The Islanders were in the need for a little home cooking after spending the past 14 of 17 games on the road.
They got just that thanks to a Frans Nielsen overtime winner 24 seconds into extra frame lift the Isles over the Boston Bruins, 3-2, in front of 13,744 fans at the Nassau Coliseum.
After a Boston turnover in the Islanders zone, Blake Comeau sent a lead pass to Nielsen who skated in all alone on Boston goaltender Tim Thomas. Nielsen used his patented shootout move by turning to his backhand at the very last second, and lifted the puck over a sprawled Thomas to seal the Islanders victory.
It was great. Ive been struggling a little bit lately, so its going to give me a little confidence, Nielsen said after the game.
Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon was pretty confident once he knew it was Nielsen that was challenging Thomas one-on-one.
I didnt know who it was at first, and then when I saw the 51 I thought, This is going in, Gordon said. He obviously excels in that area and its good to see. It was a heck of a play by Blake (Comeau). As nice of a goal that Fransie made, you cant make it unless that pass gets to him.
The Islanders started things off on the power play, as Rob Schremp scored his first career NHL goal at 3:58 of the first period to give the Islanders a one-goal lead. With Boston serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice, the Isles power play, which has scored in the past two straight games took to work.
With Matt Moulson in front of Boston goaltender Tim Thomas, Kyle Okposo fired a slapshot from the blue line that Moulson deflected. After a few whacks at the puck, the biscuit ended up at the left post, which Schremp jumped on, banked off of Thomas skated and past the goal line for the 1-0 lead.
It was good to see the puck go past the line, Schremp said. I havent scored a goal in almost a year. For a guy thats used to scoring goals, it was a big relief.
Michael Ryder tied the score at 1-1 with 5:37 left to play in the first period with his eighth goal of the season. As David Krejci crossed the blue line into the Islanders zone, he dropped it off to Ryder. After receiving the pass from his linemate, Ryder wasted no time in firing a well-placed wrist shot over the glove hand of Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson to pul the Bruins even with the Islanders.
Boston thought they had taken a 2-1 lead with 1:41 left to play in the first period, however Marco Sturm batted the puck in with a stick above the crossbar. After a formal review of the play, the officials confirmed the call on the ice and ruled it no goal.
The roles were reversed for both teams in the second period. While Islanders struck first in the opening period, it would be Boston who got the first crack on the second period scoresheet.
David Krejci gave Boston a one-goal lead midway through the second period with his fifth goal of the season. The play started following a turnover in which the puck bounced over Blake Comeaus stick along the Isles blue line.
Vladimir Sobokta jumped on the puck following the turnover and brought the attack into the Isles zone. He fed the puck off to Michael Ryder, which created a 2-on-1 situation in front of Roloson. Ryder fed it off to Krejci who deposited the puck behind Roloson for the 2-1 Bruins lead.
Matt Moulson answered back for the Islanders with 5:18 left in the second period to tie the game it 2-2. John Tavares started the play off behind the Bruins net with a incredible behind-the-back centering pass to his childhood friend. Moulson one timed Tavares pass, which was deflected by a Boston defenseman over the shoulder of Boston goaltender Tim Thomas for his 15th goal of the season.
I heard him calling, so I kind of knew he was there, Tavares said. I know how Matt likes to go to the net.
Moulsons 15th goal now puts him in a tie for the team lead with Tavares.
Both teams finished the third period scoreless thanks in part to a tremendous 17-save performance by Roloson. However, the Islanders nearly came away with a goal late in the final frame. Tavares pounced on a rebound off a Trent Hunter slapshot and had an empty net staring him right in the face. However, Boston defensean Dennis Wideman saved the game for his team by sliding in front of Tavares shot and blocking it aside.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Frans Nielsen, NYI: Game winning goal 2. Rob Schremp, NYI: Scored first NHL goal 3. Michael Ryder, BOS: Goal, assist Honorable Mention: Dwayne Roloson, NYI - Made 17 saves in the third period, and 30 overall to keep his team in the game.
Slapshots: Boston outshot the Islanders, 32-19...Mark Streit led all Islanders with 29:08 of ice time...Trent Hunterled all Islanders with 4 shots on goal...Islanders were 1-for-2 on the power play, while Boston was unsuccessful on three man advantage...Sean Bergenheim (rib), Andy Sutton (groin), and Jeff Tambellini (healthy) were the Islanders scratches...This was the third meeting this season between both teams and the first at the Nassau Coliseum, with the Islanders holding a 1-0-1 advantage over Boston so far...Islanders hold an all-time record of 50-66-24 against the Bruins.
Home Sweet Home: The Islanders were more than happy to be skating on Coliseum ice after a long road stretch that saw them play 14 of 17 games away from Long Island. Saturdays game was the first of nine games out of the next 12 that theyll skate at the Nassau Coliseum. Theyll also stay close to home as two of the three road games will be at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. The Islanders now boast a 7-3-2 record at home, and Frans Nielsen knows how confident the team is at the Coliseum, We know were a great hockey team at home.
16 Marco Sturm - 37 Patrice Bergeron - 28 Mark Recchi
61 Byron Bitz - 91 Marc Savard - 26 Blake Wheeler
73 Michael Ryder - 46 David Krejci - 60 Vladimir Sobotka
22 Shawn Thornton - 20 Daniel Paille - 27 Steve Begin
33 Zdeno Chara - 53 Derek Morris
21 Andrew Ference - 6 Dennis Wideman
55 Johnny Boychuk - 48 Matt Hunwick
30 Tim Thomas
40 Tuukka Rask
1 - 0 NYI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 BOS
2 - 2 Tie