UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- Oleg Kvasha found a goalie that he could handle.
One day after a fight in practice with teammate Garth Snow left him with a
bloody nose, the Islanders forward scored an insurance goal to lift New York to
a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday.
During the scrap on Sunday, Snow -- New York's No. 1 goalie -- smacked Kvasha
in the face with his blocker.
"It was just a little accident. It happens once in a while," Kvasha said.
By Monday, Kvasha had recovered well enough to strip the puck from Senators
forward Bryan Smolinski and go in for a goal against Martin Prusek to push New
York's lead to 4-2.
Roman Hamrlik restored the Islanders' advantage just 21 seconds earlier to
rescue New York from another collapse against Ottawa. The Senators rallied to
tie it 2-2, after coming back from a 4-0 hole on Thursday to earn a 4-4 draw.
Cliff Ronning scored twice in his fourth game with the Islanders, and Jason
Blake added a goal to give New York just its second home win against the
Senators in 19 games.
"I look at it as two points rather than who we beat," Islanders coach
Steve Stirling said. "Yes, it's nice, but the points are the most important
The 38-year-old Ronning, signed 10 days earlier as a free agent, notched his
300th NHL goal to make it 5-2 with 6:09 left. He has three goals this season,
"I was skating with beer-league players before I came here, and I realized
how much I loved the game," Ronning said. "Even at 40-50, you may not be able
to live this dream of playing in the NHL, but you realize how much you play the
game for the love of it."
The Islanders built a 2-0 lead they carried into the third period, but
Ottawa got even when Chris Neil and Daniel Alfredsson scored 1:08 apart.
Stirling called timeout, hoping to prevent a similar meltdown to the one
Thursday against the surging Senators.
"I said very little," Stirling recalled. "The veterans on the bench said
a few things."
Just 4:15 after the Senators tied it at 3:19, the Islanders regained the
lead. Blake fought to get the puck back to the point to Hamrlik, who fired a
shot that hit the right post and caromed past Prusek at 7:34 for his first goal
of the season.
It took only 21 seconds for the advantage to grow to 4-2. Smolinski tried to
make a pass but lost the puck at his blue line to Kvasha, who streaked in alone
and beat Prusek at 7:55.
The Senators missed a chance to take over first place in the Eastern
Conference, losing for just the second time in 17 games (11-2-4). Ottawa lost
the season series to New York (2-1-1) for the first time since the 1993-94
"We got two quick ones in the first five minutes and kind of took control
of the game right there," Smolinski said. "But it was just a bunch of mental
mistakes that really cost us. It happens and you just have to learn from
Blake made it 1-0 with 18 seconds left in the first period, when he put a
wrist shot past Prusek. Ronning made it a two-goal lead 3:12 into the second,
jamming a shot off Prusek.
Except for the scoring flurry, Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro was sharp in
making 30 saves.
"All year long we've done a good job coming back from behind. We never give
up," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "All in all it's a pretty good
effort for us."
Prusek's six-game winning streak snapped, and he allowed a season-high five
goals on 23 shots.