Predators 2, Islanders 1
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Solid contributions from some new arrivals and veteran Islanders kept New York close to the Predators, but a pair of late-period goals by Nashville's Steve Sullivan helped the Predators win 2-1.
With Janne Niinimaa traded and on his way to Dallas
, the Islanders' defense had a new look to start the first period Tuesday, starting with call-up Bruno Gervais. The leading defensive goal-scorer in the AHL, Gervais lined up with his former Sound Tigers partner Chris Campoli, while Campoli's usual ice-mate, Radek Martinek, teamed up with Tomi Pettinen.
Up front, the difference was obvious, as the addition of Kevin Colley and Sean Bergenheim resulted in plenty of physical play, leading the Islanders to a lead in hits. The changes didn't result in any scoring though, as the offense didn't get to test Vokoun nearly as often as the Predators put shots on Wade Dubielewicz.
The ninth and final Nashville
shot of the period, a one-timer by Sullivan off a feed by Paul Kariya broke the scoring drought in the game, as it beat Dubielewicz high to the right side, sending Nashville
to the locker room up 1-0.
Some good hustle by Kvasha got the Islanders back into the game early in the second period, as he drove down the boards, despite being knocked off balance. Regaining momentum, Kvasha led his line into the Predators' zone on a 3-on-1 and
out-waited defenseman Dan Hamhuis in order to put a pass into the Nashville
crease. An onrushing Bates got his stick on the puck and chipped it over Nashville
goaltender Tomas Vokoun to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Anyone looking for the special-teams play that has been a hallmark of this season has to be disappointed after two periods, as the two teams have combined for three penalties, all called against the Islanders, including two against Alexei Yashin for putting the puck over the glass. Some solid saves by Dubielewicz and good kills kept the Nashville
powerplay from converting on their chances.
The first half of the third period was mostly unremarkable, as neither team could make anything happen, in large part due to Dubielewicz' impressive 33-save performance. Halfway into the third, though, the Islanders finally got a pair of chances on the powerplay, but couldn't convert on a handful of good chances.
Instead, with just over three minutes left in the game, Sullivan found the back of the net again, stepping out to the side of Dubielewicz' net and backhanding a shot over the netminder. The shot fooled Dubielewicz, as Sullivan wasn't facing him when he took the unusual shot.
OFF THE ICE:
Three Stars of the Night: 1. Steve Sullivan, 2. Wade Dubielewicz, 3. Tomas Vokoun... For the Islanders, Rick DiPietro
(knee), Garth Snow (knee), Jason Blake (ribs) Petteri Nokelainen (knee), Brad Lukowich (ribs), and Eric Godard (suspension) were scratched, while the Predators sat David Legwand (knee), Scott Nichol (foot) and Jordin Tootoo (back)... Mark Parrish's assist in the second period was his 200th as an Islander... No player on the ice Tuesday has played for both teams... The Islanders have a 4-6 record against the Predators all-time, and have lost the past three games in the series, all in Nashville
(45) Arron Asham-(79) Alexei Yashin-(81) Miroslav Satan
(12) Oleg Kvasha-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(16) Mike York-(7) Trent Hunter
(11) Mattias Weinhandl-(62) Kevin Colley-(18) Jeff Hamilton
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(3) Brent Sopel
(24) Radek Martinek-(8) Tomi Pettinen
(14) Chris Campoli-(6) Bruno Gervais
(34) Wade Dubielewicz
(60) Frederic Cloutier
(9) Paul Kariya-(38) Vernon Fiddler-(10) Martin Erat
(17) Scott Hartnell-(22) Greg Johnson-(18) Adam Hall
(24) Scott Walker-(94) Yanic Perrault-(26) Steve Sullivan
(16) Darcy Hordichuk-(25) Jerred Smithson-(14) Jeremy Stevenson
(2) Dan Hamhuis-(44) Kimmo Timonen
(4) Mark Eaton-(55) Danny Markov
(3) Marek Zidlicky-(20) Ryan Suter
(29) Tomas Vokoun
(30) Chris Mason