EXTRA EFFORT PROVES TOO MUCH FOR B'S
By Kerry Gwydir
Extra-effort goals by Trent Hunter and Arron Asham broke a late tie, enabling the Islanders to take a 5-2 win Saturday night over the Boston Bruins at the Coliseum.
Boston's Glen Murray generated the first quality opportunity on the second shift of the evening when Joe Thornton found the right wing unchecked in the slot. Rick DiPietro, once again between the Isles' pipes, made a spectacular paddle stop on the doorstep to deny the early chance.
After the Isles killed a penalty to Chris Campoli in the opener, the line of Jason Blake-Shawn Bates-Trent Hunter tested Andrew Raycroft and the Bruins' defense. The combination twice roared in on 2-on-1 breaks, but could not convert. On one chance, Blake missed Bates cutting to the far post by inches for what would have been a tap-in goal.
Robert Nilsson, who has been heating up of late, set up the Isles' first tally of the game with 7:31 to go in the first as Mike York potted his second of the season. On the play, Nilsson pulled up at the Boston blueline with Boston's Hal Gill in the box to find York cutting through the seam past Shawn McEachern. With a 2-on-1 developing down low with Mark Parrish, York chose to shoot and beat Raycroft under the right shoulder. The goal was York's 100th in the NHL.
A difficult hop off a dump-in cost the Isles with 2:33 to go in the same stanza when Dave Scatchard slammed home the equalizer off a centering feed from PJ Axelsson. Originally, Shawn McEachern dumped the puck in towards the corner to DiPietro's left. Campoli, anticipating the puck being rimmed around the boards, was caught when the puck skipped right to Axelsson along the right wall. That allowed Scatchard to sneak in front of the Islander net untouched to beat DiPietro.
Both teams spent the first 10 minutes of the second period in special teams-mode. The Isles were given the first pair of powerplays, but failed to convert. Then, Janne Niinimaa started the Islander waltz to the box when he was tagged for tripping. When that powerplay was extinguished, Alexei Zhitnik was the next to follow. Boston's Murray, for a short time, short-circuited that chance by taking down Campoli.
However, while the teams skated 4-on-4 for a short moment, Niinimaa was tagged for his second penalty of the period for interfering with Axelsson in the neutral zone. DiPietro made his biggest stop of the game during that 4-on-3 man advantage when he came out on top of his crease to reject a drive from Boston defenseman Kevin Dallman.
As the teams thawed out from the constant specialty-teams play in second, Nilsson posted two of the best opportunities late. With five minutes to go, the rookie whistled a rocket from the top of the right faceoff dot that beat Raycroft, but hit the side of the net. Then, on his next shift two minutes later, Nilsson nearly buried another when Parrish set the winger up in front. However, the rookie chipped the puck just wide of the Boston net.
The Blake line, again, was the catalyst for the Isles with 1:57 to go when Shawn Bates re-directed the hosts' second goal of the evening. Blake and Trent Hunter started the play by causing a Boston turnover at their own blueline. With Bates screaming down the ice, a 3-on-2 developed into Hunter bearing in alone on Raycroft, with Hunter taking his time to bury a shot on net that Bates potted into the Bruins' cage.
Sergei Samsonov evened the game at two just under three minutes into the third with his ninth of the season. The left winger broke behind the checking of York and Campoli and deposited Joe Thornton's cross-ice feed behind DiPietro.
A pair of extra-effort goals turned the game in the Islanders' favor late in the contest.
With six minutes to go, the Islanders broke the deadlock courtesy of a splendid effort by Hunter. The right wing out-skated Boston defender Jiri Slegr in center ice, and then managed to dive past Kevin Dallman after the loose puck and chip the puck over Raycroft. The tally broke a 12-game goal-scoring drought.
On the next shift, Asham made it a two-goal lead for the Isles by banging home the rebound of an Alexei Yashin shot. Asham went hard to the net and out-muscled Boston defender Nick Boynton to roof a shot through Raycroft. Miro Satan made the key play on the sequence by stripping Scatchard at the Boston blueline. That allowed the Islander captain to peel into the Boston end and fire the puck on net.
To punctuate the effort, Bates sealed the win in the final minute with an empty-netter.
Prior to the game, the Islanders honored the team's Controller, Ralph Sellitti, for 30 years of dedicated service...
Petteri Nokelainen and Tomi Pettinen were the Islanders' scratches.
(45) Arron Asham-(79) Alexei Yashin-(81) Miroslav Satan
(21) Robert Nilsson-(16) Mike York-(37) Mark Parrish
(55) Jason Blake-(17) Shawn Bates-(7) Trent Hunter
(49) Eric Godard-(12) Oleg Kvasha-(11) Mattias Weinhandl
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(24) Radek Martinek
(25) Brad Lukowich-(44) Janne Niinimaa
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(39) Travis Green-(19) Joe Thornton-(27) Glen Murray
(14) Sergei Samsonov-(10) Alexei Zhamnov-(37) Patrice Bergeron
(11) PJ Axelsson-(38) Dave Scatchard-(17) Shawn McEachern
(22) Brad Isbister-(26) Brad Boyes-(75) Colton Orr
(25) Hal Gill-(44) Nick Boynton
(68) Milan Jurcina-(71) Jiri Slegr
(41) Andrew Alberts-(58) Kevin Dallman
(1) Andrew Raycroft
(33) Hannu Toivonen
---additional reporting by Brian Bohl
Trent Hunter on his third period go-ahead goal:
"I'd use my teeth if I had to get to the puck. I just had an idea where the puck was, took a swipe, and hoped for the best."
On his first period assist to Shawn Bates:
"I saw it hit Bates' stick off the shot. We were just happy to see the puck go in and get some momentum."
On the upcoming four game road trip:
"Tonight was a huge win for us, especially going on the road. It's hard when you don't get a bounce here and there. The team has really been working hard the past three games."
Mike York on his 100th career goal:
"It's a good accomplishment, but I wouldn't have been able to really enjoy it if we didn't win. It puts things in perspective and gives me an appreciation for guys like Brett Hull that have scored over 700."
Mark Parrish on the mood of the team:
"There is a sense of ease in the lockeroom that wasn't there a few games ago. There was frustration and guys weren't as confident."