NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers took a double shot in the mouth from their Long Island rivals. If they don't win the Atlantic Division, they might feel the sting well into the playoffs.
If that wasn't bad enough, NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr was cut by the stick of Islanders forward Shawn Bates and needed stitches in the third period. No penalty was called because referee Paul Devorski told Rangers coach Tom Renney he didn't see it happen.
Jagr will recover, but the question remains whether the Rangers will after losing a chance at key points against an also-ran team.
The Rangers have already clinched their first playoff berth since 1997 and are trying for their first division crown since the Stanley Cup-winning season of 1993-94.
Coupled with Philadelphia's 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Rangers' lead over the Flyers was cut to three points. New York has three games remaining -- including one at Philadelphia on Saturday -- while the Flyers will play four in the final week of the season.
If they don't win the division, the Rangers might start the playoffs without home-ice advantage.
"Everybody wants to be a spoiler, especially with the Rangers," said rookie defenseman Chris Campoli, who also scored for the Islanders. "It's special to beat them anytime, especially in the Garden. It's something that we haven't done a whole lot of."
After the Rangers lost their first two games with the Islanders this season, one in overtime, they won five straight to finish a 15-game stretch against their top rivals 12-1-1-1. But they fell behind 3-0 in this one and couldn't bounce back, even with a season-high 24 shots in the third period that produced two goals.
Satan gave the Islanders the lead less than six minutes in, and stretched the advantage to 3-0 with his team-high 33rd goal during a second-period power play -- less than seven minutes after Campoli cored.
DiPietro, who made 20 saves Saturday in the Islanders' 5-0 victory over Washington, lost his bid for a second straight shutout when Michael Nylander brought the Rangers to 3-1 at 3:02 of the third period.
They cut the deficit to one when Prucha scored a power-play goal during a two-man advantage with 7:52 left, but DiPietro held off the charging Rangers -- who still had more than a minute remaining with a man advantage and outshot the Islanders 38-30 overall.
Because a fourth straight postseason appearance is out of reach for the Islanders, who have won two straight after a six-game losing streak, they would like nothing more than to wreck the Rangers' plans.
"When you're already out of the playoffs, you need to find to certain things to motivate you," DiPietro said. "I thought we did a good job of stressing the fact that this is a huge rivalry for us and we owe it to our fans and ourselves to come out and put in a good effort."
The Rangers started fast in the opening minute, sparked by the pregame ceremony honoring Jagr, who broke the club records for goals and points in a season.
They had three shots in the first 60 seconds but recorded only four more in the final 19 minutes of the frame. The Rangers trailed 1-0 to the Islanders at home for the second time in six nights. There would be no comeback this time like the one on Thursday when the Rangers beat the Islanders 3-1.
Since then, the Rangers struggled to an overtime victory Saturday at Boston -- when Jagr netted his Rangers record 53rd goal -- and blew a third-period lead in a loss at New Jersey on Sunday.
In the final minutes, DiPietro extended his glove, blocker and pads to fend off the late rally that almost netted the Rangers the tying goal several times.
"Too little, too late," Renney said.
- Mariusz Czerkawski was the last Islander to reach 33 goals, when he had 35 during the 1999-00 season.
- Jagr had two assists to bring his season total against the Islanders to six goals and 12 assists.
- The Rangers are the first NHL team to have a rookie goaltender with 30 wins (Henrik Lundqvist) and a rookie scorer with 30 goals (Prucha).
- The Rangers were without top defensemen Marek Malik (shoulder), Darius Kasparaitis (groin) and Tom Poti (upper body).