Bates powers Islanders in OT
BY PETER BOTTE
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
The Islanders have not gotten many goals from those lines not manned
by Alexei Yashin this season, but this had to be the biggest to date.
Steve Stirling's experiment to shift Yashin to the wing amid a
revamping of all four lines resulted in two early goals, and Shawn
Bates' break-in tally with 28.2 seconds remaining in overtime boosted
the Isles to a 4-3 victory over Boston last night at Nassau Coliseum.
"Moving Yash always was more about getting some other guys going,"
Stirling said. "All around, there were enough good things tonight
that this was a step forward, definitely."
Stirling certainly can recite his reasons why the inconsistent Isles
(6-6-0) have not been more than one game above or below .500,
beginning with a failure to adhere to the league's new obstruction
A close second was an over-reliance on Yashin and imported linemate
Miroslav Satan - who have already combined for 15 goals and 29
points - to carry most of the scoring load.
Shifting Yashin from center to left wing also was designed to ignite
Oleg Kvasha, who had not scored in 11 games after tying for the team
lead (51 points) in 2003-04. Of course, Kvasha buried his first on
the game's opening shift, gathering a loose puck in the high slot and
roofing it over Boston goalie Hannu Toivonen's shoulder at 0:52.
"I think that's the monkey off Olie's back," Stirling said.
"Coming on the first shift," said Kvasha, "that was great."
Janne Niinimaa also recorded his first goal to double the lead,
converting a feed from Yashin at 11:56. But the Isles were outshot 22-
6 from that point through the 40-minute mark; Boston tied it on goals
by former Islander Dave Scatchard and Nick Boynton midway through the
"The first period we played as well as we (had) all year," Garth Snow
said. "They took over in the second, but we got it back."
Snow replaced Rick DiPietro (knee) and made 29 saves, few better than
late stops in close against Glen Murray and Jiri Slegr. Chris Campoli
put the Isles up 3-2 early in the third, but Boston's Joe Thornton
forced OT with a scramble goal with 1:01 remaining in regulation.
The Isles appeared headed for their second shootout, but Jason Blake
sprung Bates behind two defensemen and he rammed the puck past
Toivonen at 4:31 of overtime. "A great play by Blakey to set me
free," said Bates, who joined the Isles after leaving Boston in
2001. "I was running out of gas out there . . . I just wanted to hit
the net, hoping it would go in."
LIFE OF BRIAN: Former Rangers D Brian Leetch sprained his right knee
during second-period collision with Bates. He will have an MRI today.
ISLANDERS BEAT BACK BRUINS RALLY
By EVAN GROSSMAN
November 2, 2005 -- Isles 4 Bruins 3
Steve Stirling did the juggling, the Islanders walked a tightrope,
and it was just another circus-like evening at the Coliseum last
Alexei Yashin made his debut on left wing, each of the four Islander
lines featured new personnel, and the changes paid off for Stirling
as his team snapped a two-game skid with a 4-3 overtime win against
Yashin's line scored on its first shift as Oleg Kvasha, the unit's
new center, buried the first shot of the game. Shawn Bates, playing
with Jason Blake after the shake-up, scored the winner with 28.2
seconds remaining in OT.
"Great play by Blakey to get me free," Bates said of his new linemate
who set up the winner by floating a pass behind Jiri Slegr. "I just
wanted to hit the net."
However, it never should have gone to sudden death. The Islanders
raced out to a 2-0 lead on Janne Niinimaa's first of the year midway
through the first period, both of the Isles' first two coming off
work by the newly constructed Yashin line. It was the third time this
season the Isles scored on their first shot, but because they didn't
skate or work for most of the middle portion of the game, they were
forced to win it on their last attempt of the night.
When the Isles took their 2-0 lead, they stopped skating, stopped
moving and stopped playing much defense in front of Garth Snow, who
got his first win of the year with Rick DiPietro nursing a bruised
right knee. The Bruins out-shot the Islanders 22-6 from the Niinimaa
goal until the end of the second period, a span in which they tied
it, 2-2, on goals by Nick Boynton and former Islander Dave Scatchard.
The Isles took a 3-2 lead on rookie Chris Campoli's third of the
season 4:39 into the third. They killed off six penalties, which had
been a problem for the Isles, but they let Boston tie it at even
strength with 1:01 left in regulation when a loose puck squirted to
Joe Thornton alone on the right post.
"It's disappointing with one minute left to give up a goal," Snow
said. "This is a learning experience."
