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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

The Islanders received a contribution early from 900 NHL-gamer Miro Satan and some breathing room in the third

Miroslav Satan
While any NHL coach would preach that he wants his team to play a solid, full 60 minutes of hockey, the next best thing he can hope for is a good start and finish to the game. That's exactly what Ted Nolan received from his players Friday night in Pittsburgh.

For only the third in their past 18 games the Islanders scored a first period goal. Not only that, Miroslav Satan put the Islanders on the board in the opening minute of play for the first time this season.

"I wanted to honor Miro, who was playing in his 900th game by having him start the game," said Nolan. "He in turn honored us by getting an early goal. It put us in a good frame of mind for the rest of the game."

The Penguins did ultimately tie the game and take the lead in the second period in what Nolan called a bad period for both teams. But the Islanders evened the score at two, heading into the third period.

Like most Islanders games this season – 20 to be exact – it looked as if it would be another one-goal game. However, after Blake Comeau scored his first of his career, Trent Hunter quickly followed suit giving the Islanders their first two-goal lead since they knocked off Phoenix 3-2 on December 13.

"It was almost like we had a ten-goal lead," said Ted. "We felt very comfortable with it. We worked hard to get those goals. It put us in a good position."

The Islanders will look to match their effort from Friday night, tonight against Washington.

At 7:30 pm, Ted Nolan will no longer be the only one in his family to suit-up for an NHL game. Tonight, Ted's oldest son Brandon will skate with the Carolina Hurricanes in Tampa Bay for his NHL debut. In 29 games with Albany of the AHL, Brandon has recorded 11 goals and 11 assists.

"It's a great honor for any father to watch their son play at this level," said Ted. "Hopefully, he has a good game tonight, and it's a start of a good career in the National Hockey League. It's one of the toughest leagues to get in to, so he gets to join a select few. I'm proud of my boys, period. Hockey is something they enjoy doing, but it's only a small part of their lives. I'm more proud of who they are as human beings and the hearts they have. But it's a nice bonus they get to play this game."

The Holiday build-up will end tonight with the Islanders' final home game prior to Christmas break. Tonight, when the Islanders host the Washington Capitals, fans will have the opportunity to win Holiday ornaments decorated by the players and their wives. A silent auction on the concourse will take place during the game. After the second period intermission, the winners will be announced on the Video Board. For those looking to include even more decorative ornaments to their Christmas Tree, an Islanders ornament could be the perfect addition. All proceeds from the Islanders Ornament Auction will be donated to the Islanders Children's Foundation.

Click here for tonight's preview of the Islanders-Capitals game at the Nassau Coliseum.

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