Islanders 4, Penguins 3 (Final/SO)
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Goals by Alexei Yashin, Miro Satan and Oleg Kvasha weren't enough to beat the Penguins, so it came down to three saves by Wade Dubielewicz in the shootout to lift the Islanders to 4-3 win Thursday night at the Coliseum.
The first period started with an uneventful 15 minutes of hockey, though the Islanders built up a hefty lead in shots, taking advantage of a pair of powerplays. Then, with time ticking off on a roughing penalty on Brooks Orpik, Jason Blake flicked a feed from the boards through the slot to Yashin. Slapping at the pass for a one-timer, Yashin got his stick's heel on it, putting the puck off the left post, then off Sebastien Caron's skate and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
A slightly-different Islanders defense, bolstered by the Islanders debut of Joel Bouchard, stifled Sidney Crosby and the Penguins for 20 minutes, one night after they hung eight goals on the Capitals. Making his fourth start of the season, Dubielewicz had to stop only three shots in the first period.
With Ryan Whitney and Mark Recchi both serving sentences in the sin bin, the Islanders again capitalized on the man-advantage seven minutes into the second period. Taking the puck off the boards, Yashin put a hard wrister on Sebastien Caron, creating a rebound opportunity in the crease. Mark Parrish jumped into the fray, sending the puck to the left of the netminder, where Satan was waiting to tap it in for a 2-0 lead.
A former Islander came back to sting the Islanders a little less than halfway through the middle stanza, as recently-acquired defenseman Eric Cairns put away his first goal of the year. Sidney Crosby picked up his 59th point of the season, by finding Recchi from behind the net. Taking the feed at the face-off dot, Recchi threaded it to a pinching Cairns, who found plenty of open net behind Wade Dubielewicz as he coasted to the crease.
An attempted hit on Satan early in the third resulted in a short delay, as Eric Boguinecki left the game with an apparent injury. Taking Satan into the boards along the Penguins' bench, Boguinecki's arm got caught under Satan, as their momentum carried them into the glass. The impact took the Penguin of his feet, and smashed him into the glass face-first.
Less than a minute later, Oleg Kvasha gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead, thanks to a failed Pittsburgh clearing attempt. Mark Parrish picked off the puck at the blueline of the Penguins' zone and dumped it in to Kvasha, who was still deep in the offensive zone. Turning on the jets, he created a breakaway that he finished with a reach, tucking the puck around Caron.
It didn't take long for the Penguins to pull within a goal again, on a play started by Crosby. Driving across the crease, Crosby tried to stuff the puck past Dubielewicz, but was denied, kicking off a goalmouth scramble. As the players battled for position, the puck drifted out past the circles, where Sergei Gonchar corralled it, sending a hard slapshot in on net that Recchi deflected into the top left corner of the Islanders' goal.
The Islanders looked to be on their way to a win in regulation, with Crosby in the penalty box and just a minute left in the game, but a bad bounce allowed the Penguins to strike while shorthanded, pushing the game into overtime. Despite being down a man, the Penguins had the locals on their heels, allowing Whitney to fire a hard slapper on net, where it bounced off Alexei Zhitnik's leg. Dubielewicz was moving left, but the puck bounced across the crease, allowing John LeClair to knock it in and pull Pittsburgh even with New York.
Neither team could put the game away in the extra period, which set up a shoot-out finale. Michel Ouellet took the ice first, and tried to beat Dubielewicz five-hole with a wrister, but was stoned. Satan, on the other hand, picked the top left corner and beat Caron to put the Islanders up by 1. Crosby's attempt to tie it up was stuffed to the side by Dubielewicz, but Caron stopped Hunter on the other end of the ice to keep the Penguins alive. The game was decided when Dubielewicz used a quick stick-hand to stop Ryan Malone's attempt.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Wade Dubielewicz, 2. Alexei Yashin, 3. Mark Parrish... Bouchard made the cross-Sound trip for Thursday's game, while Jeff Hamiton headed to Bridgeport... The Penguins dealt former Islander Dick Tarnstrom earlier in the day to Edmonton for Jani Rita and Cory Cross... For the Islanders, Garth Snow (knee), John Erskine (healthy), Tomi Pettinen (healthy), and Petteri Nokelainen (knee) were scratched, while the Penguins sat Matt Murley (shoulder), Andre Roy (hand), Jocelyn Thibault (hip), Ryan VandenBussche (neck), Lyle Odelein (healthy) and Konstantin Koltsov (healthy)... Alexei Yashin's assist on Satan's goal was his 400th in the NHL... After three games of an eight-game season series, the Islanders hold a 2-1 edge, with both teams winning one on the road.
--additional reporting by Brian Bohl
Brad Shaw on the performance of Wade Dubielewicz:
"I liked the way he played. He moved real well. It's a hard job to not see game action and then come in and perform like that. I thought we did a great job in front of him, especially in the first period."
On the team's disciplined play:
"We didn't make very many mistakes. The penalty kill was better. The power play was good. We had talked about making the special teams better and they carried us tonight."
Dubielewicz on his thoughts of the shootout:
"It's fun. In the AHL, we get five shooter and I don't like that so much. I think the three shooters in the NHL is just the right amount and the fans love it."
On the importance of getting two points:
"It's big. Good teams find a way to win and we're working to become a good team right now. This is a step in the right direction. This win was big, if we would have lost in the shootout, we wouldn't enjoy just getting a point. Now we can go on to Boston and give ourselves a chance there."
Miroslav Satan on his game winning goal and being the first shooter in the shootout:
"I saw the opening and I took it. There's less pressure going first than second or third. You don't need to be in a situation where you need to score or it's over. You can do whatever you want."
(55) Jason Blake-(79) Alexei Yashin-(45) Arron Asham
(7) Trent Hunter-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(11) Mattias Weinhandl-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(12) Oleg Kvasha-(62) Kevin Colley-(49) Eric Godard
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(3) Brent Sopel
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(4) Joel Bouchard-(25) Brad Lukowich
(34) Wade Dubielewicz
(39) Rick DiPietro
(43) Tomas Surovy-(87) Sidney Crosby-(20) Colby Armstrong
(12) Ryan Malone-(7) Michel Ouellet-(8) Mark Recchi
(10) John LeClair-(25) Maxime Talbot-(23) Eric Boguinecki
(14) Shane Endicott-(11) Guillaume Lefebvre
(2) Josef Melichar-(55) Sergei Gonchar
(5) Rob Scuderi-(19) Ryan Whitney
(44) Brooks Orpik-(33) Eric Cairns
(22) Ric Jackman
(31) Sebastien Caron
(29) Marc-Andre Fleury