Islanders edge Blue Jackets in SO
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:15 AMUNIONDALE, N.Y. --
Dwayne Roloson and Rob Schremp spoiled the Columbus Blue Jackets
' last road game of 2009.
Roloson made 41 saves through 65 minutes and Schremp scored the lone goal of the shootout to give the New York Islanders
a 2-1 victory over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, handing Columbus its 12th consecutive road loss.
Though Schremp centers the Islanders' third line, he's regarded as one of their most skilled players. Coach Scott Gordon said he had no qualms about using the rookie in the shootout after Roloson and Steve Mason
each stopped the first two shooters they faced.
"It was no surprise that I chose him," Gordon said of Schremp, who was 1-for-2 in shootouts before Tuesday. "He's one of our most skilled players. His hands are second-to-none on our team. It wasn't a hard decision to pick him for the shootout."
Schremp was just glad to get a chance in the breakaway competition.
"Getting to take part in the shootout is a privilege," he said. "They call you and you've got to do something to pull one out for the boys."
Schremp wouldn't have gotten the chance to be the hero without the play of Roloson, who has assumed the No. 1 goaltending job on Long Island. The 40-year-old was especially good at preventing rebounds, keeping the Jackets from storming the slot for loose pucks.
"I don't think Rollie has had too many off-nights," Gordon said. "Since the first month (of the season), he's elevated his game. He played well and gave us a chance to win the game."
Roloson made a goal by Josh Bailey
midway through the first period stand up for nearly 40 minutes until R.J. Umberger
beat him with a backhander through traffic at 9:47 of the third period.
Columbus outshot the Islanders 40-20 through 60 minutes. The Islanders had five of the seven shots in OT -- not counting Bailey's wrister from the right circle that beat Mason cleanly, but rang off the post.
"I didn't even know they had that many shots," Roloson said. "I just tried to stay square the best I can and control the rebounds."
The Jackets, who ended a nine-game losing streak with a 1-0 overtime win over Detroit on Monday night but haven't won on the road since a 4-1 win at Dallas on Nov. 19, did just about everything right but win. Umberger said the team's solid play over the last few games is a sign that things may be about to turn around.
"We're playing better defensively, and that's a huge lift," he said of the Jackets, who've allowed just three goals in three post-Christmas games. "For so long this year, we struggled -- giving up five or six goals. The defense is getting there. It's something we have to build off."
Umberger said the Jackets played just the way they wanted to -- except for their inability to beat Roloson.
"This is our type of game," he said. "We're built for this -- to wear teams down in the third (period) with our strength."
The Blue Jackets tested Roloson early, forcing him to come up with big stops on Rick Nash
from the right faceoff dot just over four minutes into the game and Antoine Vermette
on a tip-in try three minutes later.
But the Islanders got on the board first at 10:04, thanks to a misplay by Mason -- who was coming off a 1-0 overtime shutout of Detroit on Monday night. Kyle Okposo
took a drop pass from Bailey and took a 50-foot straightaway wrist shot that hit Mason's glove and trickled behind him before Bailey nudged it into the open net at 10:04. It was Bailey's eighth of the season and first since Nov. 27.
Mason said his glove failed him on the goal.
"I completely saw it," last season's Calder Trophy winner said. "It hit off my glove -- the perimeter of the glove bent in and (the puck) flipped over. It's frustrating to have a shot like that go in because of an equipment thing."
Mason's play this season has defined the term "sophomore slump." But he feels he and his team are coming out of their funk.
"I've been building confidence in the last few games," he said. "It helps that the team is playing better in front of me as well. There's a lot of good things I've done as of late, and we've got to keep moving forward."
Columbus outshot the Islanders 14-7 in the opening period and 14-8 in the second while controlling the play through most of the first 40 minutes, but was unable to translate that into consistent pressure. The Blue Jackets managed only one shot in on the only two power plays awarded through two periods, and their best chance in the second period came when Roloson got his arm on a wrister from the slot by Kristian Huselius
near the 17-minute mark. The best chance for the Islanders came when Jeff Tambellini raced in from center ice after a Columbus turnover, but Vermette came back and slid the puck off his stick before he could get off a shot.
The Islanders got a chance to pad their lead early in the third period when Umberger was called for holding Bailey at 1:15 and Mathieu Roy was sent off at 2:28 for delay of game after shooting the puck the length of the ice and into the mesh behind the Isles' net. But New York managed just two shots and had no real scoring chances during either the 5-on-3 or 5-on-4 advantages.
The Jackets tied the game when Umberger came out from behind the net to the right of Roloson and slid a backhander through a tangle of legs that went into the far corner for his 13th of the season.
Though they haven't been playing all that well, the Islanders have won three of their last four games. Considering the margin on the shot clock against the Jackets, Gordon was more than happy to take the win and move on -- the Isles close 2009 at Ottawa on Thursday.
"It's two points," Gordon said. "There hasn't been anything great accomplished here, but we got the two points, which are very important. We've got to get ourselves back to .500, and that's the way you get started -- with two points."