The Islanders used their blend of young talent and veteran experience to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3, Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum on Hockey & Heels Night. With thousands of enthusiastic women in the stands, the Islanders put on a crowd pleaser as they held off a surging Flyers team in the third period.
"We were happy with the effort the last two games, but were disappointed with the result," said head coach Ted Nolan. "We played another strong game tonight and found a way to get it done tonight. Now we take a deep breath. Winning is important. We've battled all season. Now we're battling through injuries. This team has found a way to persevere and the last few games it looks like we've got our game back."
Trent Hunter tallied a goal and two assists, while Ruslan Fedotenko contributed a goal and an assist. Young stars Jeff Tambellini and Sean Bergenheim scored in the second period to help the Islanders snap out of a seven game winless streak.
Rick DiPietro earned his 21st win of the season, stopping 26 shots. The Islanders put on a dominating performance, out-shooting Philadelphia 47-29 for their highest shot total of the season.. Antero Niittymaki stopped 43 shots in the losing effort.
The Islanders built a 3-1 lead in the second period, only to have it shrink to 3-2 before the period ended.
"As coaches you have to say to the guys don't sit back in the third period," said Nolan. "I thought we played strong in the first two periods and told them to keep it up in the third."
The Islanders took control with some hard work by the Hunter-Fedotenko-Josef Vasicek line that has played well in the three games they've skated together.
"We've been saying the last week or so we want to get bodies to the net," said Hunter. "No matter where we were, we wanted to get the pucks to the net and traffic in front. It worked for us tonight."
Hunter found a loose puck in the crease and threw it by Niittymaki with 2:18 to play in the first period for a 1-0 Islanders lead. Fedotenko and Vasicek picked up the assists.
"On the first goal, the puck bounced around for quite a few seconds," said Hunter. "I was able to get a stick on it."
Philadelphia tied the game just 1:01 into the second period on the power play when Daniel Briere scored on a rebound.
The Islanders regained the lead when Tambellini converted on a turnover at 5:26 of the second period.
Bergenheim made it 3-1 with a burst of speed to get past Kimmo Timonen and grab the loose puck. While fading to the right, Bergenheim put the puck past Niittymaki's right leg, 6:19 into the second period.
Philadelphia cut the lead to 3-2, when Scott Hartnell scored with 2:30 left in the second period.
Fedotenko gave the Islanders some breathing room by crashing to the net and banging home a rebound with 5:58 to go in the third period.
Joffrey Lupul made it interesting by scoring with 1:00 left while playing 4-on-4.
The Islanders travel to Toronto on Thursday to take on the Maple Leafs.
Five Stars of the Game: 1. Trent Hunter: Goal, 2 assists, +2, 5 shots 2. Ruslan Fedotenko: Played well again with Hunter and Vasicek, goal, assist, +2, 2 hits 3. Freddy Meyer: A solid defensive game, racked up more than 22:00 of TOI 4. Daniel Briere: Recorded his first two points against the Islanders this season 5. Jeff Tambellini: His first goal of the season was a big one
Stat of the Game: The Islanders continue to shine on draws despite being without Mike Sillinger. They won 68% of their draws. Richard Park led the way, winning 12 of 14 faceoffs.
Slapshots: Brendan Witt left the game with a sprained knee…The Islanders improved to 17-0-1 when leading after two periods…The Islanders are 11-7-0 against the Atlantic Division…The Islanders improved to 16-7-7 in one-goal games.
Goal of the Game: The Isles first goal scored by Trent Hunter was a symbol of how the Orange & Blue would play tonight. It was not a flashy goal by any means of the imagination. Isles forwards Josef Vasicek and Ruslan Fedotenko started the play by getting the puck to the net. Hunter found the puck in front of the net and poked the puck past Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki. Hunter ended up tallying two more assists and earning first star honors.
Game Operations: It was the first Hockey & Heels Night, presented by Nicolock Paving Stones and Retaining Walls at the Nassau Coliseum…Nicole Agovino, nominated by her husband David, and Carole Levitan, nominated by her son Gary received makeovers in a luxury suite, courtesy of Clear Skin, Inc. Salon…In honor of Hockey & Heels Night, Natalie Gelman was tonight's National Anthem singer…The Island Waves Girls Hockey Association was the flag bearer for tonight's game…During the first intermission, the Freeport Synchronized Skaters performed a beautiful routine…Women in Sports Foundation was tonight's charity of the game…There were giveaways all night long for those sitting in Ladyville for a mere $10.
