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game recap

Thrashers 5, Islanders 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Associated Press

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Thrashers 5, Islanders 4
Atlanta Thrashers 5, New York Islanders 4

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - The New York Islanders got some unexpected outside support in the stands, but still couldn't use that - or anything else - to their advantage on the ice.

A big boost in attendance was provided by fans of the former Quebec Nordiques. In the end, the Islanders lost for the 19th time in 20 games (1-16-3).

Bryan Little's short-handed goal with 8:25 left lifted the Atlanta Thrashers to a 5-4 win Saturday night over the Islanders, who have the worst record in the NHL (5-17-5) and a league-low 15 points.

"I tried to make it seem like I was going to win (the faceoff) back," Little said. "I was trying to put it on net, to get a shot, and ended up getting a good bounce on it.

"I've tried it before, but you need to have a bit of luck to get it through. I kind of caught them off-guard, and their goalie (Rick DiPietro) really wasn't paying attention."

New York led 2-0, but let that advantage slip away.

"We generated some chances," Islanders interim coach Jack Capuano said. "It's the bounces that aren't going our way."

Defenseman Johnny Oduya had his first two goals of the season, and Alex Burmistrov and Chris Stewart also scored for Atlanta, which got 25 saves from Chris Mason.

Rob Schremp, Matt Martin, Matt Moulson and Blake Comeau had goals, and DiPietro made 30 saves for the Islanders.

"We worked so hard and we kept coming," Moulson lamented.

It wasn't enough.

Bus loads carrying 1,100 hockey enthusiasts - who call themselves Nordiques Nation - trekked from Quebec to Long Island to see the Islanders host the Thrashers. The group wants to prove to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that Quebec deserves a new team.

The decision for Nordiques Nation to attend the game was calculated. The Thrashers and Islanders are 28th and 29th in NHL attendance. Only the Phoenix Coyotes are worse, with an average of 10,189 per game.

The Nordiques left to become the Colorado Avalanche before the 1995-96 season.

The traveling group split up and sat in seats behind both nets, cheering loudly throughout Saturday night's game. They boosted the attendance to 10,056.

They saw Little snap a quick wrist shot past a clearly stunned DiPietro, who stood straight and stared straight ahead. Little's goal, scored while teammate Tobias Enstrom served an interference penalty, gave Atlanta a 4-3 lead.

"I had my head down, getting set," DiPietro said of the goal that broke 3-3 tie. "When I lifted my head, the puck was in the net."

Atlanta trailed going into the third but Oduya scored twice in a span of 1:18 to put the Thrashers ahead 3-2. The advantage lasted for 2:12, until Schremp tied it again with 9:15 left with his fifth goal.

Burmistrov's goal with 5:44 remaining made it 5-3.

The Islanders are an irritated team and their frustration spilled over after Burmistrov's goal when John Tavares fought the Russian 43 seconds after the rookie's scored his fifth of the season.

"It's deeply frustrating. We played really hard," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "We've got to make sure we're prepared and make sure we keep battling."

Notes: The Quebec group was led by CHOI-FM sports talk host Vincent Cauchon. ... Islanders general manager Garth Snow held a pregame news conference and called it "a positive" for the NHL that it has fans willing to travel. He reiterated that the Islanders will stay in Uniondale through the 2015 season. The Islanders lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires after the 2014-15 season.

scoring summary
1st Period
16:53
NYI
Matt Martin (2) Backhand shot - ASST: Blake Comeau (9), Rob Schremp (3)
1 - 0 NYI
2nd Period
02:44
NYI
Matt Moulson (10) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE
2 - 0 NYI
18:01
ATL
Anthony Stewart (8) Snap shot - ASST: Brent Sopel (2)
2 - 1 NYI
3rd Period
05:45
ATL
Johnny Oduya (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Jim Slater (3), Chris Thorburn (2)
2 - 2 Tie
07:03
ATL
Johnny Oduya (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Nik Antropov (8), Rich Peverley (12)
3 - 2 ATL
09:15
NYI
Rob Schremp (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Andrew MacDonald (1), Blake Comeau (10)
3 - 3 Tie
11:35
ATL
SHG - Bryan Little (7) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE
4 - 3 ATL
14:16
ATL
Alexander Burmistrov (5) Tip-in - ASST: Brent Sopel (3)
5 - 3 ATL
18:44
NYI
PPG - Blake Comeau (5) Tip-in - ASST: Rob Schremp (4), Matt Moulson (6)
5 - 4 ATL
penalty summary
1st Period
05:10
ATL
Nik Antropov  Hi stick - double minor against  Rob Schremp
07:56
ATL
Rich Peverley  Boarding against  Blake Comeau
13:03
NYI
Frans Nielsen  Holding against  Evander Kane
2nd Period
04:22
NYI
Travis Hamonic  Hooking against  Rich Peverley
07:22
NYI
Jesse Joensuu  Holding against  Bryan Little
19:51
ATL
Tobias Enstrom  Interference against  Michael Grabner
3rd Period
03:34
NYI
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau  Roughing against  Brent Sopel
09:49
ATL
Dustin Byfuglien  Hooking against  Michael Grabner
14:59
NYI
John Tavares  Fighting (maj) against  Alexander Burmistrov
14:59
ATL
Alexander Burmistrov  Fighting (maj) against  John Tavares
14:59
NYI
John Tavares  Slashing against  Alexander Burmistrov
16:57
ATL
Anthony Stewart  Holding the stick against  Michael Grabner
goalie stats
Chris Mason
SA: 29TOI: 60:00
Saves: 25EV: 15 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .862SH: 4 - 4
Rick DiPietro
SA: 35TOI: 57:44
Saves: 30EV: 21 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 6
SV%: .857SH: 3 - 4