A 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night is a step forward from the Islanders recent offensive woes.
"We had four even strength goals tonight,” Matt Martin
said. “That’s something that hasn’t come easy for us lately and we have to build off that. We just have to keep throwing pucks on net, keep crashing the net. If you look at almost every goal except (Rolston’s) they were pretty close to the crease. That’s something we have to continue to work on.”
In that six-game span, the Islanders players were frustrated that they were unable to get on the score sheet and as coaches often do, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano knew precisely what would turn the tide. He never pressured the players and instead, lightened the mood at Thursday’s practice with music blasting over the loud speakers.
|Brian Rolston celebrates his goal with teammates in a game against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum on November 5, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Then, as promised, he changed up the line combinations the morning of the game, only leaving two pairs of players together for Saturday night’s contest.
“We had to do something over the last few games and they saw that coming, that something had to be done,” Capuano said. “We did the right things, we did a lot of good things that we have been doing the last few games, we just hadn’t put the puck in the back of the net.”
To earn the win, the Isles came back from a two-goal deficit to tie the score in the second. Martin scored the go-ahead goal before Brooks Laich evened the score at three with a power play goal. PA Parenteau
and John Tavares
completed the Islanders three-goal third period for the Islanders 5-3 win.
“It was a character win,” said Brian Rolston. “When we go up 3-2, they come back, get a power play goal and we stuck with it. That’s what strong teams are made of. I think that’s the most important thing about this game is that they tied it up and we came back and get another goal with a minute to go.
Rolston continued, “That’s what good hockey teams can do, win late in games, and just stick with it, stick with it, stick with it. That’s what we did tonight.”
Without even one practice with together, Rolston, Parenteau and Frans Nielsen
set out to make an impact, sharing seven points on the night. Nielsen’s goal was the first goal the Isles scored in 110:13 of play, sparking the confidence and powering the momentum in the Islanders favor. Before the end of the second, Rolston’s goal tied the score at two and then in the third, Parenteau scored the game-winner.
|John Tavares celebrates his empty net goal with teammate Milan Jurcina in a game against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum on November 5, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images) |
“It was a pleasure playing with those guys tonight,” Rolston said. “The line change definitely paid off in that matter. I feel real comfortable with those guys. Obviously Fransie (Nielsen) is good at both ends of the ice and it’s a pleasure to play with him. And PA (Parenteau) for that matter, he had a huge night for us.”
Parenteau’s goal was the kind of gritty goal around the paint that the Isles have been searching for. Milan Jurcina
fired a shot from the point which trickled through Vokoun five-hole; Parenteau dove to the crease to tap the puck in the empty net.
Trying to tie the score, the Capitals pulled Vokoun with 1:44 to remaining in the third, but a pass from Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro
to center Tavares in the neutral zone led to an empty net goal at 18:59, capping the Islanders 5-3 win.
“The way we stayed with it all night, our game plan, we battled through some adversity,” Tavares said. “That’s a good hockey team. They’ve had a lot of success in recent years and has been in a lot of these games. For us to come back after being down a couple (goals) and then tying it, that’s the way we want to play. That’s the identity we want to have and it’s time for us to build off of it.”Notes:
In the first period, the Capitals took a two-goal lead with goals from Joel Ward and Alex Ovechkin. At the end of regulation, the Islanders outshot the Capitals 35-28 and DiPietro made 25 saves to earn his first win of the 2011-12 season.
“We struggled in the first period, but came out hard in the second and turned the game around,” Martin said.