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  • John Tavares heard the New York Islanders fans chanting his name in the closing minutes of the team’s final home game of the season.

     

    The captain Tavon Young Jersey , set to be a free agent this summer, was thankful for the support and reiterated he hopes to be back next season.

    ”It was really nice from the fans,” Tavares said after the Islanders continued their recent mastery of the Rangers with a 2-1 victory over their crosstown rivals Thursday night.

    ”I’ve always been treated since Day 1 very well,” he said. ”They’ve always stuck by me and been really proud to have me here and made it a lot easier for me to just kind of grow into the player and person that I am. I’m just appreciative of that. I’m not trying to look at it as it’s the end because obviously that hasn’t been determined. I’ve always wanted it to work out and stay, so that’s still what I hope transpires.”

    Thomas Hickey and Anthony Beauvillier scored 2:32 apart in the second period and Jaroslav Halak stopped 34 shots as the Islanders beat the Rangers for the 11th time in the past 12 meetings.

    They swept the four-game season series for the second time in the past three seasons, after never previously doing it since joining the NHL in 1972. The Islanders are also 6-0-0 at home against the Rangers since moving to Barclays Center in 2015.

    ”We just want to beat them no matter what the game is,” Halak said. ”Obviously tonight, for both teams we are out of the playoffs and it doesn’t really mean anything but we still have to finish the season strong. … It’s always a good feeling after these games when we beat them.”

    Halak improved to 18-7-0 in his career against the Rangers, including 10-2-0 since joining the Islanders before the 2014-15 season. This season, he went 4-0-0 with a shutout and a 1.47 goals-against average against them.

    ”The numbers are eye-opening,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said. ”It’s not just a good roll, he gets up for those games. He competes and finds a way to beat them.”

    Kevin Hayes scored and Ondrej Pavelec finished with 20 saves for the Rangers, who lost for the eighth time in 10 games (2-6-2).

    ”We got quite a few pucks at the net but against a goaltender that’s got our number the way their guy has right now, you need to get on the inside,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. ”You need to get more traffic and you need to create second opportunities and we didn’t do that well enough.”

    This is the first time since 2010 – and just the second since 2001 – that neither team will be in the postseason.

    The Rangers will miss out for the first time since that 2009-10 season Marcus Sherels Jersey , and second since the lockout wiped out the 2004-05 campaign.

    The Islanders, who won for the fourth time in the past nine overall but just the fifth in 21 (5-12-4), are missing the playoffs for the second straight year, and eighth in the past 11.

    ”We’re a skilled team, were a good team. We should be a playoff team,” Weight said. ”We have to find a way to be more consistent because we don’t belong where we are right now.”

    The Islanders trailed 1-0 after one period and were outshot 13-5 in the second, but scored twice to take the lead.

    Hickey tied it on a one-timer off a pass from Mathew Barzal as his shot from the left point deflected off a Rangers player and past Pavelec at 4:55.

    Beauvillier put the Islanders ahead on a give-and-go with Andrew Ladd for his 21st at 7:27. It gave the second-year forward a goal in five straight games.

    The Rangers got on the scoreboard on a power play 4 1/2 minutes into the game. Brady Skjei’s one-timer went over the net, bounced off the glass to Hayes on the left side and he quickly put it in for his 25th. It gave Hayes a point (four goals, one assist) in five straight games.

    NOTES: Barzal got his 61st assist, moving one away from tying Sergei Makarov (62 for Calgary in 1989-90) for third-most by a rookie since the 1983-84 season. Barzal is also two away from tying Bryan Trottier for the Islanders’ rookie mark set in 1975-76. … Anders Lee was initially given credit for Hickey’s goal, but it was later changed. That kept Lee one away from becoming the first Islanders player to have 40 since Jason Blake in 2006-07. ”He came off the ice and said `I didn’t touch it,”’ Weight said. … Barzal has 10 goals and 14 points in his past 12 games. … Beauvillier has seven goals and 11 points in his past eight games. … Hayes has 15 goals and 26 points in 32 games since returning from an injury Jan. 25. … Vigneault remained tied with Ron Wilson for 10th place on the career wins list at 648.

    UP NEXT

    Rangers: At Philadelphia on Saturday in the season finale.

    Islanders: At Detroit on Saturday night in the season finale.

    Follow Vin Cherwoo at The Spurs seemed like a perfect free-agent destination as Rudy Gay searched for a guaranteed playoff berth after just one postseason appearance in 11 previous seasons.

