Freddy Meyer and Richard Park celebrate winning goal
The Islanders' ninth sellout crowd of 16,234 the season watched one of the more exciting games at the Nassau Coliseum. After falling behind 2-0, the Islanders scored three unanswered goals in the third period against the San Jose Sharks for a 3-2 victory and their fourth consecutive win, Monday afternoon. The victory puts the Islanders just one point out of a playoff spot with 22 games to go.
"We didn't attack that well in the first two periods," said head coach Ted Nolan. "In the third period, for whatever reason, it kicked in. We started attacking in the third. It was great to hear the packed crowd today. I'm happy we were able to give them a good effort in the third."
Andy Hilbert, Mike Comrie and Freddy Meyer scored third period goals for the Islanders that came alive in the last 20 minutes, scoring three goals on eight shots in the final frame.
Rick DiPietro had to come up with some spectacular saves in the game's final minute. DiPietro out-dueled fellow All-Star Evgeni Nabokov. DiPietro finished with 27 saves, while Nabokov stopped 17 pucks. Thomas Greiss relieved Nabokov for half of the second period and stopped one shot after the starting netminder went down with a facial laceration. Nabokov returned to start the third period.
Neither team could convert on their six power play chances, including back-to-back full two-minute 5-on-3 power plays in the first period.
Marcel Goc opened the scoring at 2:19 of the second period after a scoreless, penalty-filled first period. Joe Thornton made it 2-0 Sharks with a backhand shot from the slot at 2:14 of the third period.
The Islanders quickly tied the game up with two goals in the span of 59 seconds. First Hilbert jammed home a loose puck in the crease, 3:22 into the third period. The assists went to Josef Vasicek and Bill Guerin.
On the next shift, Comrie scored the goal of the season at the Coliseum. Skating full steam into the offensive zone, Comrie made three separate moves to put the puck through the legs of defenseman Kyle McLaren and then slip it through the five-hole of Nabokov.
"Mike Comrie's goal was one of those highlight reel goes that lifted a lot of people out of their seats and it lifted us off the bench," said Nolan. "It was a nice goal and a nice comeback."
Meyer than gave the fans what they wanted – an Islanders lead and a free bowl of Wendy's chili. Meyer skated up the right wing side fired a high riser past Nabokov with 8:41 remaining in the third period.
"The crowd was great tonight," said Meyer. "I'll take whatever I can get. All that's important is that we got the win, which was huge. We're right back in it, but we have to keep going."
TANK NAMED SECOND STAR OF THE WEEK
Islanders wing Ruslan Fedotenko was named the NHL's Second Star for the week ending February 17. Fedotenko tallied five points (four goals, one assist), including two game-winning goals, as the Islanders recorded three victories for the week.
On Feb. 12, he notched the game-winner and added one assist in a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. On Feb. 14, he recorded two goals in a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs and followed that up by tallying the game-winning goal in a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers Feb. 16. Fedotenko is 13-16-29 on the season.
Earlier this season, Rick DiPietro was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week.
St. Louis netminder Manny Legace was named the week's First Star and Montreal goaltender Carey Price was the league's Third Star of the week.
Five Stars of the Game: 1. Freddy Meyer: Scored his second game-winning goal in three games, +3 2. Mike Comrie: Generally the set-up guy, but scored a highlight reel goal worthy of SportsCenter 3. Rick DiPietro: Earned his 23rd win of the season and fourth straight 4. Joe Thornton: Put the Sharks up 2-0 with a beautiful backhand 5. Andy Hilbert: Has played well with Comrie and Guerin, goal and assist
Slapshots: Radek Martinek skated in his 300th NHL game…The Sharks last played at the Nassau Coliseum on October 20, 2001. That is the longest stretch between visits at the Coliseum by a team…The Islanders won their first day game of the season…The Islanders won their third game when trailing after two periods...This was the Islanders' first home win against San Jose since February 17, 1996...Andy Sutton left the game late in the third period with a hamstring injury and did not return. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow...Blake Comeau was boarded in the third period by leading to a five-minute power play. Comeau did not return, but said he was fine after the game...For the second time in as many games, fans can go to a Long Island Wendy's and redeem a free bowl of chili today or tomorrow thanks to the Islanders scoring at least three goals in the game.
