Blake Comeau scored two goals, but a three-goal third period lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 4-3 victory over the Islanders Sunday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
The loss comes on the heels of a two-and-a-half week break as the NHL shuts down for business to send its players to the Winter Olympics, including Islanders defenseman Mark Streit (Switzerland) and Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon (USA).
"It's frustrating either way, it doesn't matter if we're on a break or not, we're in a playoff race," Comeau said. "It was a big two points for us."
Jarkko Ruutu got the Senators on the board 6:16 into the first period with his 10th goal of the season. Ottawa forward Chris Neil capitalized on a Sean Bergenheim turnover at the blue line and drove deep into the Islanders zone. Islanders goaltender Dwanye Roloson turned aside Neil's shot, however Ruutu trailed the play and pounced on the rebound. As Roloson sprawled to get in position, Ruutu fired the puck over the Islanders netminder for the 1-0 Ottawa lead.
Comeau evened things up for the Islanders with 4:06 remaining in the first period with his first of the night. Comeau skated in the Ottawa zone and stopped around the half-boards to the right of Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliott. As he waited for the play to develop, Comeau noticed Freddy Meyer charging hard to the net. As Meyer crossed paths in front of Elliott, Comeau fired a hard slapshot that found its way in the top left-hand corner to tie to the game up at 1-1.
Matt Moulson's 22nd goal of the season gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead 5:05 into the second period. Trent Hunter did all the leg work to make the goal happen, toe-dragging past Jesse Winchester to have a path to the net. As Hunter was being tripped up, he managed to get a shot on Elliott, where the rebound landed right on Moulson's stick. After a little stick work, Moulson was able to slide the puck past the outstretch pad to give the Islanders the lead.
Comeau scored his second goal of the game with 6:03 left in the second period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead. As Andrew MacDonald circled behind the Ottawa net, Comeau parked himself right in front of Elliott. MacDonald came out from behind the goal line and stuffed a shot on Elliott's pads. However, the rebound came right on Comeau's stick, who lifted the puck over the sprawled Ottawa netminder for a 3-1 Islanders lead.
The goal was Comeau's ninth of the season, and his third goal in two games.
The Islanders entered the third period on a five-on-three advantage for 46 seconds, however werent able to convert.
"We had a 3-1 lead and a five-on-three for 45 seconds," Comeau said. "That was a chance to make it 4-1 and take over the game. We had a few let-downs in the defensive zone and next thing we know it's 4-3."
Roloson thought that while not converting on the five-on-three was key, mistakes proved to be the difference-maker.
"When you kill a five-on-three, momentum changes, but at the same time we still controlled the game," Roloson said. "We didn't have to do anything different. Unfortunately we made some mistakes in our end that ended up in our net."
Alex Kovalev cut the Islanders lead in half to 3-2 just 3:47 into the third period. Kovalev got a fortunate bounce as he and Ryan Shannon cut into the Islanders zone on a two-on-two rush. Shannon fired a shot on that deflected off Doug Weight. Unfortunately for the Islanders, the deflection landed right on Kovalev's stick, who fired a wrist shot past an unsuspecting Roloson for his 17th goal of the season.
Jason Spezza evened things up for the Senators midway through the third period on the power play. With Bruno Gervais in the box for a slashing minor, Spezza parked himself right in front of Roloson while Daniel Alfredsson controlled the puck at the point. Alfredsson fired a hard slap shot from the blue line which Roloson stopped, however, the rebound came right to Spezza, who put the puck past Roloson for his 15th of the season.
Just a minute and a half later, Mike Fisher would give Ottawa a 4-3 lead. Fisher snuck in behind the Islanders defense and tipped in a hard Filip Kuba pass behind Roloson to give Ottawa the third period lead.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Mike Fisher, OTT: Game winning goal 2. Blake Comeau, NYI: Two goals 3. Alex Kovalev, OTT: Goal, two assists
Mr. 500: Sunday night marked a career milestone for Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson as he played in his 500th NHL game. Throughout the span of 13 seasons with six teams (Islanders, Oilers, Wild, Blues, Sabres, Flames), Roloson compiled a record of 186-210-73, with 24 shutouts.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot Ottawa, 37-35...Mark Streitled all Islanders with 26:34 of ice time...John Tavares led all Islanders with 7 shots on goal...Islanders were 0-for-5 on the power play, while Ottawa was 1-for-2 on the man advantage...This was the third meeting of the season between these two teams; Ottawa took the previous two contests, however the Islanders earned a point in both of those games...Islanders now hold an all-time record of 15-37-14 against Ottawa.
22 Chris Kelly - 12 Mike Fisher - 11 Daniel Alfredsson
9 Milan Michalek - 19 Jason Spezza - 26 Ryan Shannon
43 Peter Regin - 7 Matt Cullen - 27 Alex Kovalev
73 Jarkko Ruutu - 18 Jesse Winchester - 25 Chris Neil
24 Anton Volchenkov - 4 Chris Phillips
55 Brian Lee - 17 Filip Kuba
39 Matt Carkner - 51 Derek Smith
30 Brian Elliott
33 Pascal Leclaire
1 - 0 OTT
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NYI
3 - 1 NYI
3 - 2 NYI
3 - 3 Tie
4 - 3 OTT
Holding the stick
Interference on goalkeeper