    That assurance was eroded by injuries this season, but Gay made sure two decades of success didn’t come to an end in his first year in San Antonio.

    Gay scored 18 points, Manu Ginobili had 17 and the Spurs rallied late to beat the Sacramento Kings 98-85 on Monday night and clinch their 21st straight postseason appearance.

    ”It feels good, it feels great actually Coby Fleener Jersey ,” Gay said. ”This is what the regular season is for, to get to where we are now. This is a good feeling, something that I’m anxious for something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It’ll be fun.”

    San Antonio is fifth in the Western Conference despite only having star forward Kawhi Leonard available for nine games this season. The Spurs still have a slim chance of finishing fourth and earning home-court advantage in the first round with one game remaining. For now, they are just happy to make the playoffs.

    ”For moments we felt like the worst team in the NBA,” Ginobili said, ”but we still managed to go close to 50 games and make it to the payoffs in a conference that is tough and talented and young and athletics. So, we managed to compete.”

    Sacramento, which was eliminated from the postseason on March 11, led by 14 points before being outscored 38-19 in the fourth quarter.

    Reserves Gay, Ginobili and Bryn Forbes combined for 25 points in the fourth quarter. Forbes finished with 11 points total.

    ”It’s tough when Rudy gets going, everything goes in,” said Willie Cauley-Stein, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

    Gay had eight points, five rebounds, an assist and a block in the fourth quarter.

    San Antonio outscored Sacramento 50-25 after Gay entered the game with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter.

    ”The way I was growing up Kenny Stills Jersey , you learn you never have anything given to you, so you’ve got to go get it on your own,” Gay said.

    Forbes’ fast-break layup off a steal by Kyle Anderson gave San Antonio its first advantage at 68-67 with 10:21 remaining. Sacramento went back ahead seconds later when Buddy Hield hit a 3-pointer, and the lead changed three times after that before Ginobili and Gay gave the Spurs’ the edge for good.

    Gay and Ginobili had thunderous dunks in the final five minutes that helped San Antonio maintain small leads. Gay also had a 3-point play off a runner he tossed in and ripped the ball from Cauley-Stein while blocking the 7-footers shot.

    A 3-pointer by Forbes and a layup by Ginobili 30 seconds later gave the Spurs an 82-77 lead with 5:23 remaining.

    ”He did an amazing job,” Ginobili said of Forbes. ”Not only to make shots it’s easy to see the 3s or the two big shots he got, but he played very solid defense, he was a pest chasing them around. We really changed the game when he was on the court.”

    LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 points and 14 rebounds but was 6 for 19 from the field.

    De’Aaron Fox added 21 points, and Hield had 17 for the Kings.

    TIP-INS

    Kings: Fox’s season-high for 3-pointers is six against the Spurs on Jan. 28. … The Kings’ last victory over the Spurs was Nov. 15, 2014 in Sacramento and their last win in San Antonio was Jan. 20, 2012. … Sacramento was without Iman Shumpert (left knee surgery), Garrett Temple (sprained left ankle), Skal Labissiere (sprained left ankle), Frank Mason (sore left heel) and Harry Giles (knee rehabilitation).

    Spurs: San Antonio’s streak of playoff appearances is the longest active streak in the four major professional sports. The Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL are second with 12 followed by the NFL’s New England Patriots with nine and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the MLB with five. … Aldridge had his 27th double-double of the season, the most he has had in three seasons with the Spurs. The 12-year veteran had 26 double-doubles in his inaugural season in San Antonio and 18 last season.

    BEING REALISTIC

    The Spurs are having to adjust to a new reality after being a championship contender for the better part of the last two decades.

    Injuries to Leonard, Gay Anthony Averett Jersey , Anderson, Ginobili, Tony Parker and others almost cost San Antonio a playoff berth.

    ”Sometimes you’ve got to adjust your goals relative to your potential, the way you’ve been playing, the way the season is going,” Ginobili said. ”So, we’ve got to be realistic. Maybe we’re not the favorites this year or maybe it wasn’t going to be a 60-win season like the previous ones. After what happened in February and early March, we had to shift our expectations. We mentioned in many times, the goal was to make it to the playoffs. Once we clinched, then we may think about standings, but the way the West is this year, it’s crazy. Everything is so clogged so tight that at this point, we’re happy to have clinched.”

    UP NEXT

    Kings: Host Houston on Wednesday night.

    Spurs: Visit New Orleans on Wednesday night.

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