Islanders 5, Thrashers 1
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Three-point nights from Miro Satan and Alexei Yashin powered the Islanders to an important 5-1 win over the 8th-place Thrashers. The victory gave the Islanders a six-game winning streak at the Coliseum, and kept the team's playoff hopes alive.
Though the Islanders couldn't capitalize on the first powerplay of the game, moments later more hard work from Sean Bergenheim got the Islanders on the board. Taking a pass from Alexei Yashin in the corner of the Thrashers' zone, he threw a shot on net and followed it into the crease, along with Jeff Tambellini. Their aggressive play helped force the puck through Atlanta goaltender Kari Lehtonen's pads with enough power to allow it to trickle over the goal line. The goal gave the winger tallies in three consecutive games.
Early in the second period, the Isles went on their first penalty kill of the game, and ended up pulling ahead by two goals. A deflected Thrashers' point-shot ricocheted off Miro Satan's head, but he quickly recovered. Racing Jaroslav Modry to the puck, Satan dove and chipped it over to center ice, where Mike York picked it up, getting a breakaway opportunity. York deked left, forcing Lehtonen to dive, opening the right side of the net for the shorthanded goal.
Another kill later in the period put the Islanders back on the offensive, though this time with even-up manpower. The result was a pair of quick goals through traffic. Fed by a pass from Jason Blake, Satan stepped into the Thrashers' zone, deked a defenseman by cutting to the slot, and snaked a shot through four Atlanta players to beat Lehtonen just inside the left post. Just 43 seconds later, Yashin received a drop-pass from Rob Nilsson at the visitors' blueline, and used Blake as a screen to snap a wrister into the top corner of the net, over Lehtonen's shoulder, putting the Isles up 4-0.
The Isles opened the third period with a two-man advantage that carried over from the end of the second period, but couldn't score on the 5-on-3. Once time ran out on the first penalty though, the powerplay clicked, with York distributing from the point to Satan down low to Lehtonen's left. Satan dished it to Yashin at the top of the Atlanta crease, but with his stick checked, he could only move it across the net, where Bruno Gervais pinched in to hammer home his second of the season. It was the last goal of the night for Lehtonen, who was yanked halfway through the period.
Rick DiPietro's bid for a shutout ended not long after, in the aftermath of Eric Godard's fight with Eric Boulton. With a powerplay from Godard's instigator penalty, Atlanta went on the attack, and got pressure in the Isles' zone. DiPietro fought off a few attempts, but down in the crease, he couldn't stop Marian Hossa's tap-in off a cross-crease pass by Scott Mellanby.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Miro Satan, 2. Bruno Gervais, 3. Alexei Yashin... For the Islanders, Petteri Nokelainen (knee), Arron Asham (ankle), and Alexei Zhitnik (ankle) were scratched, while the Thrashers sat Garnet Exelby (healthy), Serge Aubin (knee), JP Vigier (knee)... Miro Satan is the Islanders' leading career scorer against the Thrashers with 15 goals and 30 points, though Alexei Yashin is this season's top gun, with eight points in four games against the Thrashers... Satan's next powerplay goal will give him a career-high 16... No one on the ice Tuesday has worn both jerseys... All-time, the Islanders have a 14-8-2-0 lead over Atlanta... After a four-game season series, the Isles took a 3-1 win, having split a pair of games in Atlanta to go with two wins at home.
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(79) Alexei Yashin-(21) Rob Nilsson
(7) Trent Hunter-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(15) Jeff Tambellini-(17) Shawn Bates-(55) Jason Blake
(27) Jeremy Colliton-(28) Wyatt Smith-(49) Eric Godard
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(4) Joel Bouchard-(6) Bruno Gervais
(3) Denis Grebeshkov-(44) John Erskine
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(17) Ilya Kovalchuk-(9) Marc Savard-(19) Scott Mellanby
(13) Vyacheslav Kozlov-(23) Jim Slater-(18) Marian Hossa
(26) Ronald Petrovicky-(16) Bobby Holik-(12) Peter Bondra
(27) Patrik Stefan-(36) Eric Boulton-(29) Brad Larsen
(44) Jaroslav Modry-(34) Shane Hnidy
(7) Greg de Vries-(5) Steve McCarthy
(28) Niclad Havelid-(25) Andy Sutton
(32) Kari Lehtonen
(1) Mike Dunham