A NIGHT OF FIRSTS LEAD TO WIN
By Jason Lockhart
It was a successful return to the Nassau Coliseum as the Islanders took down the Bruins 4-1 in front of an excited home crowd. Jason Blake scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist. Mike Sillinger and Tom Poti tallied their first goals as Islanders, while Sean Hill also notched his first points as an Islander, picking up two assists.
Glen Murray got the first goal of the game, on the power play, with his second of the season. Marc Savard fed it in front to Murray who ripped a shot over Dunham's glove for a 1-0 Bruins lead with 4:51 left in the period.
Mike Dunham was strong all period keeping the Islanders within one by stopping 16 of 17 shots in the first frame and 31 shots for his second consecutive win.
In the second period, Dunham was still strong in goal, but the Islanders offense came alive to get the Coliseum crowd rocking.
Sillinger got his first goal as an Islander and the first Islanders goal at the Coliseum of the 2006-07 season. Miroslav Satan flipped a perfect backhand pass to Sillinger who slipped a shot between the arm and body of goaltender Hannu Toivonen for a 1-1 game at 9:37 of the second period. Sean Hill picked up his first point as an Islander after recording the secondary assist.
With 6:08 left in the second period, Blake gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead on his first of the season. After receiving a pass from Hill while streaking down the left wing side, Blake sent a scorching slap shot to the far side past Toivonen.
Blake got his second of the game while on the power play on a second chance effort just 46 seconds into the third period. Alexei Yashin broke through a crowd in the slot and dished a pass off to Blake camped out down low. Blake tried one attempt, but was first denied by Toivonen's left pad. Blake's second jam attempt slipped through for a 3-1 Islanders lead.
Poti picked up his first goal as an Islander on the power play. Blake fed a perfect cross-ice feed to Poti who re-directed the puck through Toivonen's five-hole to make it a 4-1 Islanders lead at 2:36 of the third period.
The Islanders out shot the Bruins 39-32 and improve to 2-3-0 on the season.
Ted Nolan: "Jason Blake is one of those explosive players. He has to get himself into position to score and tonight he did that. I made a change tonight and put him with Yash and Kozlov who were going well and got him going. So hopefully he starts putting a lot more pucks in the net for us."
Tom Poti: "You don't critique the wins. It looks like we're moving in the right direction and gaining momentum. It's nice to get the first goal out of the way. It was a great pass from Blakey and I basically just tapped it in. It's always good to have the crowd in your corner. They were out in full force tonight and we appreciate that. It helps give us energy."
Jason Blake: "We were just making smart plays out there, especially with the couple of goal lead. Dunham played another heck of a hockey game. It was great coming back home. It's always great coming back to Long Island; great fans, great building and it was good to get this first win at home."
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Jason Blake: Two goals and one assist in energized performance.
2. Mike Dunham: Stellar in goal in the first to keep the game close and ended with 31 saves.
3. Sean Hill: Two assists, a +2 and solid on defense.
4. Tom Poti: Tallied first goal as Islander on the power play.
5. Miroslav Satan: Set-up two goals.
Stat of the Game: Trent Hunter had ten hits.
Fan(s) of the Game: Eleven year old Tyler Schmitt of North Babylon first became an Islanders fan because of his dad, Keith. Tyler doesn't remember his first game, but his dad is quick to remind him that Ted Donato was on the team because he flipped the puck over the glass to his son. "They're a good team," said Tyler about the Islanders. "I like the players because they have heart. My favorite player is Rick DiPietro." As season subscribers, Tyler and Keith attended the morning skate and got a chance to meet Ted Nolan after the practice.
Game Operations: There is no better way than starting off the home season with a bang, and that's what the game ops crew did tonight for the game's introduction. The highlight of the intro was the new simulcast projection of the video on both the new clearer Daktronics Video Board and the ice surface. Yes, the ice! Tonight fans watched the larger than life, action-packed video introduction created in conjunction with the game ops department, Islanders TV and Stadium Sports Animation and projected using equipment manufactured by Sports Display Systems. The introduction would not have been complete without Sparky repelling from the rafters and the Ice Girls debuting their flashy new outfits.
Slapshots: Yolanda Vega of the NY Lottery introduced Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy, who together dropped the ceremonial first puck Wade Dubielewicz was recalled from Bridgeport today on an emergency basis Rick DiPietro (groin), Joel Bouchard (hamstring) and Chris Campoli (groin) were tonight's scratches Tonight's attendance was 14,734.
1 Mike Dunham
34 Wade Dubielewicz
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
77 Alexei Zhitnik - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
55 Jason Blake - 79 Alexei Yashin - 25 Viktor Kozlov
7 Trent Hunter - 18 Mike Sillinger - 81 Miroslav Satan
11 Andy Hilbert - 17 Shawn Bates - 10 Richard Park
12 Chris Simon - 16 Mike York - 45 Arron Asham
30 Tim Thomas
54 Hannu Toivonen
23 Paul Mara - 33 Zdeno Chara
41 Andrew Alberts 6 Brad Stuart
29 Nathan Dempsey - 25 Jason York
16 Marco Sturm - 71 Marc Savard - 27 Glen Murray
81 Phil Kessel - 37 Patrice Bergeron - 26 Brad Boyes
11 P.J. Axelsson - 20 Wayne Primeau - 22 Shean Donovan
32 Jeff Hoggan - 18 Mark Mowers - 43 Yan Stastny