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Line changes spark Isles win

The Islanders score five goals to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-3

Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 11:19 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Line changes spark Isles win

A 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night is a step forward from the Islanders recent offensive woes.

"We had four even strength goals tonight,” Matt Martin said. “That’s something that hasn’t come easy for us lately and we have to build off that. We just have to keep throwing pucks on net, keep crashing the net. If you look at almost every goal except (Rolston’s) they were pretty close to the crease. That’s something we have to continue to work on.”

In that six-game span, the Islanders players were frustrated that they were unable to get on the score sheet and as coaches often do, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano knew precisely what would turn the tide. He never pressured the players and instead, lightened the mood at Thursday’s practice with music blasting over the loud speakers.

Brian Rolston celebrates his goal with teammates in a game against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum on November 5, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Then, as promised, he changed up the line combinations the morning of the game, only leaving two pairs of players together for Saturday night’s contest.

“We had to do something over the last few games and they saw that coming, that something had to be done,” Capuano said. “We did the right things, we did a lot of good things that we have been doing the last few games, we just hadn’t put the puck in the back of the net.”

To earn the win, the Isles came back from a two-goal deficit to tie the score in the second. Martin scored the go-ahead goal before Brooks Laich evened the score at three with a power play goal. PA Parenteau and John Tavares completed the Islanders three-goal third period for the Islanders 5-3 win.

“It was a character win,” said Brian Rolston. “When we go up 3-2, they come back, get a power play goal and we stuck with it. That’s what strong teams are made of. I think that’s the most important thing about this game is that they tied it up and we came back and get another goal with a minute to go.

Rolston continued, “That’s what good hockey teams can do, win late in games, and just stick with it, stick with it, stick with it. That’s what we did tonight.”

Without even one practice with together, Rolston, Parenteau and Frans Nielsen set out to make an impact, sharing seven points on the night. Nielsen’s goal was the first goal the Isles scored in 110:13 of play, sparking the confidence and powering the momentum in the Islanders favor. Before the end of the second, Rolston’s goal tied the score at two and then in the third, Parenteau scored the game-winner.

John Tavares celebrates his empty net goal with teammate Milan Jurcina in a game against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum on November 5, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
“It was a pleasure playing with those guys tonight,” Rolston said. “The line change definitely paid off in that matter. I feel real comfortable with those guys. Obviously Fransie (Nielsen) is good at both ends of the ice and it’s a pleasure to play with him. And PA (Parenteau) for that matter, he had a huge night for us.”

Parenteau’s goal was the kind of gritty goal around the paint that the Isles have been searching for. Milan Jurcina fired a shot from the point which trickled through Vokoun five-hole; Parenteau dove to the crease to tap the puck in the empty net.

Trying to tie the score, the Capitals pulled Vokoun with 1:44 to remaining in the third, but a pass from Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro to center Tavares in the neutral zone led to an empty net goal at 18:59, capping the Islanders 5-3 win.

“The way we stayed with it all night, our game plan, we battled through some adversity,” Tavares said. “That’s a good hockey team. They’ve had a lot of success in recent years and has been in a lot of these games. For us to come back after being down a couple (goals) and then tying it, that’s the way we want to play. That’s the identity we want to have and it’s time for us to build off of it.”

Notes: In the first period, the Capitals took a two-goal lead with goals from Joel Ward and Alex Ovechkin. At the end of regulation, the Islanders outshot the Capitals 35-28 and DiPietro made 25 saves to earn his first win of the 2011-12 season.

“We struggled in the first period, but came out hard in the second and turned the game around,” Martin said.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 34 17 8 9 94 84 43
6 TOR 34 19 12 3 114 102 41
7 NYR 31 17 10 4 93 81 38
8 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
9 BOS 34 17 14 3 86 88 37
10 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 PHI 33 13 14 6 92 99 32
13 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 34 13 18 3 66 109 29
16 CAR 33 9 20 4 68 92 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 33 13 15 -5 28
K. Okposo 33 7 21 -3 28
B. Nelson 33 14 13 7 27
R. Strome 33 6 15 12 21
F. Nielsen 33 6 11 0 17
N. Leddy 33 5 10 8 15
J. Boychuk 23 2 12 7 14
N. Kulemin 33 6 7 -2 13
M. Grabovski 30 5 7 3 12
T. Hickey 32 2 9 2 11
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 18 6 0 .919 2.24
C. Johnson 5 4 0 .868 3.59

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