Fashion Show: During the second intermission, the Coliseum hosted the Macy's Roosevelt Field Fashion Show, presented by Long Island Pulse Magazine. Participating in the fashion show were the players' wives and girlfriends – Devyn Park, Teri Hunter, Debbie Fedotenko, Meghan Dubielewicz, Cassie Fontana, Lindsey Meyer, Andrea Hilbert, Isabelle Simard and Kara Guerin.
Valentine's Day Puck Surprise: For only $20, fans could purchase pucks, which contained signatures of players. Those who received gold signatures were able to meet their assigned player following the game by the Islanders locker room.
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab for complete coverage of tonight’s game.
26 Ruslan Fedotenko - 63 Josef Vasicek – 7 Trent Hunter
11 Andy Hilbert - 89 Mike Comrie - 13 Bill Guerin
15 Jeff Tambellini – 51 Frans Nielsen – 57 Blake Comeau
20 Sean Bergenheim – 10 Richard Park – 81 Miroslav Satan
Additional reporting by Andrew Scharff and Chris Musto
30 Antero Niittymaki
43 Martin Biron
21 Jason Smith - 28 Lasse Kukkonen
2 Derian Hatcher - 6 Randy Jones
26 Jim Vandermeer - 44 Kimmo Timonen
19 Scott Hartnell - 18 Mike Richards - 27 Steve Downie
20. R.J. Umberger - 48 Daniel Briere - 15 Joffrey Lupul
65 Kyle Greentree - 17 Jeff Carter - 22 Mike Knuble
32 Riley Cote - 34 Jim Dowd - 24 Sami Kapanen
You won't be able to take the actual Rick DiPietro home with you, but the first 10,000 fans attending the Islanders-Atlanta Thrashers game this Saturday at 7:05 pm can take home a GEICO mini-bobblehead of Rick DiPietro. The All-Star netminder is the third and final installment of the Islanders 2007-08 mini-bobblehead collection, which has already featured Mike Sillinger and Bill Guerin.
GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY
The Islanders look to get back in the playoff hunt as they meet Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa and the Atlanta Thrashers.
To purchase individual game tickets, click here or visit the Coliseum box office, the Islanders
Team Store at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville or call Ticketmaster at 631.888.9000.
NYI vs. San Jose; Family Fun Packs for just $124, Post-Game On-Ice Shootout!!! Meet the players!!! All fans 14 & under will receive a Puck Bank, courtesy of New York Community Bank!!! Mascots from around the NHL!!! NYI Family Fan Fest and so much more!!!
If you missed the Kids' Opening Day on October 8th, don't worry fans, the Islanders have given everybody a second chance with Kids' Day, Too when Rick DiPietro and the Islanders host the San Jose Sharks at 2 pm on Presidents' Day, Monday, February 18.
FAMILY FUN PACK: With school off, there is no better way to spend a day with the whole family than taking in an exciting Islanders game at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have put together a special Family Fun Pack for Kids' Day, Too to get you and three others to the game. The Family Fun Pack includes:
1 Dave & Buster's $40 Power Card Voucher
1 Friendly's $25 Gift Card
Valued at $265, the Family Fun Pack can be purchased for just $124.
Here are some more reasons why you should get to the game on February 18th to cheer on your favorite hockey team.
POST-GAME ON-ICE SHOOTOUT WITH THE PLAYERS: The Islanders want to make Kids' Day, Too as exciting as possible for the kids. Following the game, all kids are invited down to ice level to take a shot on the same nets defended by Rick DiPietro. There will also be special guest appearances by the Islanders players.
MASCOTS GALORE: While we all know that the Islanders' Sparky the Dragon is the greatest mascot in pro sports, he's making Kids' Day, Too even more memorable by bringing a bunch of his friends from around the NHL and the area. Here's a list of the other mascots that will be roaming the Coliseum all game, looking for the most excited fans.
Storm – Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Mr. Met - NY Mets
Stinger – Columbus Blue Jackets
Blades - Boston Bruins
Stormy – Carolina Hurricanes
Gnash – Nashville Predators
Thrash – Atlanta Thrashers
ThunderBug- Tampa Bay Lightning
Fin - Vancouver Canucks
Iceburgh- Pittsburgh Penguins
Kate and Willie - Hofstra
QuackerJack - LI Ducks
NYI FAMILY FUN FEST STARTS AT NOON!: Arrive at the Coliseum early and join us in the lower lobby for the Family Fan Fest, featuring fun inflatables, face painting, kids broadcasting station, interactive games and so much more.
FREE PUCK BANK: All kids 14 and under in attendance will receive Islanders Puck Bank, courtesy of New York Community Bank.
Make Presidents' Day a memorable experience for the whole family by attending an Islanders game at the Nassau Coliseum.