ISLANDERS 3, PITTSBURGH 1
By Jason Lockhart
Friday afternoon, the Islanders (11-7-3) continued their string of strong play in front of 15,625 raucous fans at the Nassau Coliseum. Rick DiPietro stopped 35 shots and Miroslav Satan tallied two points to lead the Islanders over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. The win gives the Islanders two more points than the Penguins.
DiPietro kept the game knotted at zero with a spectacular save on Erik Christensen in the first period. DiPietro sprawled across to stop Christensen's shot ticketed for the back of the net.
The Islanders struck first at 2:12 of the second period while playing 4-on-4. Satan intercepted Jocelyn Thibault's clearing attempt and fed it in front to Alexei Yashin for a one-timer past Thibault. The goal was Yashin's tenth of the season.
Satan was at it again 4-on-4. Brendan Witt threw it on net and Satan re-directed it home for his second point of the game and a 2-0 Islanders lead at 5:24 of the third period.
Jason Blake dug the puck out of the corner and fed Sean Hill for his first goal of the season and a 3-0 game with 8:28 gone by in the third period.
DiPietro lost his shutout bid when Evgeni Malkin cut the lead to 3-1 with 7:14 left in the third period.
The Islanders are back in action tomorrow at the Coliseum, against the Washington Capitals at 7 pm. Bob Bourne will be inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame prior to the drop of the puck. The ceremony begins at 6:45 pm.
Ted Nolan: "We're playing with confidence. Whether we're up one goal or down, there's no panic on the bench. We never try to sit back with any lead. We try to go straight ahead every shift.
Miro has played really smart hockey all season long. He's made good decisions with the puck the last few games and you can see that with his three goals in the past four games. He's starting to come around in that respect."
Miroslav Satan: "We hope the fans can see that we're working hard and fighting for every puck. Hopefully, if we keep up our success we can draw even more fans to the games."
Alexei Yashin: "On my goal, we did a good job getting the puck deep. Miro did a great job forechecking and getting the puck loose. I had a chance to get open and Miro got it to me. I just tried to put it past the goalie, and it went in.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Miroslav Satan: Game-winning goal and an assist
2. Rick DiPietro: Earned eight win of the season, stopping 35 of 36 shots.
3. Sean Hill: Tallied first goal of the season
4. Alexei Yashin: Got the Islanders started with his tenth of the season
5. Richard Park: Excellent penalty killing
Stat of the Game: Brendan Witt led the team with six hits.
Fans of the Game: Colleen Kelly from Lindenhurst, who has been an Islanders fan for 14 years, was sporting a Trent Hunter jersey for today's game. She brought her son, Shane, whose favorite player is Rick DiPietro. "We don't get to go to too many games," said Colleen, "because the night games are past Shane's bed time. We usually watch the games on TV, so it was nice to be able to come out to an afternoon game.
Slapshots: Miroslav Satan recorded his 300th career NHL assist today...Jason Blake and Alexei Yashin are on four-game point-scoring streaks...Jocelyn Thibault hasn't won a game since November 10, 2005 vs. Montreal...The Penguins pulled their goalie for an extra-attacker with 3:05 remaining in the third period.
Game Operations: It was a special day for two lucky Long Islanders, Jack Massaro of Nesconset and Richard Giordonella from Cedarhurst. Massaro, a widowed father of three has been caring for his children on his own since his wife recently passed away in auto accident. Giordonella, meanwhile, plans to pay off his mortgage with his newfound fortune. Each person was presented with a $1,000,000 check from NY Lottery Director Bob McLaughlin and Islanders great Mike Bossy prior to the start of the game. "Each winner has a unique story that always has a twist that shows why the NY Lottery helps others," said McLaughlin. "We have over 100 millionaires in 2006, a new record. The Islanders have been a terrific partner. We've had so much cooperation from them."
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
77 Alexei Zhitnik - 6 Sean Hill
12 Chris Simon - 79 Alexei Yashin - 55 Jason Blake
7 Trent Hunter - 16 Mike York - 81 Miroslav Satan
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 25 Viktor Kozlov
45 Arron Asham - 17 Shawn Bates - 10 Richard Park
41 Jocelyn Thibault
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
55 Sergei Gonchar - 2 Josef Melichar
19 Ryan Whitney - 44 Brooks Orpik
5 Rob Scuderi - 4 Noah Welch
8 Mark Recchi - 71 Evgeni Malkin- 20 Colby Armstrong
10 John LeClair- 11 Jordan Staal -22 Chris Thorburn
28 Nils Ekman- 16 Erik Christensen - 25 Maxime Talbot
26 Ronald Petrovicky - 18 Dominic Moore - 36 Andre Roy