Islanders defeat Wild 2-1, PK saves the day

Nielsen and MacDonald score; the Islanders killed off seven Minnesota Wild power plays, including two back-to-back five-on-threes.

Monday, 10.10.2011 / 4:52 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Islanders defeat Wild 2-1, PK saves the day
Goals by Frans Nielsen and Andrew MacDonald led the Islanders to at 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild,  but it was the  penalty kill and a 20 save effort from Al Montoya that secured the team’s first win of the 2011-12 season.

“I have to take my hat off to the killers on this team,” Montoya said after the game. “They did an unbelievable job, throwing their bodies in front of some of the heaviest shots in this league. It says a lot, that PK is going to be our bread and butter. To kill 5-on-3’s back-to-back, that’s just huge momentum for us and pushes us into the third period.”

Dany Heatley is stopped by Al Montoya at Nassau Coliseum on October10, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Islanders would take six penalties in the second and third period, but the first period goals from MacDonald (power play goal, 9:05) and Nielsen (even,  11:45) would hold through the second period, surviving a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The team’s penalty killers, including Hamonic, MacDonald and Jay Pandolfo, did an exceptional job.

But Montoya made the difference. Not only did he stand tall through 1:16 of 5-on-3 in the second stanza, he made 20 saves in the winning effort, 18 of which came in the final 40 minutes.

“I thought we did a good job as a team on the penalty kill,” Pandolfo said. “It’s important, sometimes you’re going to have a game with five or six penalties and you just try to do the best job you can. I’m always a big believer in your goalie is your best penalty killer and Al (Montoya) was unbelievable tonight. He was huge in some of those.”

Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said all the late penalties slowed the team’s momentum.

“Anytime you take as many penalties as we had, you can’t get into the flow of the game,” Capuano said. “You have some of your better players on the bench, your offensive guys and their minutes are cut short on them and they go 5-6 minutes without getting a shift. It’s tough on those guys.”

In the first period, Mikko Koivu took a tripping penalty at 8:54 and the Islanders capitalized 11 seconds later. MacDonald put the Islanders on the board with a power play goal, following up on a Travis Hamonic rebound from just below the blue line.

“PA (Parenteau) made a beautiful pass across ice,” Hamonic said. “It landed right on my stick. I had an opportunity to bring the puck to the net. You’re really just trying to put the puck on net and I cleared the rebound kick right up to AMac (MacDonald). He was pretty happy to score that goal.”

Andrew MacDonald and Brett Bulmer play for the puck along the boards during the second period at Nassau Coliseum on October 10, 2011. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Just over two minutes later, John Tavares set-up the game-winning goal and he wasn’t even on the ice when the puck crossed the goal line. Skating along the boards, he brought the puck into the offensive zone, but recognized when he was feeling tired and skated off after a cross-ice pass to Parenteau.

Parenteau (2 assists) passed back to Mark Streit, who faked out a Wild skater and sent a rocket wide towards the top of the crease. Nielsen, who came in to replace Tavares, went in for the redirection and lifted the puck top shelf.

“It was a great play,” Capuano said. “You can look at it from your view on that. Johnny Tavares was tired, he recognized that, he changed. Fransie (Nielsen) came off the bench with fresh legs and it was a great shot pass, but there are a lot of things that go into the goals, little things. It was a great play by Streiter (Streit), a heads up play.”

Matt Cullen scored the Wild’s only goal 1:13 into the third period with assists from Guillaume Latendresse and Brett Bulmer.

Looking at the positives, Pandolfo said the team can move on from here when they faceoff at home Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“We can play better in the second and third, but we got the win so that’s important,” Pandolfo said. “We have to learn from some of the mistakes we made in the second and third, but as long as we got the win it’s huge. We can get some confidence and go from here.”

Forwards
Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau
Okposo-Nielsen-Grabner
Rolston-Bailey-Comeau
Martin-Reasoner-Pandolfo

Defensemen
Streit-Staios
MacDonald-Hamonic
Eaton-Mottau

Goaltenders
Montoya
DiPietro

Scratches
Jurcina
Nabokov
Strome

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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