Kevin Stevens and Claude Lapointe were both trying to shoot high.
Stevens scored on a rebound shot with 5:08 left to break a 2-2 tie and the Rangers survived a penalty shot by Lapointe in the last five minutes.
"The puck came out," Stevens said. "It was kind of a bad angle. I was just trying to get it up."
So was Lapointe when he took his penalty shot 26 seconds later.
Lapointe was awarded the first Islanders penalty shot ever against the Rangers when he was pulled down from behind by Mathieu Schneider on a breakaway.
Lapointe said before the shot he had talked to teammate Kevin Miller about facing goalie Mike Richter in that situation.
| John MacLean (right) tied the game at 2-2 with a second-period goal off a feed from Brian Leetch and Kevin Stevens. (AP) |
But Lapointe inadvertently shot low and Richter foiled his attempt when he made a pad save on a backhander from just outside the crease.
"I guess Richter' got my number," Lapointe said. "That's not the first time (he stopped me). I made a great move and he made a great save.
"I'm not a goal-scorer. I guess I was thinking too much."
Richter said he was trying to "give him very little to shoot at. I try not to have too many plans on penalty shots. He went wide and I got in front of it."
The Rangers went on to their second consecutive victory after an 0-4-1 start -- worst in their history since the 1958-59 team went six games without a victory at the start of the season.
"It was very encouraging the way we came back," Rangers coach John Muckler said.
Richter made 28 saves, and Islanders goalie Tommy Salo stopped 26 shots.
The Rangers went ahead 1-0 at 10:13 of the first period on a goal by Mike Knuble, who beat Salo from outside the crease after skating around Islanders defenseman Eric Brewer in the slot.
The Islanders tied it at 11:21 on a great effort by Trevor Linden, who rushed from his own blue line, skated past three Rangers and beat Richter between his pads.
Robert Reichel's slap shot from the left circle at 2:13 of the second period gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead. The Rangers tied it at 16:24 on John MacLean's slap shot from the top of the right circle.
Steven smade it 3-2 when he scored on a rebound of a shot from the point by Brian Leetch, who had two assists.
"I tried to play between Leetch and Stevens," Islanders defenseman Bryan Berard said. "I should have made a definite decision and gone for the puck. I tried to make Leetch take the shot and he did -- but I was caught."
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