Miller scores 1st 2 goals, Rangers beat Isles 4-1
"He just kind of does it all for the line of me and (Chris Kreider) — just two young guys," Miller said. "It feels really nice to have a guy like that."
John Tavares scored his fifth goal of the season in the second period to cut the Islanders' deficit to 2-1, but they dropped their third straight after a 4-2-1 start. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 21 shots just hours after the Islanders acquired veteran goalie Tim Thomas from the Boston Bruins.
The 38-year-old Thomas has no intention of playing this season — the last year of his contract — and has been under suspension by the Bruins for failing to report to the club.
Miller started the scoring early with a snap shot from the lower left circle that beat Nabokov. Gaborik made it 2-0 with 5:56 left in the first period when he was left alone in front for a perfectly placed drive that produced his sixth goal of the season.
"We have to make the opposition's defense work harder," Tavares said. "We just weren't good enough. That is unacceptable. Our effort and consistency has to be there for the full 60 minutes. We have good periods and good momentum but we're not carrying it through."
Tavares brought the Islanders within a goal 11:13 into the second period with a rising wrist shot from the right circle that eluded Lundqvist's glove, but Miller struck again with 1:49 left in the period when he got by the defense and came right in on Nabokov.
"We can't be satisfied with playing close," Nabokov said. "We have to win. We didn't play bad. We have to get better at every single detail on the ice."
NOTES: Rangers D Dan Girardi missed his second straight game because of an undisclosed injury. ... The Islanders will send a conditional second-round draft pick to the Bruins either next year or in 2015, depending on if Thomas plays for New York. ... The Rangers benched forward Brian Boyle to make room in the lineup for Callahan. Tortorella was critical before the game of Boyle, who has one assist, a minus-3 rating and 11 penalty minutes this season. ... The Rangers went 1-2 without Callahan. ... D Lubomir Visnovsky passed a physical and was activated from the suspended list by the Islanders after he didn't report to the club to start the season. He wasn't in the lineup and might play Saturday vs. Buffalo. ... The Rangers were caught with too many men on the ice for the fifth time this season.