After losing a three-goal lead to the Thrashers, Hunter tallies game-winner in overtime
The Islanders didn't make it easy for themselves, but they found a way to pick up two important points at Philips Arena on Thursday night. Early in the second period it was 3-0 Islanders, but the Atlanta Thrashers stormed back to make it a 3-3 game. The Islanders ultimately needed an overtime winner from Trent Hunter to defeat the Thrashers 5-4 in overtime.
"It would have been very disheartening to lose that game," said head coach Ted Nolan. "The way they surrendered the lead was hardest to take. Fortunately for us we found a way to win. In the end people don't ask how, but how many."
Mike Comrie tallied two goals for the Islanders, while Josef Vasicek and Trent Hunter chipped in with a goal and an assist each.
"Vasicek, Hunter and Fedotenko have been our best line since they've been put together," said Nolan. "They're all starting to come together and find their game."
Atlanta scored three consecutive goals in the second period, including one on a penalty shot, while shorthanded. The Islanders power play went 0-for-5 in the game.
"Our power play was more beneficial to them," said Nolan. "I don't know how many times we have to teach it. We just have to be patient with it and keep going over the basics."
Comrie scored at 9:15 of the opening frame for a 1-0 Islanders advantage. The newest Islander, Rob Davison, sent a two-line pass up to Comrie for a breakaway. The center made a series of moves on Kari Lehtonen before the puck slid over the line. It was Davison's first point as an Islander in his second game with the team.
Vasicek added to the lead when he faked out Lehtonen following a nice feed from Trent Hunter, 2:11 later.
The Islanders took a 3-0 lead at 1:02 of the second period. Comrie started the play in the defensive zone by throwing the puck up to Bill Guerin, who flipped a backhander to a streaking Bryan Berard. The rushing defenseman slid a pass across to Andy Hilbert for tap-in goal.
Atlanta cut the lead to 3-1 when Eric Perrin was rewarded a penalty shot while shorthanded at 3:53 of the second period. On the penalty shot, Perrin made a sneaky move to the backhand, but then went to his forehand for the score.
Ken Klee's slapper beat Rick DiPietro for a 3-2 game with 3:14 remaining in the second period. Atlanta then tied the game at three when Alexei Zhitnik's one-timer went to the upper corner 1:14 later.
Comrie's second goal of the game and 20th of the season regained the lead for the Islanders. After a failed clearing attempt by Atlanta, Berard found Comrie in the slot for a perfectly placed wrist shot, 3:17 into the third period.
Bobby Holik tied the game at four with 1:22 remaining in the third period on a screened shot from the high slot.
In the overtime period, Vasicek intercepted Klee's pass and whipped the puck in front to Hunter, who made no mistake for his ninth of the season at 1:09 of the overtime.
"We let them back in, but we were able to keep battling and get the extra point," said Hunter. "Jo made a great play to cause a turnover and then made a great pass. I was excited to able to get it in. It was huge to get two points. Every point is crucial now.
The next two Islanders games will be at the Nassau Coliseum. On Saturday, the Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers at 2 pm on Fan Appreciation Day. On Sunday, it's the Allstate Core of the Four Celebration as the Islanders take on the Florida Panthers. The Walk of Champions begins at 2 pm from the Marriott Hotel.
Five Stars of the Game: 1. Mike Comrie: Two goals, created plays all over the ice, 7 shots 2. Trent Hunter: Tallied the must-needed game-winner, assist 3. Josef Vasicek: Played over 20 minutes, assisted on the game-winner, assist, 5 shots 4. Eric Perrin: Scored the season's 15th penalty shot goal, assist 5. Bill Guerin: Assist, +2, 5 shots
Stat of the Game: The Islanders out-shot the Thrashers 26-14 in the first and third periods combined. Atlanta scored three goals on nine shots in the second period.
Slapshots: Frans Nielsenleft the game in the second period with a shoulder injury and did not return. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow…Brendan Witt is close to returning and could be back as early as Saturday, when the Islanders host the Flyers at 2 pm…The Islanders earned points in three of four games against the Thrashers this season…Mike Comrie took over the team lead in goals with his 20th.
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab for complete coverage 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
32 Kari Lehtonen
1 Johan Hedberg
17 Ilya Kovalchuk - 12 Todd White - 8 Mark Recchi
13 Slava Kozlov - 16 Bobby Holik - 10 Bryan Little
9 Erik Christensen - 11 Eric Perrin - 19 Colby Armstrong
23 Jim Slater - 27 Chris Thorburn - 36 Eric Boulton
FAN APPRECIATION DAY
Fan Appreciation Day, when the Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers at 2 pm, will honor the greatest fans in the NHL. As a thank you, the Islanders organization will be giving away hundreds of prizes all game long. Several of the Core of the Four Alumni will be attending our annual Fan Appreciation Day Game. Kids will also be treated to a post-game on ice puck shootout.
On the Nassau Coliseum ice there will be a presentation for the winner of Bill Guerin's Chopper motorcycle, which was auctioned off at newyorkislanders.com.
All fans in attendance will receive a team poster, courtesy of Valtech.
Click here to purchase tickets to Fan Appreciation Day on March 1, when the Islanders take on the Philadelphia Flyers.
SUNDAY: WALK OF CHAMPIONS!
Join the "Core of the Four" Islanders legends at 2:00 pm on Sunday for the spectacular procession from the Marriott to the Nassau Coliseum
Two years ago when the Islanders celebrated the 1980 Stanley Cup Championship team, no one could have anticipated the spectacular that occurred as the players made their way from the Marriott Hotel to the Nassau Coliseum. For anyone involved, it was an event that will never be forgotten.
"We had no idea what to anticipate when we had the Walk of Champions for the last celebration, but it turned out to be one of the highlights from the entire event," said Bryan Trottier. "I've always said that we have the greatest fans in the world, so to have the opportunity to walk among them is a privilege for all of us."
The Islanders have organized another Walk of Champions for this weekend's Allstate Core of the Four weekend. On Sunday, March 2 at 2 pm, the Core of the Four members will precede from the Marriott to the Nassau Coliseum as thousands of fans cheer on their Dynasty legends.
"The Islanders have put in a lot of hard work to make this event as monumental as possible for everyone," said Mike Bossy. "The whole group is looking forward to hearing and seeing the fans on Sunday.
It's going to be special."
Playing anchor of the event will be captain Denis Potvin, who will have the honor of carrying the Stanley Cup into the Nassau Coliseum.
Fans will want to get to this event early because the Coliseum plaza will fill up quickly, as it did two years ago.
A 3:00 pm on-ice ceremony celebrating the Core of the Four will precede the Islanders-Florida Panthers game.
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1 - 0 NYI
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2 - 0 NYI