Miller scores 1st 2 goals, Rangers beat Isles 4-1
NEW YORK (AP) — J.T. Miller scored his first two NHL goals and then cautioned everyone not to get used to it.
The teenage rookie found the net twice in his second career game to lift the New York Rangers to a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Miller, however, said setting up others is really more of his game. As long as pucks go in, the goal-starved Rangers will gladly take offense from anyone.
"I am more of a playmaker," said Miller, who won't turn 20 until March. "I've always had more assists than goals."
Just not yet in the NHL.
Miller was kept off the scoresheet in his debut on Tuesday — a 3-1 loss at New Jersey — and didn't add any assists on Thursday en route to claiming the "Broadway Hat" as the game's MVP.
But as is his nature, Miller was already preparing to dish it to another worthy teammate.
"It's a nice hat," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting a win next time so I can pass it off."
Miller gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead just 1:29 in and then pushed their advantage to 3-1 in the second period with a rare power-play goal for the club. Marian Gaborik also scored, defenseman Marc Staal had two assists, and Ryan McDonagh added an empty-net goal to give the Rangers their second win in three games.
"We wanted to have a good start," Staal said. "We've been getting scored on first a lot. It's tough playing catch-up in this league. We knew that first goal was important. We ended up getting two. That was huge for us and we were able to close it up."
The Rangers have an eight-game winning streak over the Islanders at Madison Square Garden, outscoring them 35-11.
New York entered with 20 goals, tied for fewest in the NHL, but scored more than two for just the second time in five games. The Rangers connected for only the fourth time this season in 37 power-play opportunities — the worst percentage in the league.
"We have to find a way to get points," coach John Tortorella said of his 5-5 Rangers. "I still think there's a lot of sloppiness with our game. There are a lot of things that need to continue to improve."
The Islanders' struggles on the power play continued as they went 0 for 5. They have failed in 19 straight chances over three games after going 9 for 24 to begin the season.
Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves as he started for the ninth time in the Rangers' 10 games and earned his first win in three outings.
He, too, was pleased by the instant offense provided by the young Miller.
"It's great. We need everybody to do good stuff for us," Lundqvist said. "He plays so mature out there, making good decisions with the puck. It's important. It definitely brings some energy to the group. Guys come in and do well right away."
The Rangers also welcomed back captain Ryan Callahan, who had missed three games because of a shoulder injury sustained nine days earlier.
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