3-GOAL OUTBURST IN THIRD PUTS PANTHERS AWAY
By Kerry Gwydir and Chris Botta
Shawn Bates scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season in leading the Islanders to a 5-3 win over the Panthers in South Florida tonight.
The Islanders led the game 2-1 on goals by Bates and Miroslav Satan heading in to the third period and exploded with three goals early to put the game away. Oleg Kvasha scored at 4:12 of the third, then Bates got his second only eight seconds later on one of the Islanders' prettiest passing plays of the season. Brad Lukowich's first pass his Jason Blake in stride. Blake played give-and-go with Trent Hunter while crossing the blueline and heading to the net. Blake threaded a perfect pass to Bates, who snapped it past Riberto Luongo to make it 4-1.
At 5:47 of the third period, Chris Campoli one-timed a slapper past Luongo (with Mark Parrish screening) off a soft pass from Radek Martinek, who received the puck when Satan cleanly won the offensive zone faceoff.
"We did all the little things well tonight," said Islander coach Steve Stirling. "I thought we took care of our own zone. On offense, we got in front of Luongo. On at least three of our goals, he never saw the shot because Parry or someone else was paying the price in front of the net."
Bates suffered a hamstring injury in the final minute of play, putting a damper on the Islanders' spirits despite going 3-1 on the road trip. "He's been our best player the last few weeks," said Campoli. "That's probably why you didn't see us celebrating at the end of the game like we normally would." Bates will be re-evaulated when the team returns to Long Island.
The Islanders appeared to have scored less then a minute in when Luongo couldn't control a Mike York shot and swatted the puck behind him. An alert Stephen Weiss swept the puck out of the net as it crossed the line. After a lengthy video replay, it was decided no goal.
Kristian Huselius scored the first countable goal of the contest six minutes in when he beat DiPietro between the wickets from a sharp angle. A power play opportunity tied the game for the Isles with 8:32 to go in the same stanza when Miroslav Satan, back on a line with Alexei Yashin, ripped off his team-leading 12th goal of the season. A screen by Mark Parrish allowed Satan's wrister from the right faceoff dot to beat Luongo. It was the first of two goals that Parrish played a big part in, but didn't get a point to show for it.
"That's okay," said Parrish. "My job is to get to the front of the net so guys like Miro and Yash can fire their shots. If I can get my stick on it, it's a bonus. My first job is to make sure the goalie doesn't see the shot. Luongo is an excellent goalie, but in those cases it helps me that he likes to stay deep in the crease because I can get in front of him."
After a relatively quiet second period, Bates continued his goal-scoring prowess with 2:06 to go in the stanza by notching his ninth of the year. The score came as a result of Trent Hunter going to the front of the net and screening Luongo as Bates fluttered a shot on net.
But only two nights after the Islanders lost a game in the final minutes of the third period, tonight the third period was the difference for the Islanders.
"We didn't sit back at 2-1," said Campoli. "We took it to them and got on a roll."
The Islanders' penalty killing streak was extended to 34 as they killed all six of Florida's power plays...After taking 12 shots on goal in the first two periods combined, the Islanders took another 12 in the first half of the third period...
With the Islanders ahead 5-1, former teammates Eric Godard and Eric Cairns squared off in a heavyweight battle...Gary Roberts' goal -- his 400th NHL goal -- at 11:32 and a goal by Olli Jokinen with 2:01 left in the game made the score 5-3...
Martinek -- seemingly getting better every night the last three weeks -- had two assists...Petteri Nokelainen (knee) 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-(3) Brent Sopel
(25) Brad Lukowich-(44) Janne Niinimaa
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(10) Gary Roberts-(12) Olli Jokinen-(14) Niklas Hagman
(77) Chris Gratton-(9) Stephen Weiss-(22) Kristian Huselius
(23) Martin Gelinas-(15) Josef Stumpel-(13) Juraj Kolnik
(44) Greg Campbell-(43) Serge Payer-(40) Greg Jacina
(4) Jay Bouwmeester-(55) Sean Hill
(20) Joel Kwiatkowski-(26) Mike Van Ryn
(33) Eric Cairns-(2) Lukas Krajicek
(1) Roberto Luongo
(29) Jamie McLennan