Knicks Defeat Blazers, End Losing Streak
Thanks to a disappointing 18-24 start and a six-game losing streak, Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni handed in his resignation Wednesday.
Interim head coach Mike Woodson got off to a roaring start with a dominant home victory over the Portland Trailblazers that night.
The Knicks raced out to an early lead, scoring 55 points in the game's first half while holding the Blazers to just 29. They kept up the pressure throughout the game and led by as many as 42 at one point in the fourth quarter.
It was a banner night for two New York reserves: J.R. Smith had a game-leading 23 points and Steve Novak contributed 20. Carmelo Anthony helped get things started with 10 points in the first quarter; he, along with the other starting players, rested for much of the second half.
The Woodson era continues this weekend as the Knicks host the Pacers Friday night, then travel to Indianapolis for a rematch Saturday.
Frustrating Losses Mark Islanders' Home Stand
In their return to Long Island Tuesday night, the New York Islanders lost, 5-4, in a shootout to the Washington Capitals.
The Isles raced out to an early lead thanks to Matt Moulson's goal in the first period, his 30th of the season. Travis Harmonic scored later in the period to make it 2-0.
John Tavares scored twice in the second, reaching the 30-goal mark for the first time in his young career and giving the Islanders a 4-1 advantage.
However, the Capitals answered with three straight points, including two from captain Alex Ovechkin. The game remained tied at 4 through the end of regulation and overtime, and Matt Hendricks' backhand in the fourth round of the shootout gave the Capitals the win.
Thursday night, the Islanders found themselves behind early against the Philadelphia Flyers. They entered the final seven minutes of the third period trailing 3-0.
Tavares and Michael Grabner spearheaded a furious comeback attempt, scoring just 35 seconds apart to bring the Isles within one. Unfortunately for Long Island fans, that was as close as they would get.
The Isles now face the daunting task of snapping their five-game losing streak away from Nassau Coliseum. They will travel to Montreal Saturday for the first contest of a five-game road trip.
Rangers Defeat Hurricanes, Fall to Penguins
Fresh off an overtime victory against the rival Islanders, the New York Rangers made it two in a row with a win against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night.
Marian Gaborik opened the scoring with a snap shot early in the first period, and two straight goals off the stick of Brad Richards made it 3-0 midway through the second. The 'Canes threatened with back-to-back goals of their own later in the period, but Carl Hagelin put the game away with an insurance goal in the third.
It was a tremendous night for the Rangers' top line, who combined for four goals and five assists. On defense, last-minute replacement Martin Biron did a fine job filling in for Henrik Lundqvist. He stopped 27 of Carolina's 29 shots.
Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, though, was much more frustrating for the Rangers. Matt Cooke and NHL points leader Evgeni Malkin combined to give the Penguins a 3-2 advantage by the end of the second period, and back-to-back goals in the third gave them a 5-2 victory.
Hagelin and Gaborik scored for the Rangers, while Biron struggled in Lundqvist's continued absence.
The Rangers hope to finish the season strong as their seven-game home stand continues. They will host the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night.