Okposo's first NHL goal and Dubielewicz's stellar goaltending give Islanders a victory at "The Rock"
Friday night's game at the Prudential couldn't have played out much better for the Islanders. After taking only 14 shots on goal in the game's first 57 minutes, the Islanders were given one last opportunity to create some offense with their fifth power play opportunity. Ted Nolan went with the line of Richard Park, Blake Comeau and Kyle Okposo. The move paid off.
Park found Okposo in the slot for a quick shot past Martin Brodeur for his first NHL goal and a 2-1 Islanders lead with 2:35 to play. The Islanders would add an empty-netter to knock off the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils 3-1. Okposo finished with a goal and an assist in his second NHL game.
"I like the way he quick released," said Nolan about Okposo's goal. "He scored his first goal against one of the best goaltenders in the history of the game. For him to score his first goal against Brodeur, it's a good sign for him. I think the first game he was nervous and the second game he felt much more comfortable. He started doing some more good things with the puck. He was a little more patient. It was a good night for him."
When asked how it felt to score his first goal against Brodeur, Okposo replied, "Not bad at all. I grew up watching him. It was just nice to get the first one out of the way."
Not to be out-done by Okposo, Wade Dubielewicz was magnificent in goal, stopping 33 of 34 shots for his third consecutive win against the Devils.
It was a penalty and fight-filled game. The Islanders penalty kill unit was hard at work, thwarting six of seven New Jersey power plays.
The Devils killed off four of five Islanders power plays, but not the one that mattered most. Three fights also broke out. Bill Guerin took on David Clarkson in the second period, while Matthew Spiller fought Arron Asham and Josef Vasicek took on Rod Pelley in the third period.
"It feels good to get the win," said Nolan, who saw his Islanders snap a six-game losing streak. The effort was there. You got to see a lot of the young kids. Blake Comeau came up big for us again. "Dubielewicz battled for us again. It was a good night for those guys."
Comeau opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the left circle at 4:46 of the first period. Okposo and Bryan Berard earned the assists.
The Devils tied the game at one on the power play. Travis Zajac scored on a rebound with 6:14 remaining in the first period.
The Devils appeared to go up 2-1 in the second period on Sergei Brylin's backhand, but the goal was called back after replays revealed the net was knocked off its moorings.
After Okposo scored the go-ahead goal, Trent Hunter scored into the empty net for his 11th goal of the season.
The Devils out-shot the Islanders 35-18 in the game, including 10-5 in the third period.
Check out the Photo Gallery for a few angles of Okposo's first goal, plus him posing after the game with his pucks.
Five Stars of the Game 1. Kyle Okposo: Was one of the Islanders' best forwards, rewarded with 15:35 TOI, assist 2. Wade Dubielewicz: Saves his best for New Jersey, allowing only five goals against the Devils in his three starts 3. Radek Martinek: Helped out Dubie with 6 blocked shots, 25:40 TOI 4. Blake Comeau: Has been playing some of his best hockey of late, goal, 2 shots 5. Richard Park: Part of the best line of the night, set-up the game-winner
Stat of the Game: The Islanders were out-shot 25-11 in the first two periods
Slapshots: Bill Guerin skated in his 1,100 career NHL game…Wade Dubielewicz is 3-0-0 against New Jersey in his career...Bill Guerin participated in his third fight of the season and second against the Devils...Kevin Weekes replaced Martin Brodeur for 2:22 in the second period because of an equipment problem...The Islanders are 6-1-0 against New Jersey this season...On March 14, 2006, Jeff Tambellini recorded his first NHL goal against Martin Brodeur…The Islanders recorded their lowest shot total of the season.
6 Matthew Spiller - 24 Radek Martinek
44 Freddy Meyer - 3 Rob Davison
4 Bryan Berard – 2 Aaron Johnson
57 Blake Comeau – 10 Richard Park – 21 Kyle Okposo
15 Jeff Tambellini – 63 Josef Vasicek - 13 Bill Guerin
7 Trent Hunter – 89 Mike Comrie - 20 Sean Bergenheim
81 Miroslav Satan – 72 Jeremy Colliton – 48 Steve Regier
Goaltenders 30 Martin Brodeur
1 Kevin Weekes
2 Vitaly Vishnevski - 27 Mike Mottau
5 Colin White - 8 Sheldon Brookbank
7 Paul Martin - 29 Johnny Oduya
9 Zach Parise - 19 Travis Zajac - 15 Jamie Langenbrunner
18 Sergei Brylin - 10 Rod Pelly - 22 Arron Asham
20 Jay Pandolfo - 11 John Madden - 14 Brian Gionta
16 Dainius Zubrus - 17 Mike Rupp - David Clarkson
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab for complete coverage tonight’s game.
A Night For The Special Olympics
Join the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region for an exciting night with the Islanders, when they face Philadelphia on March 29; $50 seats for just $35
The Islanders are proud to team up with the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region. End mezzanine seats, valued at $50, are being sold for $35 to the Saturday, March 29 Islanders-Philadelphia Flyers game at the Nassau Coliseum.
A portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region.
The Special Olympics was founded to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community. Through their participation in Special Olympics athletes gain confidence and build a positive self-image, which carries into the classroom, the home, the workplace and the community.
Don't miss this special night. To purchase $50 tickets to the Islanders-Flyers game for just $35 and contribute to a great cause, please contact Anthony Mercogliano or Theresa Redlein at 631.254.1465 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your help!
Click here for more information about the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region.