Islanders 4, Panthers 3 (OT)
The Islanders and Panthers went goal for goal Wednesday night on Long
Island, but New York struck last, picking up a 4-3 overtime win on a
goal by Mark Parrish.
A shorthanded rush by Shawn Bates on the Islanders' first penalty
kill nearly cost each team a player, when he was bumped by former
Islander Olli Jokinen. As a result, Bates flew into the net, while
Jokinen rolled over Panthers goaltender Jamie McLennan. Both players
stayed on the ice, tended to by trainers, but each returned after a
few minutes of recovery.
Jokinen made things happen again minutes later, as the Panthers
converted on their second powerplay of the evening. Carrying the puck
out of the Florida zone, he bounced the puck off the boards to lead
Jozef Stumpel into the Islanders' end of the ice. A quick pass to the
slot sent Juraj Kolnik in on net, where he roofed a shot over Garth
Snow for his eighth goal of the year and a 1-0 lead.
With eight minutes left in the first, the Islanders' top line was
determined not to leave the ice without a goal, and delivered one.
Oleg Kvasha set up Miroslav Satan on a 2-on-1 chance that was a bit
out of his reach, despite a desperate dive for the puck. The Panthers
looked like they would clear the zone, but Alexei Yashin stripped the
puck free to set up Kvasha, who fired a one-timer hard enough to
sneak through McLennan's five-hole.
Despite finishing the first period with 10 saves following the early-
game collision with Jokinen, McLennan didn't return in the second,
and was instead Roberto Luongo entered the game. The Panthers
replacement was equal to the few early shots he faced, stopping 11
On the other end of the ice, Snow made some nice saves, but was
beaten as the Islanders tried to kill another powerplay, eight
minutes into the second. Knocking down the puck between the circles,
Brad Lukowich inadvertently put it on the stick of defenseman Joel
Kwiatkowski, who wristed it past Snow on the glove-side.
It may have been a different goaltender in the Florida net, with a
different five-hole, but to Kvasha, it was all the same. Handing off
to Satan in the corner of the Panthers' zone, Kvasha went to the
slot, where Satan found him for a one-timer that beat Luongo through
the legs and trickled into the net.
Though on the scoreboard the two teams were tied entering the third
period, the Islanders took the ice down by one, as Jason Blake left
the game with bruised ribs. Mattias Weinhandl and Jeff Hamilton took
turns filling his spot on the second line. Blake will be re-evaluated
The fifth goal of the night wasn't pretty, but the play that set it
up was. Digging the puck free behind the Islanders' net, Martin
Gelinas slid it over to young winger Nathan Horton who quickly passed
to Joe Nieuwendyk in front of the net. The shot didn't come off
cleanly, but Horton's fast pass got Snow moving, which allowed the
floating puck to beat him, giving Florida a 3-2 lead four minutes
into the third.
The two powerplay goals allowed by the Islanders loomed large when
defensemen Radek Martinek and Brent Sopel were sent to the box within
a minute of each other, but a strong effort by the killers, including
Bates, Mark Parrish and Mike York, kept the Islanders within a goal
of the visitors.
Kvasha came up big again in the third period, only this time he
didn't light the lamp. Powering his way around down low in the
Panthers' zone, he emerged with the puck and dropped it to Satan at
the point, who unleashed a hard shot on goal. The puck clipped the
toe of Yashin's skate, deflecting just wide of Luongo's leg pad and
just inside the far post, knotting the game at three.
The score would remain tied, despite a later powerplay chance for New
York, but that wouldn't be the worst part of the period. With eight
seconds left in regulation, the Islanders suffered deja vu of the
worst kind, when Snow was injured by a Florida Panthers player
falling on his leg. Called up from Bridgeport to fill-in for the
injured Rick DiPietro, Wade Dubielewicz entered the game, and made
one save before the game went to overtime.
Missing two key players going into an extra session, the Islanders
still managed to come from behind for the win, thanks to an excellent
faceoff performance in the Panthers' zone by Bates. Allowing Florida
to win the draw, Bates leapt into the corner, got control of the puck
and passed it out in front to Parrish, who chipped it up and over
Luongo for the gamewinner. With three saves in the final two periods
of play, Dubielewicz picked up his first win of the season, and
helped snap a five-game losing streak for the Islanders.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Mark Parrish, 2. Oleg
Kvasha, 3. Garth Snow... Before the game, the Chinese youth hockey
teams the Islanders brought to North America from Harbin and QiQiHar
stood with the players for the singing of the Chinese and American
anthems. Between periods, they played 3-on-3 hockey on the Coliseum
ice... For the Islanders, Rick DiPietro (knee), Kevin Colley (knee),
Petteri Nokelainen (knee) and Tomi Pettinen (healthy) were scratched,
while the Panthers sat Branislav Mezei (knee), Stephen Weiss (wrist),
Anthony Stewart (wrist), Lukas Kraijcek (healthy) and Alex Semenov
(healthy)... Arron Asham's next point will be his 100th in the NHL...
The Islanders and Panthers might combine for a season-high in players
who've played on both sides, with nine in total, including Mark
Parrish, Eric Godard, Olli Jokinen and Eric Cairns... The Islanders
hold a 2-1 lead in the season series after three games. Florida has
won twice in the past 10 games against New York. Before the win in
October, the previous Panthers win on Long Island was on December 15,