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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

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The Islanders kept their postseason hopes intact by out-working the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 victory, Thursday night at the Coliseum.

"I believe in positive things, and good things usually happen to people who work for it," said head coach Ted Nolan. "We're just glad to be still alive, and it's time to get focused for the next one."

Five different Islanders scored, Wade Dubielewicz stopped 28 of 30 shots to pick up his second victory in as many games.

"The guys did a great job in front of me tonight," said Dubielewicz. "They shut down that top line very effectively."

The Mats Sundin line produced no goals, thanks to the defense pairing of Brendan Witt and Sean Hill, which played them physically all night.

With the Rangers defeat of Montreal, the Islanders are still in playoff contention.

The Islanders got on the board first with an ugly goal. Trent Hunter's shot attempt bounced off a couple of bodies in front to Smyth, who slammed it into the open side with 3:03 remaining in the first period.

With 6:24 remaining in the second period, the Leafs tied it up when Darcy Tucker's centering pass deflected off John Pohl's skate into the Islanders' goal.

Mike Sillinger put the Islanders back on top with only 25.6 seconds remaining in the second period on their only power play of the game. Hunter found Sillinger, who walked through the slot and fired a wrist shot past Andrew Raycroft. The Leafs netminder made 22 saves.

The Leafs evened the score, 2:12 into the third period off a Carlo Coliaicovo wrist shot.

But Jason Blake countered by notching his 40th goal of the season at 3:46 of the third period to give the Islanders a 3-2 advantage. Blake spun and weaved his way through the offensive zone before finding a seam in the slot and shooting a hard shot by Raycroft.

"Considering we got the win and we're still playing it feels great," said Blake about his 40th goal. "A few years ago I never would have thought I'd get this opportunity and I'm appreciative of that."

The Islanders took a 4-2 lead with 8:11 to go in the third period. Marc-Andre Bergeron head-manned a pass up to Arron Asham, who took a few strides into the offensive zone and blasted a high slapshot past the glove of Raycroft.

Miroslav Satan put the game away with an empty-netter for his 26th goal of the season and a 5-2 Islanders lead.

Five Stars of the Game:
1. Mike Sillinger:
A PP goal on their only man-advantage
2. Jason Blake: Scored his 40th goal of the season at a crucial time
3. Arron Asham: One blast, one goal, +2
4. Ryan Smyth: Was the best Islander in the first period, rewarded with a goal
5. Tom Poti: Quietly tallied three assists

Fans of the Game: Bridget (third from left) brought her friend Fran (far right), nephew Drew (6) and niece, Gabi (5) to their first game of the season because she's trying to get her relatives into hockey. "It's really cool to be at the last game," said Drew. "I'm rooting for Yashin because he's good." Gabi is also a Yashin fan, while Bridget and Fran are big DiPietro fans.

Stat of the Game: Sean Hill and Brendan Witt were rocks on defense, each compiling six hits.

Slapshots: Jason Blake became the 11th Islander  in history to score 40 goals...Former Islander Michael Peca stopped by his old locker room prior to the game to drop off gifts for Jason Blake and Marc-Andre Bergeron's kids...Rick DiPietro, Richard Zednik and Freddy Meyer were tonight's scratches...Tonight's attendance was 14,352.

Game Operations: During the first intermission an a cappella group, Oxford Out of the Blue performed their rendition of Queen's "Fat-Bottomed Girls"...The Down on the Farm Report focused on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers that is fighting for the final playoff spot in the East Division...Tonight's Commerce Bank Hometown Hero was Kyle Orent, who donated $20,000 to the Canine Companion for Independence Program dedicated to training dogs to help people with disabilities.





34 Wade Dubielewicz
1   Mike Dunham

32 Brendan Witt - 6   Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli - 21 Deron Quint
3 Tom Poti - 47 Marc-Andre Bergeron

94 Ryan Smyth - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7   Trent Hunter
79 Alexei Yashin - 25 Viktor Kozlov - 81 Miroslav Satan
45 Arron Asham - 27 Randy Robitaille - 55 Jason

1   Andrew Raycroft
30 Jean-Sebastien Aubin

15 Tomas Kaberle - 31 Pavel Kubina
24 Bryan McCabe - 7 Ian White
25 Hal Gill - 8 Carl Colaiacovo

23 Alexei Ponikarovsky - 13 Mats Sundin - 80 Nik Antropov
18 Chad Kilger - 42 Kyle Wellwood - 16 Darcy Tucker
10 Alex Steen - 14 Matthew Stajan - 22 Boyd Devereaux
33 Bates Battaglia - 94 Yanic Perreault - 21 John Pohl 


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