BLAKE, DIPIETRO STAR IN 9-INNING SHOOTOUT
By Kerry Gwydir
To quote Howie Rose, Jason Blake lost the handle -- but won the game.
In an extraordinary shootout, Blake scored in the 9th -- yes, we repeat, the 9th -- frame when he initially mishandled the puck but corralled it in time to deposit it past a committed Jocelyn Thibault. When Rick DiPietro made a save on Ryan Whitney, the Penguins' ninth shooter, the Islanders had won the extra point.
"Ricky was outstanding above and beyond," said Blake after the game. As for his "move" on Thibault, Blake said, "I didn't exactly plan on losing the puck, but I guess it worked out."
Here's how the shootout transpired:
Yashin -- miss (post)
Crosby -- GOAL
Hunter -- GOAL
Lemieux -- save by DiPietro
Bates -- GOAL (slithered through five-hole)
Christensen -- GOAL
Satan -- save
Recchi -- save (missed high)
Parrish -- miss (whiffed)
Palffy -- save (poke check by DiPietro)
Nilsson -- save (Thibault stays with trademark Nilsson move)
Koltsov -- save
York -- save
Pirjeta -- save
Asham -- save
Leclair -- save
Blake -- GOAL
Despite the exhileration of the shootout win, it shouldn't have come down to it for the Islanders. The Penguins scored two goals late in the third to force overtime. Erik Christensen, displaying world-class hands throughout the game and in the shootout, scored with 1:18 left in regulation with a blazing wrister past DiPietro to tie the game at 2-2. Earlier in the third period, Sidney Crosby cut the Islanders' lead to 2-1 with a goal with 7:39 left. The Islanders had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Alexei Yashin and Shawn Bates.
Head coach Steve Stirling moved Miroslav Satan to Mike York's line for Monday's contest. The right wing switched places with Mark Parrish, who is playing on Yashin's right side.
Scoreless after one, both teams continued to stare each other down to start the second. Yashin tallied his 300th NHL goal midway through the period off a feed from Brad Lukowich after the Pittsburgh defense could not clear their zone for an extended period of time. Yashin's shot from a sharp angle along the goal line somehow looped over Thibault, hit the post and slipped into the net. Niinimaa notched the second assist on the play.
Bates made it a 2-0 game with 2:44 to go on a pretty individual effort where he stepped around Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik, enabling the hustling winger a clear lane to bury his sixth of the season. Blake, who saw a 2-on-2 develop into the Penguin's zone, found Bates steaming into the zone to set up the sequence.
ICE CHIPS: Trent Hunter, Mattias Weinhandl and Blake led the Islanders with five shots each...Petteri Nokelainen (knee) and Tomi Pettinen were the Islanders' scratches.
(45) Arron Asham-(79) Alexei Yashin-(37) Mark Parrish
(21) Robert Nilsson-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(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
(11) Lasse Pirjeta-(66) Mario Lemieux-(8) Mark Recchi
(87) Sidney Crosby-(16) Erik Christiansen-(33) Ziggy Palffy
(10) John Leclair-(9) Rico Fata-(71) Konstantin Koltsov
(17) Matt Murley-(25) Maxime Talbot-(37) Ryan Vandenbussche
(44) Brooks Orpik-(24) Lyle Odelein
(3) Steve Poapst-(19) Ryan Whitney
(2) Josef Melichar-(22) Ric Jackman
(41) Jocelyn Thibault
(29) Marc-Andre Fleury