Josh Bailey capped off a wild game in Toronto in which Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson stopped 58 shots to give the Islanders a 4-3 win in overtime over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With time running out in the five-minute overtime period, Bruno Gervais sent a shot towards Toronoto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. The rebound kicked off of the Toronto netminder's pads and caroms to Sean Bergenheim. Bergenheim made Gustavsson commit to the shot, however that shot never came.
Bergenheim passed it off to a waiting Bailey who pounded the puck into the empty net to give the Islanders the 4-3 overtime win.
"Josh was in the right spot at the right time," Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon said. "But I think a lot of the credit has to go to Bergie. I can't say enough about his game tonight. He was probably our best forward tonight."
Even though it was Bailey who scored the winning goal, the story of the game belonged to Roloson.
The Islanders got into penalty trouble to start the period off as Kyle Okposo was nabbed for two separate minors in the first 5:30 of play. Luckily for the Islanders, they were able to fend off the fourth-best power play in the NHL to come out unscathed thanks to Roloson.
Roloson had his best save of the first period on Okposo's second of two penalties when newly-acquired Phil Kessel had a wide-open cage staring him in the face. However, the Islanders netminder slid from just past the center of the crease to the post to get in front of Kessel's shot.
Roloson stopped all 20 shots that he faced in the first period to keep the Islanders in the game as both teams were held scoreless.
"He's given us so much life this year, and he stood on his head for the last five minutes (of the first period) and kept us in there," Jeff Tambellini said of his goaltender.
The Islanders goaltender continued his stellar play in the second period, stopping 14 more shots. His best effort came on a point-blank save on a Mikhail Grabovski one-timer. As former Islander Jason Blake drew two Isles defensemen near him, he noticed an open Grabovski wide open. Blake threaded a pass to his centerman, only to be denied by a squared-up chest pad of Roloson.
"We're not going to kid ourselves, that game is not even that close if he didn't have that performance," Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon said.
Follwing that, Tambellini got the scoring started started 11:04 into the middle frame with his seventh goal of the year. Tambellini was the recipient of a perfect breakout pass from Mark Streit and skated in on Toronto starting goaltender Vesa Toskala. Thoughts of Tambellini’s shootout success immediately came to mind, as the Islanders winger skated in on Toskala and ripped a wrist shot over the shoulder of the Toronto netminder for the 1-0 lead.
"Well he's got unbelievable vision and found me right up the seam," Tambellini said of his defenseman, Streit. "He left me pretty far alone from there."
Matt Moulson immediately gave the Islanders a two-goal lead just 1:19 later with his 11th goal of the season. Trying to capitilize on Tambellini's marker, Hillen sent a wrist towards the Toronto net. Moulson, the "other" hometown kid, positioned himself perfectly right in front of Toskala and tipped it home to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead.
Then just 1:54 later, Bergenheim scored a short-handed goal to extend the Islanders lead to three goals. With Andy Sutton in the penalty box for holding, Bergenheim corralled a Toronto dump in and skated end-to-end into the Toronto zone. Knowing that Toskala was vulenerable, Bergenheim used Tomas Kaberle as a screen and sent a wrist shot past Toskala’s glove hand for the 3-0 Islanders lead.
Immediately following that, Kessel got the Maple Leafs on the board 1:15 later, scoring his sixth goal in 10 games to cut the score to 3-1. Tomas Kaberle drew three Islanders to a loose puck, who then passed it off to Matt Stajan with Brendan Witt the lone Islander back. Stajan then passed it off to an all-alone Kessel who had a wide open net to fire the puck past Roloson.
Gustavsson replaced Toskala in net for Toronto immediately following Kessel's goal and was not tested that much until the end of the game.
Wayne Primeau scored his second of the season just 2:10 into the third period. Primeau was in the right place at the right time, as an Ian White slapshot form the Toronto blueline bounced off a bunch of bodies in front of the Islanders net. But three blue sweaters just happened to be in front of Roloson. Primeau corralled the puck with his back to the net, and swung a backhander through Roloson's legs to cut the Islanders lead to 3-2.
Toronto completed the comeback midway through the third period, as Niklas Hagman scored his ninth of the season to bring the Maple Leafs even with the Islanders. Hagman stormed into the Islanders zone, shrugging off Freddy Meyer as he churned towards the Islanders net. Meyer couldn’t hold the Leafs winger off any more, as Hagman cut across the crease and slid the puck past a fallen Roloson for the 3-3 tie 9:18 into the third period.
Roloson stopped another 21 out of 23 shots in the third period to keep the Islanders in the game to earn a point. Three Stars of the Game:
1. Dwayne Roloson, NYI: Stopped a career-high 58 of 61 shots for the win. 2. Josh Bailey, NYI: Scored game winning goal. 3. Phil Kessel, TOR: Scored sixth goal in 10 games for Toronto. Honorable Mention: Jack Hillen: Assist, 23:33 of ice time in what was probably his best game in his young NHL career.
Slapshots: Toronto outshot the Islanders 61-21...The 61 shots against are the most the Islanders have ever given up in a game (previously 56 shots against, vs. Rangers, 3/5/07)...Colton Orr was the only Maple Leaf to not register a shot on goal for Toronto...Toronto was 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Islanders were scoreless on two man-advantages...Islanders scratches were Andrew MacDonald, Blake Comeau, and Rob Schremp (all healthy)...Islanders now hold an all-time record of 61-53-11 against the Maple Leafs.