Dwayne Roloson did it again, turning aside 30 shots from the Colorado Avalanche to lead the Islanders to a 3-2 victory. They needed late game heroics from Kyle Okposo, who tallied his seventh goal of the season on a three-on-two break, when he snapped a shot over the shoulder of Colorado starter Craig Anderson with under five minutes to play in regulation time.
The game was a constant highlight reel with Roloson making several big saves on back-door plays and opportunities from right in the slot. His best came about half-way through the third period when he misplayed a puck in the corner and it wound up on Avalanche forward Darcy Tucker’s stick. Tucker fed Matt Duchene at the back-post for what should have been an easy tap in goal but Roloson dove across to snatch it out of mid-air.
On the other end Rob Schremp created what could be one of the top goals of the season and one you will see on highlight reels in the near future. With the Islanders on the power-play, Frans Nielsen took a pass at the left-point and fired a slap-shot on Anderson that the Colorado goalie turned aside with his left shoulder. The puck fluttered into the air towards Schremp who was positioned at the bottom of the right circle. Schremp grabbed the puck out of the air, tossed it in front of him and batted it out of mid-air (below the cross-bar) and into the back of the net to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Mark Streit also had an assist on Schremp’s third goal of the season.
Colorado opened the scoring, 2:48 into the opening frame on a power-play goal from Chris Stewart. Milan Hejduk started the play at the left half-wall and feathered a pass to John-Michael Liles at the top of the center-point. The Avalanche defenseman one-timed a shot on goal that Stewart redirected past Roloson for his 13th goal of the season.
Jon Sim evened the score for the Islanders and paid the price for doing it. Josh Bailey dug the puck out from behind the net and fed a pass to Rob Schremp in the right circle. Schremp looked up and snapped a shot on Avalanche net-minder Craig Anderson with his line-mate, Sim, screening. Sim was turned looking for the rebound and took Schremp’s shot in the back. He grimaced but before he could reach down to grab the painful spot, he slammed the puck under Anderson to tie the score at 1-1 with his seventh tally of the season.
Okposo would win the game for the Islanders late in the third period when he skated into the Avalanche zone untouched, snapping a shot as his passing lane was blocked by a sliding Colorado defenseman, over the glove of Anderson. Andrew MacDonald had the lone assist on the tally.
The Islanders finished the contest 1-for-2 on the power-play and 2-for-3 on the penalty-kill.
On Friday, the Islanders will continue their three-game road trip when they travel to the Lone Star state and take on the Dallas Stars at 8:30 p.m. They will conclude the trip the following night against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ. Face-off is set for 8 p.m.
The Islanders will return home in preparation for their one and only meeting with the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, Jan. 12. For tickets or information on how to receive group discounted tickets, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Dwayne Roloson – Was a human highlight reel tonight stopping 30 shots
2. Robbie Schremp – Scored one of the prettiest goals you will ever see
3. Matt Hendricks – Ties the game in the third period by driving to the net
Honorable Mention: Kyle Okposo – Quietly has tied John Tavares and Matt Moulson for the team lead in points with 28
Red Eye: MSG PLUS color commentator Billy Jaffe was in Chicago last night working the Blackhawks game against the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks beat the Wild 4-1 and as Jaffe was finished with the Vs. telecast, he jumped in a cab and traveled to the airport. His plane left in the early morning (late night) and he arrived in Colorado in time to meet the team bus and go to the pregame skate for tonight’s game.
Almost Identical: Over the summer, the big question was who would Garth Snow select at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, John Tavares, Victor Hedman or Matt Duchene. In the end Snow went with Tavares and it has paid off as the rookie forward is tied for the team lead in scoring, coming into tonight’s match-up, with 16 goals and 12 assists (28 points). Duchene, tied with New Jersey Devils winger Niclas Bergfors, is one point behind Tavares in rookie scoring with 27 points (11 goals and 16 assists).
Mr. 400: Jon Sim played in his 400th career NHL game tonight and made it a memorable evening scoring the game’s first goal, his seventh of the season.
Common Ground: As Colorado was leaving the arena from the morning pregame skate, Paul Stastny, who was selected for the 2010 Winter Olympics with Team USA, met his future assistant coach who was hanging in the back hallway talking to several media members. Stastny introduced himself and mentioned how so many people were asking if he was excited and what he was looking forward to about the Olympics. Like Gordon has said in the past, Stastny had the same answer saying that he hasn’t had much time to think about it. Both are extremely proud and excited to represent their country but said, “they should ask me that question in a month and a half and I’ll have better answers, right now I have about 20 games to get through.”
Forwards 25 Chris Stewart – 26 Paul Stastny – 23 Milan Hejduk
39 T.J. Galiardi – 9 Matt Duchene – 8 WojtekWolski
16 Darcy Tucker – 37 Ryan O’Reilly – 59 Brandon Yip
55 Cody McLeod – 15 Matt Hendricks – 45 Chris Durno
Defensemen 44 Ryan Wilson – 52 Adam Foote
22 Scott Hannon – 10 Kyle Cumiskey
27 Kyle Quincey – 4 John-Michael Liles
41 Craig Anderson (starter)
31 Peter Budaj
1 - 0 COL
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NYI
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 NYI
Holding the stick