ISLES RALLY, LOSE IN SHOOTOUT
By Kerry Gwydir
The Devils held a two-goal with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation, but goals by Miro Satan and Mark Parrish in a span of 3:06 tied the game and sent it into overtime. Splendid goaltending by Rick DiPietro in the extra session allowed the game to go to a shootout, but the Devils won, 3-2, at Continental Airlines Arena on Saturday afternoon on a Zach Parise goal.
In the first 20 minutes of Saturday's matinee, the Devils controlled much of the territorial portion of the matchup. However, the Isles' defense managed to keep most of the New Jersey scoring threats to the perimeter and away from Rick DiPietro. When the Devils did manage to generate prime scoring threats, the team's defensive zone coverage managed to protect the net with efficiency by blocking several in-tight chances.
The Isles gave the Devils the first powerplay with seven minutes to go after Brad Lukowich shanked a pass in center ice to Chris Campoli. That enabled New Jersey's Zach Parise to dash in alone on DiPietro, only to be harassed from behind by Campoli for the infraction.
New Jersey spent most of the powerplay in the Isles' zone, and it took three superb saves by the Islanders' goaltender to keep the game scoreless at that point. DiPietro robbed Patrik Elias twice, once on a breakaway and then on another in-close try. He also made a quality pad stop on a deflection in front by US Olympian Brian Gionta.
However, another giveaway in the neutral zone wound up in the Islander net courtesy of Sergei Brylin as the penalty expired. Oleg Kvasha's turnover in center ice allowed Parise to streak in on a 2-on-1 with just Lukowich back. With one quick pass, the unchecked Brylin slapped the feed into the Islanders' twine.
Unlike the first period, the Isles pushed most of the play in the second period. However, a pair of goal posts and several quality stops by Martin Brodeur frustrated Brad Shaw's team.
The Isle's best scoring chance through the first 15 minutes of the game came off the stick of Jason Blake, who picked off a New Jersey clearing pass at the Devil's blueline and generated a scoring chance by flicking the disc at the net. A deflection off a New Jersey stick allowed the puck to beat Martin Brodeur, but hit the right pipe.
The iron continued to help the New Jersey goaltender out two minutes later with the Isles on the powerplay. Miro Satan rifled a one-timer from the top of the slot that also beat the Devil's keeper, but rang off the cross-bar.
Elias gave the Devils some breathing room at the 6:11 mark of the third when he deflected home Brian Rafalski's point shot. With John Erskine in the box for elbowing Gionta, Elias was left unchecked in front of DiPietro to tally his fourth of the season.
The Isles climbed within one with 9:28 to go in regulation off a pretty individual effort by Satan, his 18th of the season. The play originated with a Lukowich pass up the ice to Radek Martinek, who chipped the puck to Mike York at the New Jersey blueline. The play then developed into a 2-on-1 down low with Hunter in tow and just Rafalski back. Satan patiently held the puck to the last second to get Brodeur to fall to the ice and then tuck the disc inside the post.
In what turned out to be a critical point of the contest, penalties to Rafalski and Colin White gave the Isles a 5-on-3 for 1:23 with 7:01 left to go in the game. And it was Mark Parrish, who'd been busy all day in front of Brodeur, tying the game with 6:22 to go off a pretty feed from Alexei Yashin. The play originated with a slapper by Satan that missed the net. But the Islander captain was quick to read the play, get the loose puck and find Parrish unchecked in front.
DiPietro was tested three times in the first 80 seconds of the overtime period, twice off Elia's stick. First, the New Jersey forward rifled a shot from 10 feet out that hit DiPietro in the mask. Elias then followed up is rebound and pounced on the chance to swipe another shot on net that DiPietro managed to kick aside.
The Islander keeper made another acrobatic stop on the next shift off what appeared to be a sure goal by Jamie Langenbrunner. After providing a big rebound in front off a Gionta chance, Langenbrunner whacked the second opportunity on net that forced DiPietro to make a sliding stack stop.
In the shootout, the Isles used Satan (successful), Jason Blake (stopped), Yashin (stopped), Shawn Bates (stopped) and Trent Hunter (unsuccessful) while New Jersey countered with Viktor Kozlov (stopped), Elias (successful), Gionta (stopped), Brylin (unsuccessful) and Parise (successful).
On the lineup front, Shaw listed Tomi Pettinen and Jeff Hamilton as healthy scratches while Bruno Gervais was reassigned to AHL Bridgeport.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers beat the Lowell Lock Monsters, 2-1, on the road Friday. With the win, the Sound Tigers are now 6-0 in the season series. Sean Bergenheim was the first star of the game while Rob Collins was the third. Goaltender Cody Rudkowsky finished with 29 saves for the Sound Tigers. The Sound Tigers will visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and again this Wednesday, January 25th at 7:05 p.m.
(55) Jason Blake-(79) Alexei Yashin-(45) Arron Asham
(81) Miroslav Satan-(16) Mike York-(7) Trent Hunter
(12) Oleg Kvasha-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(11) Mattias Weinhandl-(62) Kevin Colley-(49) Eric Godard
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(3) Brent Sopel
(14) Chris Campoli-(25) Brad Lukowich
(44) John Erskine-(24) Radek Martinek
(39) Rick DiPietro
(34) Wade Dubielewicz
(26) Patrik Elias-(23) Scott Gomez-(14) Brian Gionta
(20) Jay Pandolfo-(11) John Madden-(15) Jamie Langenbrunner
(9) Zach Parise-(18) Sergei Brylin-(29) Grant Marshall
(10) Erik Rasmussen-(22) Viktor Kozlov-(25) Cam Janssen
(24) Richard Matvichuk-(28) Brian Rafalski
(5) Colin White-(7) Paul Martin
(2) David Hale-(6) Tommy Albelin
(30) Martin Brodeur
(40) Scott Clemmensen