Rick DiPietro stopped all three Toronto attempts in the shootout, as goals by Rob Nilsson and Miro Satan led the Islanders to a 2-1 win Friday at the Coliseum.
The win is the first for the new-look Islanders, including newly-acquired left wing Jeff Tambellini and defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, who made their Islanders debuts.
When it came to chances on goal in the first period, the Islanders had a firm lead, including a nifty passing play by Tambellini and Rob Nilsson that was sent high and wide of the net by Alexei Yashin. Both teams had their chances on the powerplay, with the Islanders getting whistled five times in the period, setting up a lengthy 5-on-3 chance for the Maple Leafs in the final five minutes. A strong effort on the kill by the home team kept the score 0-0.
After killing off four penalties in the first period, the fifth finally hurt the Islanders, as they started the second period shorthanded. Taking a blueline pass from Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe fired a hard one-timer that beat Rick DiPietro stick-side into the upper corner of the net.
Thanks to penalties to Jason Allison and McCabe, the Islanders got a chance on the 5-on-3, but only when the powerplay expired were the Islanders able to even the score. A quick pass by Shawn Bates from behind the goal line set up a one-timer by Miro Satan, but it was blocked and bounced to a waiting Nilsson, who roofed it over Ed Belfour for his third goal of the season.
Though both teams had their chance on the powerplay in the third period, neither team was able to break the deadlock, sending the game into overtime. An extra five minutes settled nothing, which meant the Islanders would take part in their 11th shootout of the season, riding a four-shootout winning streak. Leafs captain Mats Sundin had the first chance, but was stopped with a leg save by DiPietro. As has become tradition on Long Island, Satan was up next for New York, and slid a slick wrister through Belfour for a 1-0 lead.
Alexei Ponikarovsky tried to go wide on DiPietro, but a pair of stacked pads kept the Leafs 0-2. Trent Hunter tried the save move on Belfour, but found only the goalie's catching glove. That set the stage for DiPietro, who faced down Darcy Tucker. Coming in hard, Tucker tried to go five-hole, but the puck was stopped just shy of the goal-line, giving the Islanders the win.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Rick DiPietro, 2. Miro Satan, 3. Rob Nilsson... For the Islanders, Petteri Nokelainen (knee) was scratched, while the Leafs sat Tie Domi (healthy), Carlo Colaiacovo (concussion), Eric Lindros (wrist) and Andy Wozniewski (shoulder)... Shawn Bates needs one assists to hit 100 as an Islander... Bryan McCabe is the sole Leaf to have worn the Blue and Orange... All-time, the Islanders hold a 54-48-7-1 edge over Toronto... After the second game of a four-game season series, the Isles and Leafs are tied 1-1, with each team winning at home.
--additional reporting by Brian Bohl
Rick DiPietro on the importance of starting a winning streak late in the year:
"It's just one game, but it was an important game. We're fighting for that eighth spot. We just have to continue to play the way we know how and play desperate."
On the team's mindset the day after the trade deadline:
"Guys know this is part of the business. Our job is to win hockey games, and that's all we are here to do. We're still trying to get to know each other. You just need to regroup and focus."
On the strategy of overtime and shootouts:
"We definitely like to win the game as soon as possible. The last couple of games, its nice to know you have Miro and Huntie at the top of the lineup to get you an early lead. We're happy with these two points, but the win won't mean much if we go into Boston and don't play the same way."
Miroslav Satan on his shootout prowess:
"There's pressure for every player participating in a shootout. I think the best way to succeed is to go out and have fun with it. So far, I've had a pretty good outcome with it."
On the impact the team's new young players will have:
"It's a very good feeling. We got a little younger and got new blood. There's a different chemistry. (After) the first couple of games, the confidence level will go higher, and hopefully we'll continue to see results."
(15) Jeff Tambellini-(79) Alexei Yashin-(21) Rob Nilsson
(7) Trent Hunter-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(55) Jason Blake-(17) Shawn Bates-(45) Arron Asham
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(28) Wyatt Smith-(49) Eric Godard
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(24) Radek Martinek
(14) Chris Campoli-(44) John Erskine
(4) Joel Bouchard-(24) Denis Grebeshkov
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(23) Alexei Ponikarovsky-(80) Nik Antropov-(13) Mats Sundin
(41) Jason Allison-(10) Alex Steen-(16) Darcy Tucker
(18) Chad Kilger-(42) Kyle Wellwood-(92) Jeff O'Neill
(46) Ben Ondrus-(14) Matt Stajan-(39) Clarke Wilm
(15) Tomas Kaberle-(24) Bryan McCabe
(22) Luke Richardson-(8) Aki Berg
(25) Alexander Khavanov-(3) Wade Belak
(20) Ed Belfour
(32) Mikael Tellqvist