Play of the Game:Freddy Meyer, more known for his quick skates and defensive prowess, showed the scoring touch today at the Coliseum. And it couldn’t have come a better time. At 11:19 of the third period, with the score in a 2-2 deadlock after the Islanders streaked back from being down 2-0, Meyer broke down the right boards and into the Sharks' zone. He let loose a laser that ripped the far side corner over goaltender Evgeni Nabokov's right shoulder. His second of the season was more importantly the third goal for the Islanders, which ended up being the eventual game winner of the exciting contest in Nassau.
Fan of the Game:Christina, age 2 has been an Islanders fan her whole life. Her parents say her favorite player is Richard Park. Christina and her family traveled all the way from New Jersey.
KIDS' DAY, TOO: It was Kids' Day, Too at the Nassau Coliseum…Today's kid announcers were Johnny Campbell, Analena Holihan and Sal Ruffino. The three kids announced the goals, introduced the players and assisted in-game host CJ Papa…Mascots from around Long Island and the NHL came to help Sparky entertain the crowd…Z100's Greg T the Frat Boy served as the referee during the mascot game in the second intermission…
Eric Shaw, a writer for SpongeBob SquarePants was in the Coliseum concourse discussing the creation process of his show…Today's National Anthem Singer was LIPA I want to be an Energy Star winner Vinny Lopez. Accompanying Vinny was the American Sign Language students from Massapequa Hight School …Today's Mites on Ice were the Port Washington Edge...Kids attending the game thanks to RexCorp Islanders Inspire helped drop the ceremonial first puck...Following the game, thousands of fans made their way onto the ice to take part in a post-game shootout on the Coliseum nets. Along with taking shots on NHL goals, players, including Chris Campoli and Sean Bergenheim, greeted the Islanders' youngest fans and signed autographs.
Vinny Lopez.and the American Sign Language students
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab for complete coverage of tonight’s game.
11 Andy Hilbert - 89 Mike Comrie - 13 Bill Guerin
26 Ruslan Fedotenko - 63 Josef Vasicek – 7 Trent Hunter
15 Jeff Tambellini – 51 Frans Nielsen – 57 Blake Comeau
20 Sean Bergenheim – 10 Richard Park – 81 Miroslav Satan
Goaltenders 20 Evgeni Nabokov
1 Thomas Greiss
3 Douglas Murray - 44 Marc-Edouard Vlasic
10 Christian Ehrhoff - 4 Kyle McLaren
18 Matt Carle - 52 Craig Rivet
9 Milan Michalek - 19 Joe Thornton - 14 Jonathan Cheechoo
46 Mike Iggulden - 8 Joe Pavelski - 26 Steve Bernier
34 Patrick Rissmiller – 17 Torrey Mitchell - 25 Mike Grier
45 Jody Shelley - 11 Marcel Goc - 27 Jeremy Roenick
Additional Reporting by Andrew Scharff and Chris Musto
NYLI HONDA ROAD TRIP EXPERIENCE
Since the start of the 2007-2008 Islanders season, fans have been invited to enter the “NYLI Honda Road Trip Experience” at www.newyorkislanders.com. This online contest allowed one (1) lucky fan the chance to win a trip for four (4) to an Islanders road game. The trip includes round-trip airfare aboard the Islanders team charter flight, hotel accommodations at the team hotel and four (4) tickets to the road game. After several months and over 1,500 entries, the winner of the 2007-2008 “NYLI Honda Road Trip Experience” is…Ryan Tendrup of Miller Place NY.
Tendrup, 20 years old, has been an Islanders fan ever since he can remember. “I went to my first game when I was about 8. I remember I used to go to a lot of the Isles-Devils games. They were my favorite.” Ryan is extremely excited about joining the team to Washington for the February 20th game against the Capitals and greatly appreciates the opportunity NYLI Honda and the New York Islanders have provided. “I think it’s a great way to give something back to the loyal Islanders fans on Long Island.” Tendrup will be bringing along three of his friends, who share a love for hockey and the Islanders.