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Entering a game with a positive attitude and a lot of momentum is the best way to be productive out on the ice. That’s exactly what the Islanders brought all afternoon when they beat their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers, 6-4, on Columbus Day at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“The guys were ready for this game,” said Islanders forward PA Parenteau
. “I think they showed a lot of character going into the third period. That’s a sign of a team that’s going to get wins. If we can come back like that, and like we did against Dallas twice, and like we did tonight again, it’s big. Things are going to be good for us.”
Indeed, good things did come for the Islanders. Parenteau, who played his first professional season with the Rangers last season, tied up the game at four with just 4:24 seconds left on the clock.
“It was a pretty nice play by Dougie (Weight) and Wiz (James Wisniewski) and everyone on the five-on-three there,” Parenteau said about scoring the game tying goal. “We kind of moved the puck pretty well and got a good bounce and I don’t think Lundqvist saw it. He saw it the last second, but it was too late. It’s a great feeling to score against these guys (the Rangers), obviously.”
While Parenteau stood out, Islanders forward Blake Comeau also had a game-changing performance, scoring two goals for the Islanders – the game-winner as well as their first.
With 3:26 left in the third period, Josh Bailey
made a stunning backhanded pass from the goal line and found Comeau just outside the crease awaiting the pass. The forward also scored the first goal of the game at 12:47 of the first period. After stealing the puck from a Rangers defenseman, Comeau netted his own rebound off Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
“The confidence has gone up with a few of the goals last year,” Comeau said about his performance. “I worked hard this summer, and came back here in shape. I’m feeling good. Confidence is rolling and I’m still shooting the puck and that’s something I’ll continue.”
Bailey was another guy that had a standout performance, not only setting up Comeau for the game-winner, but he also tallied the Islanders second goal of the game, giving the lead back to the Isles at 16:47 of the first period. Bailey came from behind the net and passed out front to Comeau who sent the puck back to Mike Mottau on the point. Mottau found Comeau who then found Bailey out in front of the net wide open. As a Rangers player tried to push him off his edge, Bailey let the puck roll of his stick, finding its way past Lundqvist and into the net.
It’s been phenomenal. They’ve (Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey) been poised to breakout. Those are two of the main guys that we talked about coming into this season. - Rick DiPietro
“It’s been phenomenal,” said Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro
(29 saves) about teammates Comeau and Bailey. “They’ve been poised to breakout. Those are two of the main guys that we talked about coming into this season. As bad as it was last year, you can’t put a price tag on how much that helped; that experience, playing in different situations.”
“These guys expect to be great players, and they expect to do well every night,” DiPietro continued. “If you had told me last year we wouldn’t make the playoffs and these guys would be that much better coming into this season for it, I think I may have taken it. This is all positive stuff, we’ve got to continue to work hard, put in that effort, put in that work, and keep getting better.”
Michael Del Zotto tied up the game when he netted the Rangers second power play goal at 8:28 into the second period. At 13:01, Dan Girard scored the Rangers third goal of the game, giving them their first lead of the day.
But it was short lived, with just 21 seconds left in the second period, forward Matt Moulson
netted a dirty goal after taking the rebound off of Trent Hunter’s slapshot which tied up the game 3-3.
The Isles held on tight to the tie and the Rangers had some great scoring chances, but at 12:46 in the third, Artem Anisimov scored to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
The heated rivalry between the Islanders and Rangers couldn’t have been spoken about better than by Islanders forward PA Parenteau
, who credited the Rangers for giving him the opportunity to show he can play in the NHL.
So tying the game up at that point in the game was pivotal as it gave Parenteau’s new teammates a boost of energy which led to two more tallies – allowing the Islanders to notch three goals in less than five minutes.
“To tie the game like that, it was great,” Parenteau said. “I felt unbelievable when I scored it. Two big points; that’s the most important thing out of it (my goal). They got nothing; that’s big too.”
On the Islanders win, Comeau said: “It’s big. I think we’ve got that ‘never say die’ attitude. I’ve said it before, we’ve got a different feeling in this room. We’ve got the feeling we can win every game, and we’re not just satisfied with a good effort. This is the year where we want to see results.”
And they definitely saw results. To solidify the win, Islanders centerman Frans Nielsen
took advantage of an empty net. Finding a breakaway with 19 seconds left on the clock, Nielsen slid the puck across the Rangers empty defensive zone and into the net.
Comeau led the Islanders in points, scoring the Islanders first and fifth goals of the game as well as assisting Bailey’s goal (second of the game). Nielsen, Bailey, Moulson and Mottau all tallied two points, while Parenteau and Wisniewski earned one.
The Islanders are set to play the Capitals in their next game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Washington.