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On a night where the kids were the stars off the ice, it was a couple of new Islanders that were the stars on the ice as the Islanders won 4-3 over Carolina Saturday at Kids' Opening Night. Mike Sillinger tied the game late and Tom Poti scored the game-winner just 23 seconds into the overtime on the power play to raise the Islanders record to 3-3-2. All four Islanders goals were scored on the power play and Rick DiPietro earned the win in his 2006-07 Nassau Coliseum debut, stopping 37 of 40 shots.
Pressure throughout the Islanders' first power play of the second period paid off. Poti and Miroslav Satan prevented the puck from leaving the offensive zone numerous times at the beginning of the man-advantage. Eventually, Alexei Yashin passed the puck in front to Sillinger, who slid it across to Jason Blake for a one-timer past John Grahame at 8:53 into the second period and a 1-0 Islanders lead.
Once again the Islanders struck on the power play, converting at 1:59 of the third period. Alexei Yashin deflected Tim Gleason's pass in front to a streaking Mike York, who put it past Grahame for a 2-0 Islanders lead.
Carolina got on the board with 6:38 gone by in the first with a shorthanded tally. Justin Williams got the goal on a wraparound to make it 2-1. Williams then tied the game at two on the power play at 8:28 of the third period. Rod Brind'Amour fed the puck to Williams who rocketed a shot just under the post.
The Hurricanes took the lead at 5:26 on Brind'Amour's second of the season after he scored off a Ryan Bayda rebound with 5:26 left in the third period.
Sillinger got his fourth goal of the season as the Islanders scored their third power play goal of the game with 3:05 remaining in the third period. Yashin flipped a pass over to Sillinger, whose initial shot was blocked, but his second attempt hopped over Grahame for a 3-3 game.
Just 23 seconds into the overtime period, Tom Poti wristed a shot past Grahame through a screen on the power play to give the Islanders the victory.
Ted Nolan: "I thought Ricky was solid on his return. He proved that he's one of the top goaltenders in this league."
Trent Hunter: "It was fun to see all the kids out there, since they bring so much energy. I'm just glad we were able to get the win for them."
Mike Sillinger: "It was a big special teams night. That's the league nowadays. After my goal Blakey tackled me and I was too tired to hold him up. It was probably the hardest hit I got all night."
Tom Poti: "On my goal, I got the puck in the middle of the ice, which is always a good place to shoot the puck. Sillinger was in front screening the goalie, so I figured I'd fire one in there. Mike did all the work getting in front."
Trent Hunter: "It was fun to see all the kids out there, since they bring so much energy. I'm glad we were able to get the win for them."
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Tom Poti: The Game-winning goal and two assists
2. Alexei Yashin: Four assists
3. Rod Brind'Amour: Two goals, one assist
4. Mike Sillinger: One goal and one assist
5. Justin Williams: Two goals
Stat of the Game: Tom Poti led the team with 25:23 of ice time.
Fan of the Game: Not only did Harrison Roth of Plainview get a chance to take part in Kids' Opening Night, he received a few more surprises as well. Ted Nolan saw Harrison and threw his stick over to him at the NYI 365 Morning Skate. "It's amazing," said Harrison. "I've always wanted a stick." In addition, Joel Bouchard came out to the stands following practice and signed Harrison's jersey. Harrison has been a fan since he was born ten years ago and says his favorite game was Game Four of the 2001 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal game against Toronto when Shawn Bates scored the game-winner on a penalty shot.
Slapshots: Alexei Yashin played in his 800th NHL game tonight Joel Bouchard (hamstring) and Chris Campoli (groin) were tonight's scratches Campoli skated with the team this morning¦Mike Sillinger has scored in all four home games Tonight's attendance was 12,349.
Game Operations: Kids and the NHL mascots were the highlights of tonight's in-game entertainment. The Kings Parl RJO Choir opened up the game by singing the National Anthem. Junior Islanders helped with the between-period player interviews and with the goal announcements. Junior Ice Girls also assisted the Ice Girls in cleaning the ice during stoppages. Throughout the game, NHL mascots Sparky, Buffalo's Sabretooth, Carolina's Stormy and Columbus' Stinger along with Bridgeport's Storm entertained the crowd with their constant smiles. During the first intermission the mascots participated in an on-ice musical chairs game.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
6 Sean Hill - 77 Alexei Zhitnik
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
8 Bruno Gervais - 3 Tom Poti
7 Trent Hunter - 16 Mike York - 81 Miroslav Satan
55 Jason Blake - 79 Alexei Yashin - 25 Viktor Kozlov
17 Shawn Bates - 18 Mike Sillinger - 10 Richard Park
12 Chris Simon - 11 Andy Hilbert - 45 Arron Asham
47 John Grahame
30 Cam Ward
6 Bret Hedican - 22 Mike Commodore
28 Andrew Hutchinson - 45 David Tanabe
8 Tim Gleason - 48 Anton Babchuk
18 Ryan Bayda - 17 Rod Brind'Amour - 26 Erik Cole
11 Justin Williams - 12 Eric Staal - 24 Scott Walker
13 Ray Whitney - 27 Craig Adams - 25 Eric Belanger
34 David Gove - 14 Kevyn Adams - 59 Chad LaRose