Rookie recovery

Islanders prospects regroup after loss to come back with a 7-2 win over Bruins rookies

Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 11:01 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Rookie recovery
In the last two years, the Islanders have selected fifth overall at the NHL Entry Draft. Tuesday night, both of those selections made a significant impact in Game 2 of  back-to-back rookie exhibitions with the Boston Bruins.

Nino Niederreiter (2010) and Ryan Strome (2011), linemates throughout Rookie Camp, built chemistry in a few short days and combined for three goals and three assists in the Islanders 7-2 win over the Bruins at Nassau Coliseum.

“We said after the last game that we had a lot of chances and they seemed to go in tonight,” Strome said. “My linemates were great. We moved the puck very well and we are all very happy with our play.”

Though Niederreiter and Strome weren’t involved, the tone was set early. After the opening faceoff, three fights took place in the first five seconds and the Islanders garnered enough momentum to carry them through the rest of the game.

“To start us off, those three big fights were huge,” said Tyler McNeely, Strome and Niederreiter’s linemate. “They really got us going and set the tempo for the game. We really calmed down and had a good game after that.”

McNeely, a winger who played the final 10 games of last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, put the Islanders on the board first as he scored six minutes in.

“Nino made a great pass to me, sent me in on a breakaway,” McNeely said. “There were two guys on me. I didn’t have much time, just had to get the goalie moving, so I went from backhand to forehand and it worked.”

McNeely would follow that up with back-to-back assists on two goals by Strome. Before the end of the first period, the Isles led 4-0 on the first of Casey Cizikas' two goals.

Niederreiter, already on the board with two assists, scored a power-play goal four minutes into the second period.

“They gave me a nice pass in front of the net which I only had to kind of tap in,” Niederreiter said. “It’s definitely a great feeling to get another goal (after scoring twice in game one).”

Justin DiBenedetto closed out the period with an even-strength goal and put the Isles ahead 6-0. Cizikas scored the team’s final goal just over four minutes into the third period.

Swedish goaltender Anders Nilsson played extremely well between the pipes. He made 38 saves on 40 shots, which included seven saves during a critical 5-on-3 at the start the second period.

“Especially on the 5-on-3, I thought Nilsson made some really good saves to keep us right where the score was at that time,” said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano.

Unfortunately, Nilsson’s shutout run came to a halt as Boston came back to score two unanswered goals (Craig Cunningham and Anthony Camara) and bring the final tally to 7-2. Capuano was still pleased with his goaltender’s performance.

“He’s a big guy,” Capuano said. “He controlled his rebounds. He was aggressive. He wasn’t passive. He fought to see through traffic. I thought he did well. His communication with the defense was pretty good too.”

Nilsson, who will play his first North American campaign this season, was happy with the outcome.

“I felt better after the first period,” Nilsson said. “(At first,) I felt a bit shaky... But the second and the third period felt a lot better. I had really good help from all the defensemen and all the players out there did a great job for me.”

McNeely, who completed his fourth collegiate campaign with Northeastern University before making his professional debut with the Sound Tigers, said he thought the Islanders had success in their second exhibition because they played as a team.

“We were a lot more physical tonight, but really we played more of a team game,” McNeely said. “Monday was a little bit sloppy being the first game back for everyone, but we watched videos and came together as a team.”




1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48


J. Tavares 76 34 40 -3 74
R. Strome 75 15 32 19 47
K. Okposo 54 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 75 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 76 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 70 23 16 12 39
J. Bailey 64 15 23 4 38
J. Boychuk 66 8 25 9 33
T. Hamonic 66 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 72 10 19 15 29
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08 is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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