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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.”

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HOME
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 47 18 19 -6 37
K. Okposo 48 12 25 -9 37
B. Nelson 50 20 11 0 31
F. Nielsen 50 15 16 -2 31
M. Grabovski 50 9 15 1 24
J. Bailey 49 8 15 4 23
A. Lee 50 7 14 0 21
N. Leddy 50 3 17 -12 20
R. Strome 39 5 13 -8 18
N. Kulemin 50 5 9 6 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 11 4 .917 2.28
T. Greiss 13 6 2 .927 2.32
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