2006_10_srangerslogo.jpgRangers 4, Islanders 1: Two days after having their dramatic rally ruined in a shootout, the Rangers crushed the Islanders, 4-1, and continued their surge at the season's most critical times. They drew Wade Dubielewicz in goal -- Rick DiPietro had missed too much time following the death of his grandmother -- but most goalies would have had trouble Thursday. The Rangers led this one 89 seconds into the game on a Brendan Shanahan goal. Sean Avery may have broken off contract negotiations. but he's also breaking off great slapshots from the slot. Scott Gomez also scored, and Avery enjoyed the stat-padder of all stat-padders, an empty-netter in a game already decided. Sean Bergenheim had the Islanders' only goal.

With the win, the Rangers are 8-0-3 in their last 11. They have 79 points and sit at sixth in the Eastern Conference, but if they keep this play up, there's no telling how far they'll rise. Well, there is some telling, but the point has been made. Things aren't so rosy for the Islanders, five points out of a playoff spot despite a 4-2 mark against the Rangers this season. The teams play another home-and-home in April.