Lehtonen shuts out Islanders in first NHL start since October 18
The Atlanta Thrashers scored four first-period goals to skate past the Islanders 4-0, Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. Kari Lehtonen posted his first win of the season, stopping all 33 shots he faced in his first start since October 18.
The Thrashers got goals from Ilya Kovalchuk, Eric Boulton, Marian Hossa and Slava Kozlov to snap a three game skid. The Islanders have lost two games in a row and are 13-10-1 on the season.The Islanders allowed six breakaways, with two turning into goals.
"The way the team looked when they came out in the pre-game skate, I thought they would be ready to play," said head coach Ted Nolan of his Islanders. "We just weren't prepared right from the beginning. We under estimated their team speed. They really took it to us the first five to ten minutes of the game."
Just 34 seconds into the game, the NHL's leading goal scorer struck for the 21st time this season. Tobias Enstrom head-manned a pass to Kovalchuk, who danced around Radek Martinek before rifling a shot low to the glove side past Wade Dubielewicz., who made 26 saves in his first start since October 27.
"Anytime the first shot goes in it takes a little steam out of you," said Nolan. "You had one of the premier goal scorers in the league coming down on a defenseman standing still. Advantage, the good player. He made a great shot and it went in."
Eric Boulton made it 2-0 Thrashers when he scored on a rebound at 6:12 of the first period. It became 3-0 on a Hossa breakaway less than two minutes later. Kozlov's seventh goal of the season put Atlanta up 4-0 with only 13 seconds remaining in the opening period. That was all of the scoring.
When asked if coach Nolan said anything following the first period, Captain Bill Guerin replied: "Yeah, it was not good. Teddy doesn't ask for much. He asks that guys show up and play hard every night and play together. None of that happened tonight. That's when Teddy gets upset. He always says if after the game you can say you left it all out there, we'll take the outcome. They picked us apart, but we let them. We were out of position. We didn't play smart tonight. It wasn't Dubie's fault. It's tough for a goalie to play 5 on 0."
Guerin also answered a question regarding the lack of scoring.
"We've got to create more chances by being closer. We're so spread out that we don't give ourselves a chance to play together. We'll figure it out, but we've got to start generating something."
The Islanders out-shot Atlanta 33-30, but generated very little sustained pressure. The Islanders failed to score on four power play opportunities, while Atlanta couldn't convert on any of their six man-advantages.
The Islanders next play on Monday at the Nassau Coliseum against the Boston Bruins.
MONDAY: KIDS GET IN FREE!
The New York Islanders would like to give Long Island children their first presents of the holiday season:
FREE tickets to see the Islanders face the Boston Bruins on Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:05 pm at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
All kids 16 and under can pick up their complimentary tickets at the Coliseum Box Office beginning at 5:00 pm on the night of the game.
This unprecedented gift to Long Island children is made possible through RexCorp Islanders Inspire, a program of the New York Islanders Children's Foundation which has already made arrangements to bring more than 10,000 children to Islanders home games this season.
"The holidays should always be about our children," said Islanders head coach Ted Nolan. "I think it's fantastic that Charles Wang, RexCorp Islanders Inspire and the Islanders Children's Foundation are making it possible for children to take in a game at no cost. Our team is looking forward to seeing so many young faces at the Coliseum on Monday."
The United States Marines, in conjunction with the Islanders Children's Foundation, will host a Toys for Tots drive outside the Coliseum box office on Monday starting at 5:00 pm. Fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys so other children in our community can also benefit from Monday's game.
Please note that once the fans pick up their complimentary tickets on Monday beginning at 5:00 pm, they must enter the Coliseum. This guarantees that the free tickets go to the children on a first-come, first served basis.
Doors to the arena will open one hour early, at 5:00 pm, for this unparalleled event. Prior to the game, the holiday spirit will be in the air with Sparky and the Ice Girls, holiday music and special surprises in store for the children. Young fans will have the opportunity to make Islanders signs for the game and receive gifts including Santa hats and Islanders Yearbooks.
Let's make Monday night's game against the Bruins a holiday-time memory children will cherish for years to come.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Ilya Kovalchuk: Scored the game-winner in the opening minute using his blazing speed and blistering 2. Kari Lehtonen: Wasn't tested much all game 3. Niclas Havelid: Two assists, +4 4. Tobias Enstrom: Set-up the game-winner, +3 5. Marian Hossa: Converted on one of two breakaway chances
Stat of the Game: The Islanders took 19 shots in the third period.
Kickbutt Loudville Fans of the Game:Brian and Ashley from Northport have been Islanders fans for nearly ten years. "While I never saw them with the four Stanley Cups, I've seen them on video. I wish I had been here for that," said Brian. "My favorite memory was Mike Sillinger's 1000th game.
Slapshots:Andy Sutton fought against Chris Thorburn in the second period. Sutton played five seasons for the Thrashers...The Islanders were shutout for the first time this season...The Islanders were last shutout on February 17, 2007 at New Jersey by the score of 2-0...The Islanders play 22 Saturday games this season and are 5-3-0 to this point...Tonight's attendance was 15,355...Shawn Bates is day-to-day with a hip injury.
Check Presentation:Richard Park presented a check of $22,000 to United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County representatives Bob McGuire, Bob Masterson, Doug Masterson, Charlie Fleish and Patricia Quinn. The money was raised through a portion of tonight's ticket sales.
Game Operations:Brian Enoch did a wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner…Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto dropped the ceremonial first puck...Click here to find out how to redeem your Mike Sillinger mini-bobblehead doll giveaway from tonight's game…Islanders TV put together a nice feature of Howie Rose talking about his hometown of Oyster Bay.
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
25 Andy Sutton – 4 Bryan Berard
14 Chris Campoli - 8 Bruno Gervais
47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
10 Richard Park - 89 Mike Comrie - 13 Bill Guerin
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
26 Ruslan Fedotenko - 63 Josef Vasicek - 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon – 20 Sean Bergenheim
Goaltenders 32 Kari Lehtonen
1 Johan Hedberg
17 Ilya Kovalchuk – 12 Todd White – 18 Marian Hossa
13 Slava Kozlov – 16 Bobby Holik – 27 Chris Thorburn
10 Bryan Little – 11 Eric Perrin – 38 Darren Haydar
36 Eric Boulton – 23 Jim Slater – 9 Pascal Dupuis