UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Benoit Pouliot's goal with 6:14 left in the third period Tuesday night capped an entertaining, back-and-forth game and lifted the New York Rangers to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh scored power-play goals for the Rangers, who led 1-0 after one period and trailed 2-1 after two. The Rangers, who opened the season with a nine-game road trip before making their home debut at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, won for the second time in three games. They improved to 4-7-0 on the season.
Cal Clutterbuck and Peter Regin scored in the second period for the Islanders, who played their first game since the blockbuster trade Sunday for left wing Thomas Vanek.
The Islanders (4-5-3) are 1-3-1 in their past five games.
The Rangers' lone visit this season to Nassau Coliseum featured the chippiness -- on the ice and in the stands -- that is omnipresent whenever the local rivals meet. There were at least three skirmishes involving every non-goalie on the ice as well as a fight between the Islanders' Matt Martin and the Rangers' Derek Dorsett midway through the second.
The game ended with a faceoff with 0.7 seconds left and a subsequent pushing and shoving match involving every player on the ice except Rangers goalie Cam Talbot.
The bipartisan sellout crowd of 16,170, meanwhile, traded derogatory chants throughout the evening, but the Rangers got to yell last after Pouliot and Carl Hagelin -- playing his first game of the season following offseason shoulder surgery -- traded the puck just beyond the blue line. Pouliot's shot sailed through Islanders defenseman Matt Donovan and past goalie Evgeni Nabokov for the game-winner.
Talbot had 22 saves, while Nabokov recorded 21 saves.
In the first period, the Rangers killed a power play 45 seconds before they got on the board with a man-advantage goal at the 12:30 mark. Derek Stepan won a faceoff near the Islanders' net and passed to Brad Richards, whose shot bounced off Nabokov and to Kreider. Andrew MacDonald tried poking the puck loose from Kreider, whose momentum was carrying him away from the net, but Kreider's backhanded, no-look shot sneaked past Nabokov.
The Rangers took the first seven shots of the second period, including five on an unsuccessful power play, but the Islanders tied the score on their first shot of the period. Rangers defenseman Marc Staal whiffed trying to corral the puck near center ice, and Clutterbuck raced past Staal, picked up the puck and beat Talbot over his right shoulder 3:40 into the period.
The Islanders took the lead in quirky fashion in the final minute of the second. MacDonald's shot glanced off Talbot, and Travis Hamonic's rebound clipped the glove of Talbot. As the puck fluttered around the goalmouth, Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi waved at it with his stick in hopes of knocking it out, but he accidentally poked it in for a goal credited to Regin.
The Rangers tied it with another power-play goal early in the third, when McDonagh's shot into a group of seven people in front of the net bounced just in front of the goalmouth and trickled under Nabokov's legs.
NOTES: A moment of silence was held in honor of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall a year ago Tuesday night and damaged or destroyed 100,000 homes on Long Island while flooding the New York City subway system. ... The Islanders scratched LW Eric Boulton, RW Colin McDonald and D Brian Strait. The Rangers scratched D Justin Falk and LW Brandon Mashinter. ... The Islanders' second "home" game against the Rangers this season is at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 29. ... The Vanek trade was the first in-season deal for the Islanders since D James Wisniewski was sent to the Montreal Canadiens for two draft picks on Dec. 28, 2010. The Islanders sent LW Matt Moulson and two draft picks to the Buffalo Sabres for Vanek. ... Talbot started in goal in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who returned Monday after missing two games with an unspecified injury. ... For the Rangers, Tuesday was the second game of a 29-game span in which they play 20 games at Madison Square Garden. The stretch ends with a nine-game homestand from Dec. 7-23.