UNIONDALE, NY -- It didn't end the way he wanted it to but Eric Nystrom's first time playing in his hometown was a personal success for the son of former Islander superstar Bob Nystrom.
Nystrom potted a goal and an assist in the Flames 3-2 loss on Long Island, giving him four goals in his last five games.
The Syosset, NY native has now more than doubled his former career-high five goals from last season and shows no signs of slowing down from the hot streak he's on.
The game started off slowly for the Flames, with the Islanders outshooting them 5-0 through the first 5:00, and the Islanders getting on the board first at 8:23 when Trent Hunter was able to bank a rebound off Miikka Kiprusoff after a scramble at the side of the net.
"They came out hungry, we knew they were going to come out hungry - they have nothing to lose," Nigel Dawes told Sportsnet West. "They were coming off a loss last night so we knew they were going to try and jump on us early."
The Hunter goal seemed to give the Flames a boost of energy, however, and they struck back just 50 seconds later thanks to a Dawes tip-in. Nystrom passed the puck along the wall to Cory Sarich and the veteran defenseman blasted a shot on net. Dawes had positioned himself at the side of the net and was able to get his stick on the shot for his 13th goal of the year.
"I'm just trying to get into the dirty areas. I got away from that and it showed on my production," Dawes said of his third goal in his past four games.
Nystrom continued on his torrid offensive pace in the second stanza when he scored his fourth goal in his last five games. The 27 year-old immediately headed towards the net as he hit the ice for his shift when he saw Jamal Mayers carry the puck deep into the offensive zone. Mayers skated it behind the net and passed it off to a steaming Nystrom and he one-timed it past Martin Biron.
The Islanders weren't going to give up easily though. Just 28 seconds into the third period, Matt Moulson tied the game up after he was able to throw a Mark Streit rebound into a wide-open cage. Kiprusoff was still on the other side of the net when Moulson pounced on the loose puck and there was no way the Finnish netminder could get himself over in time to make the save.
Bruno Gervais put the Islanders up by a goal at 11:31 when his howtizer from the blueline beat Kiprusoff low stick side.
The Flames worked hard to find a way to net the equalizer but an ineffective power play and some key saves by Biron stymied their chances of moving to within three points of the eighth placed Detroit Red Wings.
The Flames continue their Eastern Conference road trip in Boston on Saturday. The puck drops at 11:00 a.m. on Calgary Flames PPV & The FAN 960.
|WHY THE FLAMES LOST |
|The Flames had several great scoring opportunies but a lack of communication, bad bounces and some great saves from Biron held them to two goals. The Islanders handed them five power plays in the game, including a 4:00 man advantage, but the Flames just couldn't get their units clicking. The Islanders were hungrier in front of the Flames net and it paid off with two goals from close range. |
|GAME NOTES |
|The Flames kept the same scratch list from Tuesday, sitting out D Adam Pardy, F Brian McGrattan, F Curtis Glencross, F Christopher Higgins and F Daymond Langkow. The Islanders sat out D Dustin Kohn, D Andrew MacDonald, F Rob Schremp, F Trevor Gillies and F Doug Weight. |
|TONIGHT'S DIGITS |
|30 - Points for Dawes this season, a career high. |
2 - Points for Nystrom. His last multi-point game came on Nov. 14 when the Flames downed the Leafs 5-2. Nystrom had a goal and an assist in that game.
83 - Mikael Backlund's faceoff win percentage. He went 5-1.
6 - Hits for Sarich, leading all players in that category.
3:21 - Time Steve Staios spent on the power play.
|"Our young guys really seem upbeat and going and us old guys, well, we just want to get back at it again, get a shot at the playoffs, so I’m seeing it (passion) all over the place." - Sarich on the playoff push |
"We need excellence. That’s the bottom line." - Brent Sutter
"I remember Eric as a little guy weeing in his diaper. A wee little guy, just a little red-headed kid, two years old, with his dad, trying to skate. I’ll never forget that, the first time he put skates on. Makes me feel extremely old. Seriously, it does. It’s pretty neat to see where he’s at today. He’s come a long ways, obviously." - Brent Sutter, who played with Nystrom's father Bob in Long Island, on his memories of Nystrom as a kid.
|HARDEST WORKING FLAMES |
| || || || |
|Eric Nystrom |
Huge game in his hometown, 1 goal, 1 helper, 13:26 ice time
| ||Nigel Dawes |
Hit the 30 point mark, worked hard in the tough areas, 2 shots
| ||Cory Sarich |
Led the Flames physically with 6 hits, +1 in 15:56 ice time.