ISLANDERS 4, COLUMBUS 0
Goals by four different players and superb goaltending from Rick DiPietro gave the Islanders a 4-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. DiPietro stopped 26 shutouts for his second consecutive home shutout.
"We knew this was an important game, not just to climb in the standings, but to go into the Christmas break on a positive note," said Jason Blake. "It was a great team win and Ricky played outstanding hockey."
One of the stars tonight was the Islanders penalty killing unit that stopped all nine Columbus opportunities. Coach Ted Nolan saw a major improvement from last night's game.
"We made some corrections on our penalty killing tonight," said Nolan. "Assistant coach Dan Lacroix talked to them before the game. They attacked better and were more aggressive when Columbus carried the puck in."
Blake started off the scoring early by notching his 20th goal of the season. Just 2:02 into the game, the Alexei Yashin-Blake connection teamed up. Yashin controlled the puck on a 3-on-1 and fed Blake, who wristed one home past netminder Fredrik Norrena.
"I was going to give the puck back to Yash," said Blake. "But I saw the goalie look the other way, so I shot it. Once the defender went down, I knew if I got the shot up there would be a good chance of it going in. It hit the crossbar and went in."
Some gritty forechecking paid off for Andy Hilbert, Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter. Hilbert found Hunter in the slot, who chipped it home 6:33 into the second period.
Sillinger put the Isles up by 3-0 on the power play, by scoring off a rebound with 1:47 gone by in the third period.
It was 4-0 when Viktor Kozlov slipped one home, 9:01 into the third period. The assists went to Miroslav Satan and Radek Martinek.
Richard Park showed some guts in the final minute of play, taking on Alexander Svitov. It was Park's first fight of the season.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Rick DiPietro: Stopped 26 shots for his third shutout of the season
2. Radek Martinek: Two assists and responsible defensively
3. Andy Hilbert: His gritty play led to a goal
4. Brendan Witt: Played hard-nosed hockey and was a +3
5. Alexei Yashin: Two assists
Stat of the Game: Arron Asham had five hits in his return.
Fans of the Game: Margaret attends Brooklyn law school and Emily goes to a culinary arts school. They were both very excited to come to the game after hearing about the student discount. Margaret, who lives in Brooklyn, listed her favorite Islanders as Yashin and Emily, who's from Yonkers said Blake was hers. They also attended the game with a number of friends and family.
Slapshots: This is Jason Blake's fourth 20-goal season...The Islanders are now 6-0-0 in the second games on back-to-back nights...Alexei Yashin extended his point streak to nine games...Eric Boguniecki, who was called up because of an emergency assignment, was sent to Bridgeport earlier today
The Havoc Zone: Students of all ages lined up some for hours to purchase tickets at the low cost of $19. Those fans who got their early enough were given vouchers to sit in the two Havoc Zones located behind each goal. The weather was perfect for the event because some fans were out waiting as early as 2 pm for the tickets that went on sale at 5:30 pm. "We loved being in this section," said Mike Zwicker, who attends SUNY Oneonta. "It was absolutely crazy tonight. The game was so much fun to watch from here."
Game Operations: The Islanders held a silent auction at tonight's game to auction off one-of-a-kind bottles of wine made by the Islanders. In the fall, the Islanders traveled to Laurel Lake Vineyards to make their own wine. Dozens of fans huddled around the auction table at the start of the third period, when the winners were announced...The Islanders game ops crew debuted the Emergency Abulance Services Karaoke Roulette. One lucky fan was given the chance to sing a Christmas song for two tickets and a signed Rick DiPietro souvenir.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
14 Chris Campoli - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
12 Chris Simon - 79 Alexei Yashin - 55 Jason Blake
25 Viktor Kozlov - 27 Randy Robitaille - 81 Miroslav Satan
45 Arron Asham - 17 Shawn Bates - 10 Richard Park
30 Fredrik Norrena
35 Ty Conklin
6 Ron Hainsey - 10 Duvie Westcott
44 Aaron Johnson - 2 Anders Eriksson
97 Rostislav Klesla - 52 Adam Foote
61 Rick Nash - 91 Sergei Fedorov - 9 David Vyborny
16 Alexander Svitov - 33 Fredrik Modin - 13 Nikolai Zherdev
45 Jody Shelley - 49 Dan Fritsche - 77 Anson Carter
25 Jason Chimera - 27 Manny Malhotra - 17 Gilbert Brule