|Bill Guerin scores goal #400 |
On Friday versus the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Nassau Coliseum, Islanders center and Captain Bill Guerin became the eighth American-born player and 79th player in NHL history to record 400 goals in a career. Guerin scored his 399th goal on a deflection of a Josh Bailey
shot midway through the second period. Early in the third, Guerin added his second goal of the contest to reach his milestone 400th. Guerin again found himself positioned opportunely in front of the net, where he scooped up Chris Campoli's rebound.
Guerin, with his two goals, is now the Islanders' leading scorer with 13 goals. He also leap-frogged Trent Hunter for third on the team in points, with 24. Guerin is the third Islander to reach the 400-goal plateau with the club, the only American and the most recent since Bryan Trottier.
"This means a lot," Guerin said. "It means I've been able to stick around in this league for quite some time now, had some success at doing it and I'm just really enjoying it." DiPIETRO'S RETURN CREATES EXCITEMENT
The enthusiasm was high on Friday in the Nassau Coliseum. Just before gametime, fans were pleasantly surprised to see Rick DiPietro
lead the Islanders onto the ice. DiPietro's return came after he missed the past several weeks recovering from knee surgery.
One fan, Kelly Anderson of Glen Head, expressed her disbelief.
"I didn't even know he was playing tonight, wow!" said Anderson, who was as pleased as she was shocked to hear about DiPietro. "I really think this can help turn the season around, he will make sure we win some more games. "I go to school in Philly, and whenever we win it's great and whenever we lose its tough. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to rub in some wins when I get back."
Another fan, Nick from Bellmore felt similarly.
"I'm just really happy. I am really glad he's back," Nick said. "I can't wait for him to put up a lot of shutouts."
Once on the ice, DiPietro didn't have to wait long to prove himself. One minute and 54 seconds into the first period, DiPietro was met with his first shot, turning it aside before freezing the puck. He was immediately met with a chorus of cheers from the Coliseum faithful. It was one of several highlights of the first period, punctuated by a "DP" chant welcoming back the Islanders netminder.
Not long after his first save, DiPietro gave the fans more to cheer about. His pass to Kyle Okposo
started a breakout that led to an Okposo goal, gave the Islanders the lead and resulted in DiPietro's first assist of the season.
DiPietro's return was an all-around triumph. He dominated the crease and helped protect the Islanders lead late in the game. DiPietro's 28 saves on 29 shots were an indication not only of progress but of things to come for Islander fans.
"I think the biggest thing that I noticed was that there weren't a lot of second chance opportunities," Head Coach Scott Gordon said of the reintroduction of DiPietro to the lineup. "I don't think Rick could've handled himself any better."
DiPietro's focus was as much on his play as it was at his relief to be back on the ice.
"We had talked about me playing for about a week," DiPietro said. "It felt good...but it wasn't easy getting here. Patience isn't one of my many virtues. It took a lot of growing up and a lot of maturing to wait for the right time, but the one good thing that came out of this was it made me realize how much I missed the game. I'm happy to be back, and looking forward to helping the team in continuing to turn things around." "HOCKEY WITH A HEART" CAMPAIGN CONCLUDES WITH AMERICAN RED CROSS NIGHT
The Islanders "Hockey With a Heart" Campaign finished off strongly with its biggest donation of the season. In celebration of American Red Cross Night at the Nassau Coliseum, $21,000 was raised to benefit the American Red Cross of Nassau County.
"It's hard to put into words thinking that a professional sports team could do so much for a local charity," said Sam Kille, Director of Public Relations of the American Red Cross in Nassau County. "Though the American Red Cross reaches across the whole world, the Nassau County Red Cross chapter is serving people right here in Nassau County. We look at the Islanders as our team, so for them to help us out is amazing. We've really developed a great friendship with the Islanders. This is taking it to a whole other level. The awareness this night creates is only going to help our mission to serve people on Long Island."
The awareness of the American Red Cross reaches far and wide. Frans Nielsen
, who is Danish, knows the organization well and was proud to support it. He and Nate Thompson attended a pre-game event in the Expo Hall celebrating Red Cross Night.
"The Red Cross is a great organization," said Nielsen. "It's an organization you're always happy to do something for because of what they do all over the world."
The Red Cross not only benefited from proceeds from Friday's ticket sales, but also from the Islanders Assist program. The Red Cross purchased more than 400 tickets at a discounted price and then re-sold them, receiving a profit for each ticket sold. One company in particular contributed greatly to purchasing the Red Cross' Islanders tickets––My Tire Butler.
"Anytime there is a disaster, the Red Cross is always there," said My Tire Butler Owner Rich Entel. "I thought this would be a good opportunity to give back a little bit."To find out more about how the Islanders Assist program can help your organization, please contact the Islanders Group Sales department at 1.800.882.ISLES Ext. 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org.PAJAMA DRIVE/SUPER HEROES NIGHT
On New Year's Eve, the Islanders host the Florida Panthers for a special 2 pm matinee contest.
The Islanders will be holding a Pajama Drive as we embark on the coldest months of the winter. Fans can donate a new set of superhero pajamas––or any other style––when they arrive for the December 31 game. Not only will you become a hero to a child in foster care, but you will also receive a free ticket voucher to a future game.
At the game, fans can also meet Marvel Comics Superheroes, including Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and Wolverine.
All pajamas will be donated to the Education & Assistance Corporation's children's programs.GET YOUR FAMILY FUN PACKS FOR DEC. 31
Families attending the Islanders' contest against the Florida Panthers on December 31 can purchase a Family Fun Pack for great savings.For $24.75 a person, the Family Fun Pack includes:
For more information on the Family Fun Pack, please click here.
- Four great seats
- Four hot dogs and four sodas
- Two Game Time Islanders kids watches
- A $40 Dave & Buster's Power Card voucher
- A 10% coupon to Denny's Children's Wear
- A savings of up to 68% off of face value