ISLANDERS 5, WASHINGTON 2
By Jason Lockhart
The Islanders built a 4-0 lead through two periods against the Washington Capitals Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum, and went on to win 5-2. Rick DiPietro turned aside 32 of 34 shots to earn his 30th win of the season, matching his career high he set last year.
Jason Blake scored two goals, while Mike Sillinger and Marc-Andre Bergeron added a goal and an assist. Ryan Smyth also tallied two assists for the Islanders, who remain in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. With their 78 points on the season, the Islanders have matched the same total as last season.
"We're not really paying attention to the number of points we have," said DiPietro. "We're just concerned with winning games and moving up in the standings."
The Islanders opened the scoring when Sillinger found the back of the net with a slapshot, two minutes into the opening frame.
"It's important to get that first goal," said Ted Nolan. "The last couple of games we didn't come out the way we wanted to, but tonight we jumped out early on them and that helped secure the win."
Andy Hilbert added to the Islanders lead on another slapshot. Bergeron and Trent Hunter assisted on the goal with 7:19 remaining in the first period.
It became 3-0 off a highlight-reel goal by Blake with 7:30 to go in the second period. After gaining the blue line, Smyth got the puck to Blake who deked around goaltender Brent Johnson before sliding it into the net.
The Islanders converted on a late second-period power play for a 4-0 lead. Bergeron's blast from the right point could not be stopped by Johnson.
Alex Ovechkin broke DiPietro's shutout bid with a good individual effort, 4:17 into the third period. After taking the initial shot, Ovechkin gathered the rebound and scored on the backhand. The Capitals cut the lead to 4-2 on a goal by Brashear with 6:16 gone by in the third period.
That was as close as the Capitals would get as Blake tallied his 35th of the season on the empty net to make it 5-2.
"Every game is like a playoff game," said Blake. "Whether it's the Rangers, Capitals or anyone else, we need to bring our best. Tonight wasn't our best, but Ricky kept us in when we struggled."
Johnson stopped 24 of 28 shots in the losing effort. The Capitals went 0-for-3 on the man-advantage, while the Islanders converted on 1-of-5 power play opportunities.
The Islanders begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday when they travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Marc-Andre Bergeron: A power play goal and an assist
2. Rick DiPietro: Picked up his 30th win for the second season in a row
3. Andy Hilbert: One tally
4. Jason Blake: Two goals, including the game-winner
5. Mike Sillinger: A goal and an assist
Stat of the Game: The Capitals broke their shutout streak of over 170 minutes.
NYI 365 Fans of the Game: Chris (9) and Jordan (6) attended the final NYI 365 Morning Skate of the season today. This is the second morning skate they've been to, and opposed to the first one, this time they successfully caught pucks to add to their collection. Jordan's a big Blake fan, while Chris listed his favorite game he attended this season, the 4-1 win over the Bruins on February 15th.
Slapshots: Rick DiPietro is the first Islanders goalie to record 30 wins in two separate seasons. He also started his 17th game in a row and the 200th of his careerÂ¦Brendan Witt recorded his 100th point when he assisted on Mike Sillinger's goal in the first periodÂ¦The Islanders are 25-0-4 when leading after two periodsÂ¦Tonight's attendance was 15,764Â¦The Capitals have now lost seven games in a rowÂ¦Shawn Bates (sports hernia), Bruno Gervais (ankle) and Viktor Kozlov (foot) were tonight's scratches...After scoring his goal, Donald Brashear was assessed a minor penalty for punching Brendan Witt in the face.
Game Operations: The Newbridge Flyers out of Bellmore were tonight's Mites on Ice during the first intermissionÂ¦Sam Mignoli, a freshman hockey player at Long Beach high school was a special guest of Garth Snow after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident in January. He was interviewed by in-game host C.J. Papa, and talked about his mother starting a foundation called "Pucks for Sam" in his honorÂ¦Tonight's Commerce Bank Hometown Heroes were Penelope and tom Boerum, who are mentors for the Education & Assistance Corporation's Chance to Advance Program.
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 - 79 Alexei Yashin - 81 Miroslav Satan
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
45 Arron Asham - 10 Richard Park 15 Jeff Tambellini
1 Brent Johnson
35 Frederic Cassivi
44 Steve Eminger 52 Mike Green
55 Jeff Schultz - 2 Brian Pothier
23 Milan Jurcina - 26 Shaone Morrisonn
8 Alexander Ovechkin - 13 Jiri Novotny 17 Chris Clark
43 Tomas Fleischman - 24 Kris Beech - 28 Alexander Semin
21 Brooks Laich - 15 Boyd Gordon - 10 Matt Bradley
87 Donald Brashear - 16 Brian Sutherby - 27 Ben Clymer