Josh Bailey continued his hot streak, scoring a goal and two assists, extending his scoring streak to six games and leading the Islanders to a 5-4 shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. Dwayne Roloson was back in goal making 25 saves as he was named the game’s first star. Blake Comeau, Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit also scored for the Islanders who improve their record to 19-19-8, giving them 46 points.
Phoenix opened the scoring three minutes into the game on a power-play goal by Ed Jovanovski. Matthew Lombardi and Keith Yandle had assists on Jovanovski’s eighth goal of the season.
In the final three minutes of the first period, the Islanders would even and take the lead at 2-1.
Islanders’ defenseman Andrew MacDonald started a rush out of the Islanders’ defensive zone, leading Rob Schremp through the neutral zone with a pass. Schremp was pressured by a Coyote forward at the top of the Phoenix zone and left the puck for Comeau to collect, spring him in alone on Coyotes’ goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov. Comeau quickly snapped a shot over Bryzgalov’s glove for his fifth tally of the season, tying the score at 1-1.
With 17 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Okposo made it 2-1 in favor of the Islanders. John Tavares led the play into the Phoenix zone and dropped the puck for Okposo while he drove to the net. Tavares took a blatant elbow to the face and went down drawing a power-play. Okposo held onto the puck along the left-wing boards and danced around a Coyotes defenseman before ripping a shot past Bryzgalov’s glove side. Josh Bailey also had an assist on Okposo’s ninth goal of the season, giving him the team lead in scoring with 30 points.
Jovanovski received a five-minute major for elbowing and a game-misconduct for his elbow on Tavares who returned for the second period.
Streit and Bailey buried power-play goals, 35 seconds apart in almost the same fashion. Martin Hanzal and Adrian Aucoin were in the penalty-box, Hanzal for slashing and Aucoin for cross-checking, giving the Islanders a 5-on-3 advantage. Josh Bailey won a face-off to Tavares, stationed along the left-wing wall, who sent a cross-ice pass to Streit at the right point where he unloaded a slap-shot past the glove of Bryzgalov for his fifth goal of the season.
Bailey would follow that up, after Hanzal’s penalty was wiped out from Streit’s goal, with his eleventh tally of the season to give him points in each of the Islanders last six games. Schremp settled the power-play down and fed a pass to Bailey at the top of the right circle where he fired a shot past the Bryzgalov to take a 4-1 lead for the Islanders.
Paul Bissonnette started the Phoenix comeback 5:30 into the third period with his third goal of the season. The Coyotes would then pull within a goal and then tie the score at four, all coming on Bruno Gervais’ four-minute high-sticking penalty. Taylor Pyatt tallied his eighth of the season and then Peter Mueller tied the score at 4-4 a minute later.
Neither team could find the game-winner the rest of the way and the contest went to overtime and then an eventual shootout.
The two teams were tied after three rounds after Frans Nielsen and Bailey matched Coyote shooters Robert Lang and Lauri Korpikoski. Both Roloson and Phoenix goalie Jason LaBarbera stopped the next two shooters they saw until Matt Moulson ripped his attempt past the Phoenix replacement to give the Islanders the second point in the standings.
The Islanders outshot the Coyotes 30-29 and went 2-for-5 on the power-play and 4-for-5 on the penalty-kill.
The Islanders will return home tonight to prepare to take on the defending Western Conference Champion Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. from the Nassau Coliseum. For tickets or information on how to receive discounted tickets, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Josh Bailey – Scores a goal and two assists
2. Dwayne Roloson – Makes 25 saves to earn his 17th win of the season
3. Paul Bissonnette – Drives the net in the third period and gets his team the momentum to tie the score
Honorable Mention: John Tavares – Although he still has not scored a goal, Tavares is drawing penalties and going to the net, which is opening up chances for the Islanders
Juggling the Lines: Halfway through the first period, Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon decided to mix up the Islanders forward lines to try and give his team an offensive jump. He put Josh Bailey on the wing with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo and moved Blake Comeau back with Rob Schremp and Jon Sim. The move paid off as Schremp’s line produced the first goal to tie the score and then Okposo gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead.
A Return…Somewhat: Freddy Meyer not only returned to the Islanders lineup tonight but he also made a return to Phoenix where he briefly spent a portion of the 2007-08 season playing. Meyer was placed on waivers that season and picked up by the Coyotes. He played in five games for Phoenix before the Coyotes placed him back on waivers and then the Islanders came back and picked him up. Meyer did play eight games with Phoenix’s AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, and scored two assists.
Former Mates: Islanders rookie defenseman, Andrew MacDonald dressed tonight for the first time in his career against the Phoenix Coyotes and wearing the opposing jersey was one of his former teammates with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL, Keith Yandle. MacDonald and Yandle played for the Wildcats in the 2005-06 season. Yandle was the team’s leading scorer among defenseman with 84 points (25 goals and 59 assists) in 66 games. MacDonald had 46 points (6 goals and 40 assists) that season, which was his rookie year in the QMJHL.
Career Years: Former Islander defenseman, Adrian Aucoin is now playing in his 15th NHL season and first with the Phoenix Coyotes. Aucoin played three years on Long Island, compiling 33 goals and 80 assists (113 points) in 235 games. He had a career year during the 2003-04 campaign, scoring 44 points. This year, Aucoin has 19 points (6 goals and 13 assists) in 45 games.
Defensemen 2 Mark Streit – 47 Andrew MacDonald
44 Freddy Meyer – 8 Bruno Gervais
25 Andy Sutton – 38 Jack Hillen
30 Dwayne Roloson (starter)
43 Martin Biron
29 Lauri Korpikoski – 19 Shane Doan – 15 Matthew Lombardi
16 Petr Prucha – 11 Martin Hanzel – 17 Radim Vrbata
14 Taylor Pyatt – 20 Robert Lang – 88 Peter Mueller
12 Paul Bissonnette – 38 Vernon Fiddler – 34 Daniel Winnik
55 Ed Jovanovski – 4 Zbynek Michalek
18 Sami Lepisto – 3 Keith Yandle
2 James Vandermeer – 33 Adrian Aucoin
30 Ilya Bryzgalov (starter)
1 Jason LaBarbera
1 - 0 PHX
1 - 1 Tie