SIN BIN SATURDAY
The powerplay reigned supreme on Long Island Saturday night, as five of the eight regulation goals came with the man-advantage. One that didn't was Rob Nilsson's shootout tally, which won the game for the Islanders.
New York had a number of chances to take an early lead in the first period, but Trent Hunter's deflection hit a post, Wyatt Smith couldn't connect on a 2-on-1 and Miro Satan found nothing but pipe on a breakaway. Instead, the Penguins broke the ice, pikcing up the first goal of the night on the powerplay. Skating along the blueline, Sergei Gonchar took his time, set up a few screens and whipped a wrister through Rick DiPietro's legs for a 1-0 lead.
Handed another man-up opportunity though, the locals tied things up. On an attempted clear, Bruno Gervais picked off the puck and fed Satan along the boards. Creeping down low, he fired a wrist shot on net that Jason Blake got his stick on to redirect through Penguins netminder Sebastien Caron's pads.
Playing with the remaining time on Colby Armstrong's first-period tripping penalty, the Islanders got the scoring started early. Thirty seconds into the stanza, Chris Campoli took a short pass from Radek Martinek and put a wrister from the point in on net. Once again, Blake was in position to knock the puck down and through Caron's legs. Less than a minute later, a blocked shot in the Isles' zone ended up on Shawn Bates' stick, setting up a long-range pass to Satan. Cruising in on goal, Satan flicked a wrister into the net, over Caron's glove-hand.
The Penguins' pulled within a goal about halfway through the period, when John LeClair flew into the Islanders' zone on the powerplay and unleashed a rocket from the boards that beat DiPietro high to his glove-side.
The Isles regained their two-goal advantage soon after though, as Jeremy Colliton picked up his first NHL goal. Following a big collision behind DiPietro's net between Gervais and Colby Armstrong, the Islanders pushed the puck up ice, with Wyatt Smith carrying it into Pittsburgh's end of the rink. A crisp pass to Sean Bergenheim was quickly slid across to Colliton, who tucked it behind Caron.
With 13 seconds left in the second period, the Pens once again cut the Isles' lead to a goal, and once again it was LeClair picking up the point. Josef Melichar threw the puck on goal from along the boards, and LeClair got his stick on it to tip it past DiPietro.
The third period was scoreless until the powerplay took over once again, allowing the Penguins to tie the game in the final two minutes of regulation. A scramble in the Islanders' end of the ice saw Pittsburgh fire at will at DiPietro, until Andy Hilbert finally put home a rebound in the crease.
A scoreless overtime period meant the two teams were headed to yet another shootout. Michel Ouellet went first for Pittsburgh, deking right and tucking the puck through DiPietro's pads. Satan followed, but was stoned trying to go to Caron's stick-side. Sidney Crosby, Hunter and Hilbert were all stopped, before Shawn Bates took the ice. Coming in fast, he deposited the puck through the wickets to push the shootout to sudden death. Ryan Whitney and Alexei Yashin both scored in the next round, but Ryan Malone was stopped with a glove in close. Then Rob Nilsson took his turn. Skating wide to the right, Nilsson beared down and wristed a hard shot into the lower left corner of the net to seal the win.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Rob Nilsson, 2. Jason Blake, 3. Miro Satan ... The Islanders' 8th-round pick in 2000, Ryan Caldwell, made his NHL debut tonight... Howie Rose made it a two-fer tonight, taking his spot behind the mike at the Coliseum, after calling the Mets game this afternoon... The Penguins scratched Matt Murley (shoulder), Lyle Odelein (deadline), Ryan VandenBussche (neck), and Jocelyn Thibault (hip), while the Islanders sat Allan Rourke (groin), Mike York (toe), Petteri Nokelainen (knee), Arron Asham (ankle), Joel Bouchard (knee), Eric Godard (concussion) and Alexei Zhitnik (ankle)... After the seventh game of an eight-game season series, the Islanders lead 4-3, having won twice in Pittsburgh and twice at home.
(55) Jason Blake-(79) Alexei Yashin-(21) Rob Nilsson
(7) Trent Hunter-(17) Shawn Bates-(81) Miro Satan
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(28) Wyatt Smith-(27) Jeremy Colliton
(15) Jeff Tambellini-(40) Matt Koalska-(48) Steve Regier
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(43) Ryan Caldwell-(6) Bruno Gervais
(3) Denis Grebeshkov-(44) John Erskine
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(20) Colby Armstrong-(87) Sidney Crosby-(9) Andy Hilbert
(10) John LeClair-(12) Ryan Malone-(71) Konstantin Koltsov
(43) Tomas Surovy-(7) Michel Ouellet-(23) Eric Boguniecki
(36) Andre Roy-(15) Niklas Nordgren-(28) Jani Rita
(19) Ryan Whitney-(44) Brooks Orpik
(5) Rob Scuderi-(55) Sergei Gonchar
(2) Josef Melichar-(33) Eric Cairns
(31) Sebastien Caron
(29) Marc-Andre Fleury