LOSSES PILE UP
First the Islanders lost Rick DiPietro to a knee injury, then Alexei Zhitnik to a bad bruise. Finally, the Islanders lost the game, 4-3, after giving up three unanswered goals in the final 22 minutes.
A point-shot by Anton Volchenkov and a goal-mouth scramble led to the the second goal of the night, as Brian Smolinski fell across Rick DiPietro's leg, taking him out of action. With a loose puck left in the crease, Daniel Alfredsson was able to jump up and knock in a goal to tie things up, 1-1. DiPietro was helped off the ice to the locker room, bringing Garth Snow into the game for New York. Snow stopped 7 first-period shots in the understudy role.
Before DiPietro's injury, the Islanders struck first to get the game started, just over five minutes into play. Back with the team for the first time in 13 games, Oleg Kvasha helped set up the first goal of the game, powering his way toward the Ottawa net. Moving fast, he dropped a pass to a trailing Mattias Weinhandl, who attempted to deke Senators goaltender Ray Emery, only to lose the puck. Fortunately for Weinhandl, it banked off the end boards and back to the crease, where he battled to knock it in for his second goal of the year.
After going 0-for-3 against the Rangers Wednesday, the Islanders needed just eight seconds of their first power play of the night to pull ahead 2-1. A face-off win, a screen by Alexei Yashin and a hard shot from the blueline by Chris Campoli added up to a lead for the Islanders, on Campoli's sixth goal of the season and first power play point.
Taken down by Alexei Zhitnik on the breakaway, Peter Schaefer had a chance to even things up with 39 seconds left in the first period with a penalty shot. Coming in fast on Snow, Schaefer tried to pick the lower left corner, but was stoned by Snow's leg pad.
After watching DiPietro leave the game in the first period, seeing Zhitnik laying on the ice in pain was the last thing the Islanders wanted. But after losing his skates in a race for the puck early in the second period, the defenseman slammed hard backwards into the boards. After a few moments with the team trainer though, Zhitnik was back on his feet and on the bench.
A second penalty on the Islanders put the Senators back on the man-advantage, but it was the Islanders who would score, after Alfredsson was hit by Zdeno Chara's slapshot and quickly left the ice. Jason Blake collected the puck and flew into the Ottawa zone, curling behind Ray Emery's net, and was hit hard by the Senators' Chris Neil. Back on his feet immediately, Blake grabbed the puck again, fired on Emery and banged in the rebound for a 3-1 lead.
Though the power play didn't work for the Senators in the first two periods, a four-on-four situation allowed Ottawa to pull within a goal. Anton Volchenkov tallied his second assist of the night when he picked off a clearing attempt by Brent Sopel, and fed Dany Heatley cross-ice to set up an easy one-timer past Snow. On the other hand, the Islanders ended the second period 1-for-2 on the power play, and were given almost four minutes of power play time to start the third period, when Mike Fisher crosschecked Radek Martinek, drawing blood.
The double-minor made no difference for the Senators, who mechanically shutdown the Islanders and held them without a shot on net. But when Yashin was whistled for hooking moments later, the Sens needed only seven seconds to find the Islanders' net, with Schaefer beating Snow on a one-timer almost identical to Heatley's goal. Penalties to Campoli and Snow put Ottawa right back on the power play, with a 5-on-3 advantage, but this time the Islanders were able to tighten up and keep the score even.
Dominated offensively in the third, as they managed just four shots to the Senators' 12, the Islanders saw their luck run out with a minute and a half left in the game, as an unfortunate tip off the stick of Miroslav Satan set up Bryan Smolinski in the Islanders' zone. Splitting the defense, he tucked the puck around Snow, giving the hosts a 4-3 win.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Bryan Smolinski ,2. Anton Volchenkov ,3. Zdeno Chara... With Kvasha back on the ice, Jeff Hamilton was returned to Bridgeport... For the Islanders, Kevin Colley (knee), Petteri Nokelainen (knee) and Brad Lukowich (healthy) were scratched, while the Senators sat Jason Spezza (chest), Brandon Bochenski (shoulder), Patrick Eaves (ill) and Martin Havlat (shoulder)... The Islanders' current four-game losing streak is the longest this season... After picking up an assist Friday, Mark Parrish has nine goals and 19 points in his last 18 games.
(55) Jason Blake-(16) Mike York-(7) Trent Hunter
(45) Arron Asham-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(12) Oleg Kvasha-(28) Wyatt Smith-(11) Mattias Weinhandl
(81) Miroslav Satan-(79) Alexei Yashin-(49) Eric Godard
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(3) Brent Sopel
(44) Janne Niinimaa-(8) Tomi Pettinen
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(15) Dany Heatley-(21) Bryan Smolinski-(11) Daniel Alfredsson
(27) Peter Schaefer-(12) Mike Fisher-(25) Chris Neil
(26) Vaclav Varada-(22) Chris Kelly-(44) Patrick Eaves
(20) Antoine Vermette-(45) Denis Hamel-(16) Brian McGrattan
(3) Zdeno Chara-(4) Chris Phillips
(24) Anton Volchenkov-(6) Wade Redden
(14) Andrej Meszaros-(5) Christoph Schubert
(1) Ray Emery
(39) Dominik Hasek