DiPietro is expected back on the ice today and in the cage tomorrow
against the Penguins . . . Former Ranger Brian Leetch, who had 69
points in 76 career games against the Isles, left late in the second
period and did not return with what the team called a sprained right
This win is 'special'
BY ALAN HAHN
November 2, 2005
Shawn Bates ended up as the hero last night with his overtime goal in
the Islanders' 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins, but he made sure
to "give props to the penalty kill" for a six-for-six effort against
Boston's power play unit.
It was the third time this season the Islanders didn't allow a power-
play goal. They had given up at least one power-play goal in each of
the previous seven straight games, including four to the Buffalo
Sabres on Saturday.
"I thought our penalty kill was a little better tonight," coach
Steve Stirling said. "And that, coupled with Snowy making the big
save when he needed to. was the difference."
Garth Snow made several big saves during a second period five-on-
three, in which he stopped Sergei Samsonov and Glen Murray at the
right post. He also came up big during consecutive penalties in the
The fact that the Islanders took only six penalties - they are the
league's second-most penalized team - was a positive.
"We've been talking about it for a while," Snow said. "How many did
we take, six? That's more in the range we should shoot for."
Bruins lose Leetch
Brian Leetch left the game with a right knee injury suffered in a
collision with Bates late in the second period. Leetch left the
Coliseum wearing a brace but without crutches. The Bruins signed
Leetch, the former Ranger, as a free agent in August. He has three
goals and eight points in 14 games.
Miroslav Satan had two assists to record his fourth multi-point game
in the past five. Satan has four goals and eight points in that
span . . . With 10,634 in paid attendance, the Islanders are
averaging 12,928 fans at the 16,234-seat Coliseum (80 percent
capacity) after six games. The one sellout was the home opener on
ISLANDERS 4, BRUINS 3
Isles find legs late
Bates flashes speed, Blake gets him puck for winning goal in OT
BY ALAN HAHN
November 2, 2005
This had nothing to do with line combinations or penalty discipline.
It had everything to do with speed, determination and a good finish.
Shawn Bates was at the end of an exhausting shift late in overtime,
but he kept his legs churning when Jason Blake carried the puck
through the neutral zone. As defenseman Jiri Slegr turned his back to
the puck to check Bates, Blake flipped a pass right by Slegr and onto
Bates' stick for a break-in.
And with a flick of the wrist, the Islanders pulled out a much-
needed 4-3 overtime win over the Boston Bruins last night at Nassau
"Great play by Blakey to get me free," said Bates, still dripping
with sweat just minutes after the game.
The play did more than send Bates in against Bruins backup goalie
Hannu Toivonen with 28.2 seconds left in the overtime. It quelled the
frustration building during a stretch of three losses in the past
four games. With new line combinations decreed by coach Steve
Stirling and a focus on staying out of the penalty box, the Islanders
evened their record at 6-6 with a victory that still wasn't the
complete game the team is striving to play. But there were enough
good things going on to suggest that game is coming.
"The first period we played as well as we have played all season,"
said goalie Garth Snow, who made 29 saves for his first win of the
season. "We played the hockey we knew we can play."
With Alexei Yashin moved to left wing and Oleg Kvasha now centering
his line with Miroslav Satan on the right, the Islanders trio made
Stirling look like an instant genius. On the first shift, Kvasha
scored when he buried a loose puck in the slot 52 seconds into the
game to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. Satan and Janne Niinimaa
recorded assists on the goal, but it was set up by Yashin, who
carried the puck into the zone from the defensive end.
"We just wanted to get a good shift," Kvasha said, "and we scored a
goal so it was great." It was Kvasha's first goal of the season,
which he celebrated with a fist pump and a rare smile. Finally, the
donut was gone from the goal column.
"I would have rather scored in the second or third game in," he said.
The line clicked again later in the period when Yashin fed Niinimaa
for a snap shot from the left circle through a Bates screen to make
it 2-0 at 11:56.
The Islanders held a 7-1 advantage in shots at that point. But they
would be outshot 22-6 over the next period and a half. "We stopped
skating," Bates said.
And Boston started. Dave Scatchard celebrated his first game back at
the Coliseum since he left the Islanders in the summer to sign with
Boston as a free agent with a goal at 15:21 of the first to cut the
Islanders' lead to 2-1. Then Nick Boynton ripped a point shot by Snow
off a faceoff win by Joe Thornton at 10:06 of the second to even the
score at 2.
Chris Campoli gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead at 4:39 of the third when
he whistled a shot from the top of the right circle by Toivonen. But
with just more than a minute left in regulation, Thornton pounced on
a loose puck for the game-tying goal at 18:59.
It could have been a crushing blow to a team that has lately been
playing with shaky confidence. But Bates' goal in overtime didn't let
a good effort go to waste.
"It was a positive step," said Stirling, "definitely."