Gritty Effort Gets It Done
GAME ONE: Islanders 3, Ottawa 0
By Kerry Gwydir
(April 9) Peter Laviolette clearly stated his desire for a team effort
to start this playoff series. That is exactly what he got as three
different Isles tallied and Snow recorded his first career playoff
shutout en route to a 3-0 Game One victory on Wednesday night. Dave
Scatchard, Alexei Yashin, and Shawn Bates were the goal scorers. Game
Two is Saturday night at 7pm and will be broadcasted locally on Fox
The Islanders endured a pair of close-calls in the early three minutes
of the Game One battle. A rush by Peter Schaefer deep into the
Islander end nearly took a bad hop off the side of the net to handcuff
starting keeper Garth Snow. The Senator's try from behind the goal
line caromed off Snow's right skate and immediately out front. The
Isles' cleared that play before the oncoming Ottawa offense had an
opportunity to whack at the loose change.
Then a 2-on-2 situation by the Senators tested the Islander keeper
again. This time, it was former Islander Wade Redden who broke in deep
and tried to feather a cross-the-slot pass to the on-coming Chris
Neil. Eric Cairns blocked off that try before the Senator could snap
off a shot.
The Islanders did manage some early scoring chances. Arron Asham
ripped a slapper from the top of the left faceoff dot with Alexei
Yashin and Oleg Kvasha fishing in front. The Senators' defense cleared
the rebound opportunity before the Isles could get a second attempt.
Just prior to that, Michael Peca nearly tipped a Janne Niinimaa shot
into the Ottawa goal. The captain missed the puck by inches.
The first powerplay of the game came 6:12 into the evening when Steve
Webb bumped into Ottawa goaltender Patrick Lalime and was shipped off
for tripping. That was short-lived as Redden took down Adrian Aucoin
in front of the Islander net with 50 ticks left in the Sens'
Lalime would want the first goal back as Dave Scatchard scored the
first tally of the series from behind the Ottawa net at the 7:59 mark.
The center looked to feed a loose puck to the left of Lalime in front
to a breaking Jason Blake. Lalime put the puck in his own net as the
Scatchard try hit the goaltender in the trapper and dropped behind him
over the goal line. Scatchard?s goal was a bit of a milestone, as he
tallied the first goal of the regular season as well as the first of
the post season.
With the Islanders on the powerplay, Yashin nearly potted one at the
end of the advantage as he tried a stuff-shot with no one in front.
Lalime stopped that by paddling along the ice with his stick, but the
puck came out in front and Mark Parrish jammed away. When the whistle
was blown, everyone came together with Schaefer connecting with a
straight left to put down Yashin as Jason Wiemer and Parrish grappled
with a host of Senators. The Isles went right back on the powerplay as
Karel Rachunek got the extra minor during that fracas.
Laviolette's troops were all over the Sens during the man-up scenario,
but did not convert immediately. Blake nearly re-directed a Scatchard
feed on the doorstep that the goaltender blocked off. Then, with
Wiemer crashing the front of the net, Aucoin unleashed a rocket from
the right point that hit the netminder in the blocker.
But it was Yashin who'd answer Ottawa with 8:25 left in the first,
making it 2-0. The center notched a tap-in goal off a heady play by
Roman Hamrlik to stop an Ottawa clear at the blueline. The defenseman
took his time to spin around and put the puck on net. There, Randy
Robitaille dug away at the loose puck, controlled the rebound and fed
the unchecked Yashin at the back door.
With six minutes left in the period, the Isles were out-shooting the
hosts, 13-4. And the boos from the Ottawa crowd began to reign down
for the Sens as much as they were giving it to No. 79.
With three minutes left, both clubs traded quality chances. Ottawa's
Todd White flipped a centering feed out front that was ticketed for
Daniel Alfredsson at the far post. The Senator captain had his stick
lifted at the last second to impede his shot attempt. Then Kvasha
returned the favor and provided a rush down the other end of the ice.
The left wing used his speed wide and bulled his way to the front of
the Ottawa cage, but had his shot deflected away by Lalime.
The Isles went on the powerplay again with two minutes left when Chris
Phillips got the gate. A Niinimaa blast from the left point was tipped
on the way in by Wiemer, who was having a very active first period.
Lalime managed to get his chest on that chance. Then Yashin nearly set
up a third Islander tally off a display of tic-tac-toe starting with
Asham. The center got the puck and quickly fed it across the goal line
where Robitaille nearly squeezed a shot inside the far post.
Scatchard was shipped to the box early in the second stanza, putting
the potent Ottawa powerplay to work. The Senators had plenty of
chances off the bat, including a break-in down the left wing by Martin
Havlat that Snow blocked off with his right pad. Then Alfredsson was
set up for a one-timer in front that was deflected over the net.
Ottawa was picking up their play and it was showing. A blast by Karel
Rachunek six minutes in off a rush by Havlat made it through a screen
and got by Snow, but hit the left post before the goaltender dove on
The Senators run of undisciplined penalties continued when Magnus
Arvedson buried Wiemer behind the play after the Islanders finished a
check eight minutes in. Parrish posted a quality opportunity when he
danced around Curtis Leschyshyn at the Ottawa blueline and rushed the
Sens' net. The Isles weren't going to let up and followed that up with
their third goal of the game via Shawn Bates at the 9:06 mark.
The play started with an offensive zone faceoff victory by Scatchard.
The Isles then controlled possession immediately after that and passed
the puck around before Adrian Aucoin peppered the net from long range.
