Wade Dubielewicz made an incredible 51 saves Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum, but it wasn't enough as the Islanders dropped a 4-3 decision in a shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I thought he was sensational again," said head Ted Nolan about his netminder. "He's a battler and every time we put him in he battles. He gave us a chance to win that game tonight."
Daniel Briere scored two goals, including the only one in the shootout as the Flyers moved into seventh place with 91 points. Antero Niittymaki made 27 saves for his first win against the Islanders this season.
"They've got a good hockey club," said Nolan. "They tried to take advantage of our young defensemen and they jammed the net. They wore us out a little bit. I give all the kids from Bridgeport a lot of credit. They put a lot of miles and games in the last little while. They give us energy, so give them credit. But the human body can only last so long."
Tim Jackman, Matthew Spiller and Steve Regier played their fourth game in four nights after playing two games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are in the middle of a playoff run in the AHL.
It was 2-1 Islanders heading into the second period on goals by Richard Park and Blake Comeau. The Islanders also led 3-2 late in the third period on Frans Nielsen's goal, but Mike Richards scored in the final five minutes of regulation to push the game into overtime.
"They brought everything they had in the second period," said Dubielewicz, who made 22 stops in the middle. "It was pretty tough to hold them back. You expected it again in the third, but they kind of cooled off until we scored again. It was unfortunate that we lost. I thought we played the way we had to play to win. In the shootout anything can happen."
The Islanders squandered nearly four minutes of power play time in the overtime period with the Islanders holding a 4-on-3 man-advantage. The Islanders failed to convert on four power plays, while the Flyers scored on their lone man-advantage.
Park got the Islanders on the board first in the opening period. After Aaron Johnson's clearing pass missed everyone, Niittymaki mishandled the puck, giving Park an opportunity to chip the puck over the fallen goaltender for a 1-0 Islanders lead with 5:01 left in the first period.
The Islanders went up 2-0 on one the nicest goals of the season at the Coliseum, 7:43 into the second period. Kyle Okposo entered the offensive zone and threw a pass over to Park, who then found Comeau on the opposite side for a wide open net. The goal was Comeau's eighth of the season.
Daniel Briere cut the lead to 2-1 with a power play goal at 15:24 of the second period. The Flyers tied the game at two in the third period. Joffrey Lupul tallied his 19th goal of the season at 3:22 of the third period.
Just past the midway point of the third period, Nielsen made it 3-2 Islanders with a wrist shot from the left circle. Freddy Meyer assisted on Nielsen's second goal of the season.
Richards tied the game with 4:22 remaining, forcing overtime.
In the shootout, Nielsen, Okposo and Park failed to score before Briere deked out Dubielewicz for the clincher.
The Islanders' final three games come against the New York Metro teams. On Tuesday, the Islanders host the New Jersey Devils and then take on the Rangers at home on Thursday. The Islanders close out the season on Friday at Madison Square Garden.
ISLANDERS RIVALRY PACK
Be there as the Islanders take on the Devils on Tuesday and the Rangers on Thursday for the final two home games of the season. Pack includes 1 ticket to each game for only $85 (save up to $35)! Call 1.800.882.ISLES, Ext. 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five Stars of the Game
1. Daniel Briere: Has scored three goals in the past three games against the Islanders 2. Wade Dubielewicz: Put on a show-stopping performance in the losing effort 3. Mike Richards: Increased his team-leading point total to 74 4. Richard Park: Once again a spark for the Islanders after winning the Bob Nystrom Award 5. Blake Comeau: Finished off one of the nicest goals the Islanders have scored this season; another strong effort from the Park-Comeau-Okposo line
Stat of the Game: The Islanders were out-shot 54-30
Slapshots:Blake Comeau scored his first NHL goal on home ice…The Flyers took an opponent season-high 23 shots in a period in the second…Wade Dubielewicz set a career high with 51 saves…Dubielewicz dropped to 6-1 in overtime and the shootout…Dubie is now 4-1 in the shootout
Kickbutt Fans of the Game: Ethan and Corey from Massapequa came to the game wearing the colors of their favorite team. Despite the Islanders not going to the playoffs this season they say their "is no other way" to go to an Islanders game. Ethan and Corey are big fans of the Isles goalies Wade Dubielewicz and Rick DiPietro.
Game Operations: Prior to the drop of the puck, Freddy Meyer presented a check for $21,000 to the Special Olympics of the New York/Long Island Region representative Anthony Mercogliano…The Islanders donated 5% of tonight's ticket sales to the Special Olympics...Richard Park was presented the 2008 Bob Nystrom Award by Islanders Booster Club representative Claire Harding and Mr. Islander himself, Bob Nystrom…Junior Ice Girl Capogna from Farmingdale entertained the crowd with her skating rendition the song "Car Wash" during the first intermission.
34 Wade Dubielewicz
60 Mike Mole
6 Matthew Spiller - 24 Radek Martinek
44 Freddy Meyer - 3 Rob Davison
4 Bryan Berard – 2 Aaron Johnson
Goaltenders 30 Antero Niittymaki
43 Martin Biron
5 Braydon Coburn - 44 Kimmo Timonen
26 Jaroslav Modry - 21 Jason Smith
6 Randy Jones - 28 Lasse Kukkonen
9 Scottie Upshall - 17 Jeff Carter - 22 Mike Knuble
15 Joffrey Lupul - 48 Daniel Briere - 19 Scott Hartnell
25 Patrick Thoresen - 18 Mike Richards - 27 Steve Downie
24 Sami Kapanen - 34 Jim Dowd - 32 Riley Cote
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI
2 - 1 NYI