ISLANDERS 5, CHICAGO 2
By Jason Lockhart
It was a perfect end to the Islanders' seven-game homestand as they raised their record to 5-4-2 after a 5-2 win over Chicago behind a three-point effort from Mike Sillinger.
On their third power play of the period, the Islanders finally broke through on Brian Boucher with 1:41 remaining in the first. Radek Martinek slid the puck across to Miroslav Satan who one-timed it from the point. The initial shot was stopped by Boucher, but Mike York buried the rebound for his third of the season.
Just seconds later, Rick DiPietro came up big off an Islanders turnover. Patrick Sharp passed it over Karl Stewart, who couldn't get it past a sprawling DiPietro to keep it 1-0 Islanders to end the period.
After intercepting Brent Seabrook's centering pass in the defensive zone it was off to the races for Viktor Kozlov, who deked to the forehand before sliding it past Boucher on the backhand for his third goal of the season and a 2-0 Islanders lead with 8:20 left in the second frame.
With 5:22 left in the second period the Islanders made it 3-0 on the power play. Tom Poti and Yashin played catch at the point before Yashin blasted a slaphot inside the far post for his fifth goal of the season. Jason Blake picked up the secondary assist.
The Blackhawks cut the lead to 3-1 after Bryan Smolinski won the draw back to Adrian Aucoin, who passed it over to Jassen Cullimore for a shot from the right point that deflected off Alexei Zhitnik in front past DiPietro with 4:14 remaining in the second period.
Denis Arkhipov made it 3-2 with a wrister past DiPietro 1:22 into the third period for his first goal of the season.
Hard work paid off for the Sillinger-Richard Park-Shawn Bates line. Park dished it in front to Sillinger who just tapped the puck past Boucher for a 4-2 lead with only 2:30 left in the tilt.
With less than 53 seconds remaining in the game, Jason Blake salted the game with his team-leading sixth goal on a one-timer on a perfect feed from Mike Sillinger.
Ted Nolan: "We're starting to get a good feeling on this team. There was no panic on the bench when Chicago made it 3-2. We made sure to play smart and hard the rest of the game."
Rick DiPietro: "It's not about the number of shots, but the quality of the shots. Our defense did a good job again of clearing the rebounds from in front and letting me see the puck."
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Mike Sillinger: One goal and two assists
2. Viktor Kozlov: Breakaway goal
3. Alexei Yashin: The game-winner
4. Jason Blake: Scored his 100th goal of his career
5. Jassen Cullimore: Even-strength goal
Fans of the Game:
Krystyn from Levittown sported the popular Rainbow Brite costume for Halloween. As a fan since she was born, Krystyn most enjoys watching whenever the Islanders beat the Rangers at the Nassau Coliseum and lists Arron Asham as her favorite player. "What's not to like about the Islanders?" said Krystyn. "They're the team of the Island."
Sherrie from Melville, meanwhile became an Islanders fan when she was about five because of her uncle. She lists Rick DiPietro as her favorite player and chose to dress up as an angel because she thinks it's really "sweet" to be one on Halloween.
Slapshots: Joel Bouchard skated with the team this morning during practice for the first time since injuring his hamstringÂ¦Jason Blake scored his 100th career goalÂ¦The Islanders end their seven-game homestand earning ten of a possible 14 points.
Game Operations: It was Halloween tonight at the Coliseum and what better way to celebrate with Sparky and the Ice Girls dressing up as pirates. During the first period intermission, Superman, the villain from the movie Å“ScreamÂ? and a zombie went head-to-head in a no-holds-bar motorized scooter race, with the Å“ScreamÂ? character victorious. At the end of the second period, all kids 12 and under were invited to the ice to participate in a costume walk. Some of the costumes included princesses, ninjas, Darth Vader, Robin, and a witch.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
6 Sean Hill - 77 Alexei Zhitnik
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
8 Bruno Gervais - 3 Tom Poti
17 Shawn Bates - 18 Mike Sillinger - 10 Richard Park
55 Jason Blake - 79 Alexei Yashin - 25 Viktor Kozlov
7 Trent Hunter - 16 Mike York - 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon - 11 Andy Hilbert - 45 Arron Asham
31 Brian Boucher
30 Sebastien Caron
5 Jassen Cullimore - 33 Adrian Aucoin
6 Lasse Kukkonen - 7 Brent Seabrook
2 Duncan Keith - 23 Jim Vandermeer
15 Tuomo Ruutu - 11 Bryan Smolinski - 16 Radim Vrbata
57 Karl Stewart - 10 Patrick Sharp - 22 Martin Lapointe
14 Rene Bourque - 19 Denis Arkhipov - 51 Jeff Hamilton
17 Mikael Holmqvist - 27 Craig MacDonald - 28 Michael Blunden