Bates, who was situated in the slot, deflected the biscuit on the way
in and behind Lalime.
Some more excitement involving the goalies took place in the beginning
of the third. First, Lalime got tangled up with Yashin during an
Islander powerplay as the Isles' buzzed the front of the Senators net.
When that ended, Snow tried to play a rolling puck in the Islander
end. His clearing attempt up the left wing boards was stopped by
Alfredsson, who cut towards the Islander net in possession of the
puck. Snow got knocked down in the process, but the Senator shot wide.
Snow came up with his biggest stop of the evening to this point on the
next shift. The goaltender rejected an in-tight chance on the doorstep
with his glove. Ottawa got to the rebound as Zdeno Chara unleashed a
shot from the top of the slot that Snow nabbed with his catch glove.
Thirty seconds later, the hosts continued to press and the Islander
netminder came up with another big one. Havlat this time bolted in
along the right wing with a clear lane to the net. Snow flared out his
left pad to block that off, but in the process, Niinimaa was sent to
the sin bin for roughing.
Snow continued his fine play at the midway point of the third, making
a pair of quality saves. First, the Isles goaltender made a
spectacular glove save off of Havlat. Next, Hossa broke in on the
right side, but Snow kicked it out of harm?s way. Next, as the Isles
took control deep in the Senator zone, Yashin was crushed by Ottawa
tough guy Chris Neil. The play was not called, but Yashin received a
bloody lip on the hit.
The Senators went back on the offensive as Todd White broke in, but
Snow was there again to make the save. Blake followed with a
semi-breakaway that beat Lalime, but instead hit the far post. Asham
was sent off for tripping at 13:53, but the Islander penalty killers
remained perfect, killing their sixth attempt, allowing only six shots
total on powerplay on the night.
Godard looked to even the score for Yashin and was ejected from the
game as he caught Neil in the mouth with a high stick. The double
minor put the Isles on the kill for the final thirty seconds. It would
be of no consequence, however, as Snow would record his first career
playoff shutout. In the waning moments of the game, the tone was set
for game two, as Weimer and Hnidy came together at center ice to
Isles Pen Up the Sens
Take control in Game 1
By Alan Hahn
April 10, 2003
Ottawa - Dave Scatchard sent a seemingly harmless shot toward the slot
while standing well behind the goal line, and, as these things happen
in the playoffs, the puck found the back of goalie Patrick Lalime's
left knee and landed in the net.
It's a play like this that can test the confidence of a heavily
favored team such as the Ottawa Senators. It's also a play that can
inject hope into an underdog such as the Islanders.
But it was more than just a fluke goal that sparked the eighth-seeded
Islanders to a surprising 3-0 victory over the top-seeded Senators
last night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. It was
inspiring play by Alexei Yashin, a target of boos by the Corel Centre
crowd and a target of hits throughout the game. It was curious
strategy for the Senators, who usually play an attacking offensive
"It worked to our advantage," said Yashin, who had a goal and four
shots and won 13 of 22 faceoffs in a dominating performance. "They
concentrated so much on me, they really forgot about what they had to
do to win the hockey game."
The Senators, accused many times of being a soft team that can't win
in the playoffs, appeared to be intent on flexing their muscles
instead of weaving and cycling. And as Yashin was bounced around the
rink from hit after hit by the Senators, the Islanders stuck to a
disciplined game plan and took early control of the best-of-seven
"Sometimes you get caught in that, everybody telling you that you're
not physical enough, you're not gritty enough to compete in the
postseason," Michael Peca said. "They made some changes to address
that and I think they wanted to come out and try to establish that
type of game." In doing so, they didn't test goalie Garth Snow until
the Islanders were already ahead 2-0. Scatchard's goal off Lalime's
knee came at 7:59 of the first. Yashin made it 2-0 when he put away an
excellent pass through the slot by Randy Robitaille at 11:35. He
raised his arms to the ceiling while boos rained over him, boos that
never sounded so good to him.
"I heard a lot of things," said Yashin, whose experience of being
booed in this building goes back to his days as a Senator. "But it's
not something I keep in mind." Suddenly down two goals, the Ottawa
fans began to boo the home team, which got its game going in the
second period but struggled mightily to find a flow. In a bit of a
role reversal, the Islanders did an excellent job frustrating them
through the neutral zone and gave up few shots. The ones the Senators
did get in close, Snow saved. He had 25 saves in his first career
playoff shutout and in his first playoff start since 1997. He raised
his playoff record to 9-4.
The Islanders' penalty kill shut down the Senators' power play, ranked
second in the NHL this season, on six attempts. And they got a big
lift from their own power play, which struggled during the regular
season, when Shawn Bates tipped in a shot by Adrian Aucoin at 9:06 of
the second to complete the scoring.
Clearly the Islanders got the complete and determined game they
desperately needed. "When we're firing on all cylinders," Scatchard
said, "we're a tough team to beat."
The Senators have 48 hours before Saturday's Game 2 to regroup after a
game they hope will simply be a wake-up call. "It's got to be," Lalime
said. "We have Game 2 at home and we've got to bounce back." The
Senators have lost a Game 1 for the fifth straight series, and only
once, last season against Philadelphia, did they win the series.
The Islanders are 22-2 in series when they win Game 1. Last night they
ended a nine-game playoff road losing streak, which dates to David
Volek's overtime winner in Game 7 over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the
1993 Patrick Division finals.
Coach Peter Laviolette didn't want to hear about history. "The only
thing we want to think about is Game 2," Laviolette said. "The only
thing up for grabs is Saturday night."