It has been a tough couple of days for Islanders’ forward Kyle Okposo, battling back from the H1N1 virus to taking a late flight last night to meet up with his teammates, but when he snapped the game’s final shot past Carolina Hurricanes’ goalie, Manny Legace, the Islanders had a 4-3 overtime victory. John Tavares scored twice in the first period and Mark Streit also tallied his fourth goal of the season in the opening frame. The Islanders improve to 7-6-6 this season, giving them 20 points and putting them in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Carolina defenseman, Tim Gleason took a two-minute penalty for cross-checking and an extra two for unsportsmanlike conduct, two minutes into the game, putting the Islanders on the man-advantage. With Scott Gordon’s top unit on the ice, John Tavares put the Islanders ahead, 1-0. Kyle Okposo snapped a shot on goal that was deflected by Moulson over the net. The puck bounced back in front and before Hurricanes’ net-minder, Manny Legace could get back to his post, Tavares batted it in out of mid-air for his sixth goal of the season.
With the power-play time dropping to two minutes after Tavares’ tally, the Islanders cashed in on their extra time on the man-advantage. Mark Streit blasted a shot from the center point position that found its way through Legace to give the Islanders the 2-0 lead. Bruno Gervais and Richard Park had the assists on the goal coming at 5:45.
Tavares would increase the Islanders’ lead to 3-0 as Carolina defenseman Aaron Ward stepped out of the penalty box after serving a tripping penalty. Moulson started the play behind the net, centering the puck, as traffic converged on the crease. Trent Hunter was the first to try to jam the puck under the Hurricane net-minder, but Legace was able to redirect it to the left post. As the puck fluttered to the back post, Tavares was there to cash, lifting the puck over Legace for his second tally of the game coming at the five-minute mark of the opening frame.
Following the Islanders’ lead on the special teams, the Hurricanes converted on their first power-play opportunity in the second period when Tuomo Ruutu chipped a loose puck in front over Biron to cut the Islander lead to 3-1. Brandon Sutter and Bryan Rodney had the assists on Ruutu’s fifth goal of the season coming at 8:52 of the second period.
Eight minutes later, Carolina would cut the Islanders’ lead to 3-2 on Ray Whitney’s fifth goal of the season. Ward fed a cross ice pass to Andrew Alberts at the left point where he wristed a shot on goal through traffic. Whitney, parked in front, was able to redirect the shot past Islanders’ starter Martin Biron.
As the game headed to overtime, tied at 3-3, Carolina carried the momentum after storming back from a three goal deficit but it was Okposo’s snapper with 14 seconds remaining to win the game for the Islanders. Okposo intercepted a clearing attempt from the Hurricanes’ zone and walked in on a two-on-one. With the lone Carolina defenseman taking away Okposo’s passing lane, he turned his mind towards shooting and ripped a snap shot past Legace to win the game for the Islanders, 4-3.
Biron earned the win, his second of the season, turning away 25 of the 28 shots he faced while Legace stopped 21 of 25 Islander shots. The Islanders were 2-for-4 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
After constant pressure to find the game-tying goal in the third period, the Hurricanes finally put the equalizer past Biron to knot the game at three apiece. Tim Gleason stepped up from his right point position and fired a seeing-eye shot through Biron for his second marker of the season. Brandon Sutter and Chad LaRose had the assists on the goal coming at the 17:29 mark of the third period.
The Islanders will travel to Florida after the game and take on the Panthers Saturday night at 7 p.m. Following the game against Florida Saturday night, the Islanders will make their way to Boston to play game four of their current seven game road trip on Monday night at the TD BankNorth Garden. The Islanders next home game is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. when they face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time this season. For tickets or information on any upcoming Islander games, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Kyle Okposo – Scores the game-winner and tallies an assist
2. John Tavares – Records his second career two-goal game
3. Tuomo Ruutu – Buzzing all over the ice all night and scores a goal
Honorable Mention: Matt Moulson – Quietly adds to his team lead in scoring with two assists
Meet you in Carolina: From two different cities, Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau boarded flights and arrived last night, joining the team this morning for the skate. Comeau stayed an extra day in Washington to relax and try to gain his strength back after coming down with a slight illness. Okposo did not join the team at the start of the trip but flew from New York to Carolina after recovering from the H1N1 virus.
A True Legace: The Carolina Hurricanes started Manny Legace in goal for the second straight game tonight. The 10-year NHL veteran began the season with in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves are the AHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers but Legace was signed to a PTO (Professional Tryout Contract) on October 12 after he did not make an NHL team out of Training Camp. Legace has had a pretty distinguished career having won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in the 2001-02 season.
Three Game Extensions: Matt Moulson, John Tavares and Mark Streit all extended their current scoring streaks Friday night. Moulson, the team’s leading scorer now has two goals and three assists in the last three games. Tavares’ two goals tonight are added onto the three assists he has in the last three contests and Streit has two goals and two assists.
26 Matt Moulson – 91 John Tavares – 10 Richard Park
20 Sean Bergenheim – 51 Frans Nielsen – 21 Kyle Okposo
16 Jon Sim – 13 Rob Schremp – 7 Trent Hunter
57 Blake Comeau – 11 Nate Thompson – 28 Tim Jackman
2 Mark Streit – 8 Bruno Gervais
44 Freddy Meyer – 32 Brendan Witt
25 Andy Sutton – 38 Jack Hillen
43 Martin Biron (starter)
30 Dwayne Roloson
13 Ray Whitney – 16 Brandon Sutter – 26 Erik Cole
59 Chad LaRose – 17 Rod Brind’Amour – 14 Sergei Samsonov
15 Tuomo Ruutu – 8 Matt Cullen – 36 Jussi Jokinen
29 Tom Kostopoulos – 24 Scott Walker
25 Joni Pitkanen – 77 Joe Corvo
6 Tim Gleason – 41 Andrew Alberts
7 Niclas Wallin – 4 Aaron Ward
33 Bryan Rodney
34 Manny Legace
49 Michael Leighton
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI