de Haan scores in preseason debut but Edmonton takes 3-2 comeback victory over Islanders
Nathan Lawson was the story tonight for the Islanders, making 19 saves but it was not enough as Sheldon Souray’s goal and an assist would give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Islanders. Sam Gagner also had a goal and an assist to go along with Dustin Penner’s first tally of the preseason. Bruno Gervais and Calvin de Haan provided the offense for the Islanders, scoring both goals.
Gervais opened the scoring for the Islanders 6:39 into the first period. The play started deep in the Oilers zone where John Tavares and Doug Weight worked the puck back to Gervais at the right point. The Islander defenseman back-pedaled to the center point position and fired a shot that went through Dubnyk for his first goal of the preseason, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
In the second period, Lawson rode the momentum he had from the first period. The Calgary, Alberta native’s best save of the period came on a save pad save on Sam Gagner, sliding post-to-post to keep Edmonton scoreless after two periods of play.
Lawson’s shutout bid was broken seven minutes into the third period on Penner’s first tally of the preseason. Andrew Cogliano had the lone assist on the play, springing the 6’4 winger in alone from the left circle. Penner snapped a shot low to Lawson’s stick side that appeared to go off in off the right post, tying the score at one apiece. Edmonton would take their first lead of the contest 2:20 later. Gagner walked out from behind the net and backhanded a shot that redirected off a skate in front and through Lawson’s legs for the 2-1 Edmonton advantage.
de Haan would tie the score at 2-2 off a face-off in the Oilers’ zone. Casey Cizikas won the draw over to Nate Thompson along the left-wing boards. Thompson waited for the defenseman to commit to him before dishing the puck back to de Haan at the left point. The rookie defenseman took the space in front of him and used an Oiler defenseman as a screen, wristing a shot past Edmonton net-minder Jeff Deslauriers for his first goal of the preseason.
The Oilers would answer with less than three minutes remaining in regulation time when Souray banged a loose puck past Lawson to give Edmonton the 3-2 victory. Gagner had the only assist on Souray’s first tally of the preseason.
Lawson finished the contest making 19 saves on 22 shots while Dubnyk and Deslauriers combined for 23 saves on 25 shots.
The Islanders will return to action tomorrow night when they visit the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome. Face-off is set for 9 p.m. (ET). Do not miss your chance to see the Islanders on home ice at the Nassau Coliseum for the first time this season, Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. For tickets or information, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or visit ticketmaster.com today.
1. Sheldon Souray – Scores a goal and an assists and shatters two panes of glass in the process 2. Sam Gagner – Also tallies a goal and an assist 3. Nathan Lawson – An impressive effort in defeat stopping 19 of the 22 shots he faced
Remember Me: Both the Islanders and Oilers had former members of their respective clubs in the lineup tonight. For the Islanders, veteran leader Doug Weight played nine seasons with Edmonton. Over the course of his time with the Oilers, Weight tallied 577 points. Donning the number 12 for Edmonton tonight was the featured name in leaving the Islanders in the two team’s trade for Ryan Smyth. Nilsson has 71 points with the Oilers since the trade. Also in the trade was Oiler defenseman Denis Grebeshkov who was partnered with John Motin tonight.
DID YOU SEE THAT: Yes…it’s only the preseason and yes…it’s the first game of the year, but Nathan Lawson may have made the save of the year tonight. With seven minutes remaining in the first period, Edmonton’s leading scorer last season, Ales Hemsky had a wide open net staring him in the face. Hemsky snapped a shot while Lawson made a last ditch effort to stop the puck from heading to the back of the net. Lawson reached with his stick and batted the puck out of mid-air to keep the Oilers off the scoreboard in the opening frame.
Heads Up: At the 10:58 mark of the second period, Oiler defenseman Sheldon Souray stepped into a slap-shot at the top of the right circle that sailed wide but left a lasting remark. The puck broke the pane of glass, causing a 10-minute stoppage in the game. Souray would repeat the feat by blasting a one-time shot off a pass from Robert Nilsson, shattering his second pane of glass in a three-minute span.
Future Pairing: Islander head coach Scott Gordon chose to go with two youngsters on his blue-line tonight. Calvin de Haan and Travis Hamonic, each seeing in their first NHL action, played an impressive game. de Haan played with a sense of poise tonight, skating with confidence out of his own zone and also receiving some power-play minutes, setting the play up in the offensive zone. Hamonic, a bigger body in the WHL, did not back down from the highest level of hockey. Throughout the night he was seen throwing his body and out-muscling the Oiler forwards in his defensive zone.