ISLANDERS 4, BOSTON 1
By Jason Lockhart
Mike Sillinger broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to lead the Islanders past the Boston Bruins 4-1, Thursday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
Two goals by Randy Robitaille as well as one by Sillinger and Jeff Tambellini catapulted the Islanders into an eighth-place tie with Montreal and Toronto in the Eastern Conference. Rick DiPietro stopped 24 of 25 shots for his 24th win of the season
The Islanders got on the board first when Tambellini got a stick on Sillinger's shot from the right circle. The puck re-directed past Tim Thomas for Tambellini's first goal of the season with 3:04 left in the opening period.
"Jeff started the year with us and then went down to Bridgeport and had a great attitude," said head coach Ted Nolan. "He worked on the parts of his game that needed work, and we see a big improvement from the start of the year to now."
The Islanders lost Bruno Gervais for the remainder of the game when he went down with an ankle injury.
Just 32 seconds into the second period, the Bruins struck on the power play. After two quick passes, Glen Murray one-timed the puck into the Islanders' net from the slot to tie the score.
After a tight two periods, the Islanders came to life in the third out-scoring the Bruins 3-0 and out-shooting them 13-5.
"You have to be good in the third period," said Sillinger. "It was a one-goal game right until the end. We seemed to buckle down and play a solid period defensively."
Sillinger broke the 1-1 tie by pushing home Andy Hilbert's rebound with 9:04 remaining in the third period.
The Islanders went up 3-1 with 3:16 to go in the period. Robitaille snapped a shot past Thomas while breaking in 2-on-1 with Richard Park. Robitaille then added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
The Islanders play Game Two of their homestand on Saturday when New Jersey comes to town.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Mike Sillinger: Scored the game-winner and added an assist
2. Jeff Tambellini: Scored his first goal of the season
3. Randy Robitaille: Two goals
4. Rick DiPietro: Stopped 24 of 25 shots
5. Brendan Witt: Helped shut down the Bruins while playing with only five defensemen
Stat of the Game: Viktor Kozlov won 90% of his draws, while Randy Robitaille was close behind winning 78%.
Havoc Zone Fans of the Game: It was cold, icy and windy, but four brave souls came together to the Nassau Coliseum to stand in line for the Havoc Zone starting at 2:30 pm. Sisters Lauren and Jessica from Stony Brook made new friends with Ken from Smithtown and Chris from Bohemia when they arrived today. Only the sisters knew each other, but after spending hours together in the bitter cold they all learned a lot about their new acquaintances. When the sisters were asked if they knew Ken's and Chris' entire background they jokingly replied "Pretty close." This is the first time Lauren and Jessica have been first in line for the Havoc Zone after previous failed attempts. Don't be fooled by Ken's seemingly lack of clothes. He claimed to have been wearing over a $100 worth of layers under his hoody.
Game Operations: It was Stony Brook University night at the Coliseum, as the school purchased tickets to benefit the Sunrise Project founded to help fight AIDS. The school's choir sang a beautifully harmonized version of the national anthem. The Pep Band countered during the intermissions with a number of tunes, including a rousing rendition of "Holiday" by Green Day. Pep Band coordinator John Leddy and Stony Brook prom queen Antoinette Otoo were honored for their service to the school.
Slapshots: Mike Sillinger took over the team lead in assists with 26...Brendan Witt played in his 700th NHL game... 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
30 Tim Thomas
54 Hannu Toivonen
23 Paul Mara - 33 Zdeno Chara
41 Andrew Alberts - 21 Andrew Ference
38 Bobby Allen - 25 Jason York
11 P.J. Axelsson - 91 Marc Savard - 27 Glen Murray
16 Marco Sturm - 26 Brad Boyes - 10 Brandon Bochenski
17 Petr Tenkrat - 81 Phil Kessel - 13 Stanislav Chistov
53 Jeremy Reich - 18 Mark Mowers - 22 Shean Donovan