10th Anniv.: Skrastins scores while 3-on-5 on Long Island
/ Nashville Predators
October 15, 2002
From 1999-2003, Karlis Skrastins was a stalwart on the Nashville blue line. A reliable and dependable stay-at-home defenseman, he logged many of his minutes the hard way – killing penalties, protecting leads and blocking shots. On the night of Oct. 15, 2002, it wasn’t his defense that earned notoriety for “Scratch” – it was his offense.
At the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. N.Y., Skrastins pulled off an offensive feat rarely attained – scoring a goal while his team was two-men down. Vladimir Orszagh and Tomas Vokoun were both penalized as the clock ran down in the first period, leaving the Predators two-men short against the New York Islanders. Just 21 seconds into the second frame, Skrastins fired a shot from the blue line at Islanders netminder Chris Osgood. With his own player screening him, the shot caught the Islanders’ goalie off guard, giving Nashville a 3-1 lead. The Islanders would eventually rally for a 4-3 OT victory.
Drafted as a 23-year-old in the ninth round of the 1998 Entry Draft, defenseman Karlis Skrastins was a late-bloomer success story for the Nashville Predators. In his five seasons in Music City, Skrastins played 307 games, including a franchise-record 269 in a row. Together with three seasons of work with Colorado, the Riga, Latvia native broke the NHL record (486 by the late Hall-of-Famer Tim Horton) for consecutive games played by a defenseman last February with a streak that ended at 495.