ST. LOUIS 3, ISLANDERS 2, OT
By Jason Lockhart
The St. Louis Blues stole the game with two late goals in the third period and an overtime power play marker just 25 seconds into the extra frame to earn a 3-2 victory Thursday night at the Nassau Coliseum
Lee Stempniak tallied the overtime goal on a one-timer from Eric Brewer. The Blues sent the game into overtime with two goals in the final three minutes of regulation. Curtis Sanford stopped 27 of 29 shots and spoiled Ryan Smyth's debut as an Islander. Smyth set-up Mike Sillinger's power play tally in the first period and used some quick thinking to help Marc-Andre Bergeron record his first goal as an Islander.
"It's a tough pill to swallow," said Ted Nolan. "We need to re-group tomorrow and get ready for the next one."
It took 10:16 of game time for Smyth to make his mark on Long Island. While on the Islanders' first power play, Sillinger head manned the puck up to Smyth waiting at the blue line. The two skated into the offensive zone, 2-on-1, before Smyth fed the puck to Sillinger, who slid it past Sanford with a deke to the backhand.
"On the power play we stretched the play out," said Smyth. "Once Silli had the puck he made a great move on the goalie."
Just 40 seconds into the second period, the Islanders took a 2-0 lead. After Jason Blake knocked the net off its moorings, Smyth re-placed it just a moment before Bergeron's shot deflected into the net off a Blues' skate. Bergeron's first goal as an Islander was assisted by Blake and Randy Robitaille.
"Blakey said he ran into the net when he tried to stuff it," said Smyth. "I didn't know if anybody saw it, so I just tried to put it back on the pegs. Fortunately we scored."
Jay McClement cut the lead to 2-1 with 2:31 remaining in the third period. Just 38 seconds later, Doug Weight's shot from the left circle was tipped home by Petr Cajanek to tie the game at two.
"On both goals, we missed our assignments," said Nolan. "On the first we didn't cover the man in front and the second one was a seeing-eye shot that someone got their stick on."
The Blues scored while skating 4-on-3 after Rick DiPietro was called for holding the stick in the final minute of regulation.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Lee Stempniak: Won it in overtime and added an assist
2. Doug Weight: Two assists
3. Marc-Andre Bergeron: Scored his first goal as an Islander
4. Curtis Sanford: Earned the win stopping 25 of 27 shots
5. Ryan Smyth: Instrumental in both Islanders goals
Stat of the Game: The Islanders converted on their only power play opportunity. St. Louis went 1 for 5 on the power play.
Havoc Zone Fans of the Game: Six students from all across New York began the Havoc line with the most pandemonium since its inception. The line was one of the longest in Havoc Zone history and certainly the loudest, with chants of "Ryan Smyth" resonating up-and-down the line. A wave even began by the screaming fans wanting to get greats seats in the endzone sections. "It's playoff season and everyone's into it," said Filipe from Huntington. "We're glad to see Smyth on the Islanders because we know how hard of a worker he is and how much of a team player he is." Farther down the line, fans showed their support, sporting a freshly-made "Welcome home, Ryan Smyth" sign.
Slapshots: Ryan Smyth is the first Islander to wear #94Â¦Earlier today Rick DiPietro was named the NHL's 2nd Star for the month of FebruaryÂ¦Alexei Yashin (knee), Shawn Bates (groin) and Bruno Gervais (leg) were tonight's scratchesÂ¦Tonight's attendance was 12,263.
Game Operations: Islanders TV was hard at work today putting together a Ryan Smyth intro piece for the Video Board. The video featured highlights from his days on Edmonton as well as exclusive shots from his first day at the Coliseum. You can see wall-to-wall coverage of Ryan's arrival by clicking on the Islanders TV logo on the front of newyorkislanders.comÂ¦Tonight's Palmer Wines Vintage Moments featured the 1983 Stanley-Cup clinching victory over the Edmonton Oilers on May 17Â¦.The synchronized Icedevils from the Freeport Skating Academy put on quite a performance during the first intermission, wowing the fans with their choreography and grace.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - - 6 Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli - 44 Freddy Meyer
3 Tom Poti - 47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
94 Ryan Smyth - 27 Randy Robitaille - 55 Jason Blake
20 Richard Zednik - 25 Viktor Kozlov - 81 Miroslav Satan
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
45 Arron Asham - 10 Richard Park - 12 Chris Simon
1 Curtis Sanford
30 Jason Bacashihua
27 Bryce Salvador - 4 Eric Brewer
5 Barret Jackman - 55 Christian Backman
29 Jeff Woywitka - 28 Matt Walker
12 Lee Stempniak - 9 Jay McClement - 21 Jamal Mayers
26 Petr Cajanek - 39 Doug Weight 42 David Backes
18 Radek Dvorak - 17 Ryan Johnson - 10 Dallas Drake
32 Ville Nieminen - 22 Glen Metropolit - 38 Brad Boyes