ISLANDERS 3, TORONTO 2, SO
By Jason Lockhart
After stopping 20 shots in the third period and overtime, Rick DiPietro led the Islanders to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, Tuesday night. Rookie Frans Nielsen and Viktor Kozlov capitalized in the shootout, while DiPietro made 41 saves in the game, including two in the shootout to secure the win.
The Islanders would have never gone to overtime had DiPietro not been brilliant in the third period, where the Islanders were out-shot 16-1. His biggest tests came in the opening six minutes. First he stoned Bates Battaglia with the right pad on a breakaway. Less than two minutes later, Tomas Kaberle had a wide open net, but his slapshot was grabbed by DiPietro's glove as he sprawled to his right.
The overtime win puts the Islanders and Leafs in a tie for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Montreal, who is in the eighth spot.
Pavel Kubina put the Maple Leafs up 1-0 on the power play with a slapshot from the point, 6:14 into the first period.
Trent Hunter roofed a wrist shot past Andrew Raycroft to tie the score for his 15th goal of the season, 4:49 into the second period. Mike Sillinger and Andy Hilbert assisted on the play.
Just 27 seconds later the Islanders went ahead 2-1 when Miroslav Satan backhanded a goal past Raycroft. Jeff Tambellini's shot from the slot was initially stopped, but Satan chipped home the rebound for his 20th of the season. Kozlov also recorded an assist.
Battaglia tied the score at two by lifting a backhand over DiPietro at 9:00 of the second period.
After DiPietro kept the Islanders in the game in the third period and an exciting, but scoreless overtime, the game went into a shootout.
In the extra session, Danish-born Nielsen scored to open the shootout, but Mats Sundin countered for the Leafs in the second round, before Kozlov clinched it with a backhand over Raycroft.
The Islanders next play the Boston Bruins at the Nassau Coliseum on Thursday evening.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Rick DiPietro: Single-handedly sent the game into overtime
2. Viktor Kozlov: The game-winning goal in the SO and an assist
3. Frans Nielsen: Despite not counting on the scoresheet, Nielsen scored his first goal as an Islander
4. Chris Campoli: A strong defensive game in front of his hometown
5. Bates Battaglia: Scored the tying goal that sent the game into overtime
Stat of the Game: This was the first Islanders win in Toronto since March 28, 2002.
Slapshots: Miroslav Satan became the third Islander (Jason Blake & Viktor Kozlov) to notch 20 goals this season...Chris Campoli was born in nearby North York, Ontario, less than ten miles from Toronto...Sean Hill turns 37 tomorrow...This was the Islanders' third shootout in five games....Alexei Yashin (knee), Shawn Bates (groin) and Radek Martinek (leg) were tonight's scratches.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - 44 Freddy Meyer
14 Chris Campoli - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
15 Jeff Tambellini - 25 Viktor Kozlov - 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon - 27 Randy Robitaille 55 Jason Blake
10 Richard Park - 51 Frans Nielsen - 45 Arron Asham
1 Andrew Raycroft
30 Jean-Sebastien Aubin
15 Tomas Kaberle - 31 Pavel Kubina
24 Bryan McCabe - 8 Carl Colaiacovo
25 Hal Gill - 7 Ian White
23 Alexei Ponikarovsky - 13 Mats Sundin - 80 Nik Antropov
10 Alex Steen - 92 Jeff O'Neill - 14 Matthew Stajan
33 Bates Battaglia - 18 Chad Kilger - 22 Boyd Devereaux
39 Travis Green - 26 Ben Ondrus - 3 Wade Belak