New York Islanders forward Matt Moulson scored his first two goals of the preseason but Theoren Fleury’s shootout tally gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 victory over the Islanders. Trevor Smith and Blake Comeau each tallied a goal for the Islanders. Olli Jokinen scored twice for the Flames to go along with markers from Nigel Dawes and David Moss.
The Flames jumped on the board first at the 4:53 mark of the opening period. Nigel Dawes converted on a turnover at the Islander blue-line, taking a pass from Daymond Langkow and backhanding a shot past Islanders’ starter, Biron, for the 1-0 Calgary lead. Bailey would help the Islanders knot the score at 1-1 on a great individual effort, about six minutes later. Smith intercepted a breakout pass and fed Bailey in the high slot. The Islander center-man pulled the puck around a Flame defenseman and fed Smith cutting through the slot for the tap in goal past Kiprusoff.
A minute into the second period, Comeau would give the Islanders their first lead of the game. Kyle Okposo led a rush into the Calgary zone and feathered a pass to Radek Martinek at the top of the zone. Martinek drew a defenseman to him and sent a behind the back pass to Comeau who was trailing the play. Comeau snapped a one-time shot across the grain to the back post, beating Kiprusoff for his first goal of the preseason. The Islanders would take their first two-goal lead of the preseason at the 4:24 mark of the period while on the power play when Moulson snapped his first tally of the preseason past the blocker of Kiprusoff. Andrew MacDonald and Jack Hillen had the assists on Moulson’s goal to give the Islanders the 3-1 lead. Calgary forward, Jokinen would pull the Flames within a goal and then tie the score with two power-play markers, all within an eight minute span.
Moulson would put the Islanders back up by a goal, 3:10 into the third period while on the man-advantage. Hillen settled the play along the near boards before wristing a shot on goal. Moulson positioned himself in front of the net, causing traffic in front of Shantz. As the Calgary goalie made the initial save, the rebound came to Moulson who swept the puck around the Shantz’s pad for the 4-3 Islander lead. Moss would send the game to overtime, tipping a Jokinen shot from the right post past Kevin Poulin who replaced Biron halfway through the second period.
Both teams were held scoreless in the extra session, sending the game to a shootout. Fleury would score the lone goal of the shootout while Shantz stopped all three Islander attempts.
Biron and Poulin combined for 39 saves on 43 shots while Kiprusoff and Shantz made 18 saves on 22 shots. With the loss, the Islanders drop to 0-2-1 in the preseason.
The Islanders will return to Saskatoon tonight to continue their 2009 Training Camp and prepare for the weekend’s games against both the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night and the Flames on Sunday. The games are scheduled to start at 9 p.m. (ET) at the Credit Union Centre. The Islanders will play their first home preseason game at the Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.
Opening night is just around the corner, as the Islanders will get set to face-off against Sidney Crosby and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Individual tickets, group plans and season packages are still available by contacting the Islanders’ front office today at (516) 501-6700 or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
1. Olli Jokinen – Two goals and an assist
2. Matt Moulson – Scores first two goals with the Islanders
3. Nigel Dawes – Former Ranger haunts Islanders tonight with a goal and two assists
Honorable Mention: Jack Hillen – The offensive defenseman contributed with 2 assists
Okposo Diagnosis:Kyle Okposo was taken to the hospital immediately after he suffered the center-ice hit from Dion Phaneuf. He was diagnosed with a mild concussion after his cat scan was negative. He suffered several cuts and bruises to his face but is expected to make a full recovery.
The Hype: The buzz around the Pengrowth Saddledome this morning, shifted from the NHL preseason debut of John Tavares last night to the comeback journey that Theoren Fleury is on. The 15-year NHL veteran has not laced up a pair of skates since the 2002-03 season with the Chicago Blackhawks. The last form of professional hockey that Fleury played was for the Belfast Giants where he dressed in 34 games, scoring 22 goals and 52 assists for 74 points.
First Tally: The Islanders played the Flames one time last season and were beaten 5-2 but for one Islander, the night was unforgettable. Trevor Smith took the Saddledome ice for the first time tonight since that memorable night during his call-up from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers when he scored his first NHL goal. He returned to Calgary and scored the Islanders first goal of the contest on a pretty setup from Josh Bailey.
Worth the Wait: For some players, receiving the nod from the head coach to play in their first NHL exhibition game means a little more. Tonight for Islander forward Pascal Morency, he is that case. The Montreal, QC native began his pro career in the UHL, worked his way to the ECHL and has since been playing the last two seasons in the AHL with the Sound Tigers. Morency is a right-winger who has the ability to kill penalties, fight and get under his opponents skin. His work ethic never more evident than after Okposo took the big center ice hit. The 5’10 Morency jumped onto the ice after a line-change and went right after 6’3 Phaneuf to stand up for his fallen teammate.