The Islanders used their shorthanded prowess to knock off the Rangers on Election Day by the score of 2-1 at Madison Square Garden. Nate Thompson and Richard Park each scored while a man down, giving the Islanders a league-leading six shorthanded goals on the season. Joey MacDonald made 35 saves for his second-straight win.
"We weathered the storm in the first two periods," said Head Coach Scott Gordon. "Our penalty kill and goaltender bailed us out. I tell our penalty killers to be aggressive and take away time and space. I tell them if they have the opportunity to score a goal, then goal score a goal. As for our goaltender, he's loving this opportunity. He never expected to be playing this much. Fortunately he's playing well."
It was exciting night at the Garden, as the Islanders looked to capitalize on the momentum they gained with their overtime win on Monday against Columbus. On Tuesday night, the Islanders showed fight, with players like Jeff Tambellini taking part in some fisticuffs.
"This was a huge win after the stretch we had," said MacDonald. "We just weren't getting the bounces the past few games. Tonight we were out-shot by a lot but we stuck to our game plan and capitalized on our chances. I'd rather be at my end than have only four or five shots a period. They put some pressure on us in the second period, but our defense had some big blocks."
MacDonald was the story for the first two periods, stopping 29 shots after 40 minutes, including a tough save at the end of the second period on a Scott Gomez one-timer. The Islanders had 12 shots through two periods. The Islanders were out-shot 36-19 in the game.
Gordon called a key timeout during the second period, with the Rangers carrying much of the play.
"I called it just to give the team a chance to rest," said Gordon. "The Rangers had sustained pressure."
The third period could have gone the Rangers' way as they earned two power plays in the first seven minutes. But instead, the Islanders went on the offensive while shorthanded.
With Mark Streit off early in the third for tripping, Islanders center Thompson jump-started a 2-on-1 with Frans Nielsen. Thompson fed Nielsen, who took a shot off the post. With the puck still in mid-air, Thompson knocked it over the sprawling Henrik Lundqvist at 3:18 of the third period.
"It was great feeling on the bench after the goal," said Thompson. "The team was lifted from it. We have a lot of resilience and character on this team."
On the next Rangers’ power play, Park's individual effort put the Islanders up 2-0. Park intercepted a cross ice pass and broke in all alone. Like he did last year while skating down two men, Park fired a high wrist shot over Lundqvist at the 8:00 mark of the third period.
Markus Naslund would cut the lead to 2-1 with 1:41 left in the game, but that is as close as they would get.
Three Stars of the Game: 1. Joey MacDonald: Stood on his head to keep the Islanders in the game 2. Richard Park: Three shots on goal, 3:12 shorthanded time on ice 3. Nate Thompson: 4 hits, 4:08 shorthanded time on ice Honorable Mention: Frans Nielsen: On the ice for both shorthanded tallies, team-leading 4 shots
Slapshots: Nate Thompson recorded his first career NHL point... Frans Nielsen has five points in 12 games this season, after recording three points last season... The Islanders have an NHL-high six shorthanded goals in 12 games this season. Last season, they had 10 in 82 games.
93 Doug Weight - 13 Bill Guerin - 21 Kyle Okposo
15 Jeff Tambellini - 51 Frans Nielsen - 7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park - 89 Mike Comrie - 16 Jon Sim
49 Mitch Fritz - 45 Nate Thompson - 11 Andy Hilbert
30 Henrik Lundqvist
40 Steve Valiquette
5 Dan Girardi – 6 Wade Redden
27 Paul Mara – 18 Marc Staal
3 Michal Rozsival – 45 Dmitri Kalinin
91 Markus Naslund – 19 Scott Gomez –24 Ryan Callahan
10 Nigel Dawes – 23 Chris Drury – 25 Petr Prucha
34 Aaron Voros – 17 Brandon Dubinsky –13 Nikolai Zherdev
20 Fredrik Sjostrom – 15 Blair Betts – 28 Colton Orr
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI
2 - 1 NYI
Interference - Goalkeeper