McDonald leveled Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger with a high elbow just inside the blue line. While the referee's arm was raised, Arron Asham went after McDonald in the corner, starting a scrum and earning a roughing penalty that left the sides skating 4-on-4.

The Islanders finished the first with a 10-8 edge in shots and a 22-15 lead through 40 minutes.

NOTES: Girardi's only other goal this season also was against the Islanders, 27 games ago on Feb. 14. ... Islanders RW Brad Boyes played in his 600th NHL game. ... The Islanders have led or been tied or ahead in the third period in 36 of 42 games. They are 2-14-3 when scoring two or fewer.

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