The Islanders erased a one-goal deficit in the third period as Matt Moulson and Bruno Gervais scored third period goals, as they defeated the Calgary Flames, 3-2 at the Nassau Coliseum.
Thursday night's win was an important one for the Islanders, especially coming off a 5-0 loss to the Rangers the night before.
"It was a great thing for our players to throw that game away and come out and play hard," Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon said after the game.
Islanders goaltender Martin Biron also agreed with his coach, and thought it was just what the team needed.
"We all know that (Tuesday) should've been 15-0 if it wasn't for Rollie (Dwayne Roloson), so to be able to look each other in the eyes in the locker room this morning and assess the situation, its something good."
Trent Hunter put the Islanders on the scoreboard first with a little bit of trickery just 8:23 into the first period. Jon Sim started things off by firing a high shot on Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, which he deflected high off the end glass behind his net. Frans Nielsen followed up the play and attempted to bring the puck out front. However, a maze of bodies prevented that which prompted Hunter to join the fray to the side of Kiprusoff.
Hunter saw an opening in between the post and Kiprusoff, corralled the puck and banked it off the Calgary netminders back and into the net to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
However the lead would not last long as the Calgary Flames quickly evened things up just 50 seconds later.
Eric Nystrom, son of former Islanders great Bobby Nystrom, dished the puck out along the boards to Cory Sarich, who was positioned near the top of the face off circle to the left of Biron. Sarich blasted a hard slap shot towards Biron, however a sweeping Nigel Dawes got his stick on the shot and changed it direction, deflecting it over Biron's shoulder and into the Islanders cage to pull the Flames even with the Islanders.
Nystrom would be at it again with 6:52 left in the second period, scoring his 11th of the season to put the Flames ahead 2-1. Jamal Mayers cut down the right side of the boards and behind the Isles net while he was being flanked by recent call-up Mark Flood. As Flood was taking him down, Mayers managed to get a centering pass off to a streaking Nystrom, who got a shot off on Biron.
Nystrom's shot had eyes and trickled through Biron's legs and over the goal line. The play was taking to a formal video review, but was upheld to give the Flames a one-goal lead.
For Nystrom, it was an emotional game as it was his first time skating on the same ice his father, who happened to be in attendance, enjoyed playing on his entire NHL career.
"It was fun. The outcome was tough, especially where we're at in the season, it was a really tough loss," Nystrom said. "It's disappointing because it was a fun chance and an emotional game for myself personally.
"I'm sure in a million years he (Bobby Nystrom) never thought his son would play in the NHL and skating at the same arena that he did. I think this is a pretty proud moment for him. Too bad we couldn't come out on top because it would made it a really great night."
Nystrom had another shot to increase Calgary's lead to two goals, as he picked off a Dylan Reese pass in the Isles zone and had a breakaway on Biron. However, the shot sailed wide of the net, keeping the Isles deficit to just one goal.
Aside from Nystrom's goal, the second period saw little action, with the Flames outshooting the Islanders, 5-2.
"In the second period, we didn't give up much, but the bottom line is we didn't get another goal," Scott Gordon said. "In the third period we came out with the mindset to shoot, and we did. You saw it with the first shift."
And that happened just 26 seconds in.
Moulson evened things up for the Islanders with his team-leading 27th goal of the season. Mark Streit set things up by firing a long slapshot from the Calgary blue line. The shot could get through a bunch of bodies and drew Kiprusoff down to the ice. However, Moulson was there to grab the loose puck and pot it into the empty Calgary cage to give the Islanders their second goal of the game.
Gervais would give the Islanders a 3-2 lead with 8:29 left in the third period in what would be the game winning goal. With Nigel Dawes' hooking penalty just about to expire, Gervais blasted a slap shot just inside the right post and past Kiprusoff to put the Islanders ahead by one goal.
Althought the goal was credited as an even strength goal, it ocurred one second after Dawes exited the box, leaving the Islanders with an unofficial power play opportunity.
"We had some good puck movement and some good looks to the net," Gordon said. "It was good to see the guys shooting the puck hard and not trying to place the puck."
The Islanders improved their record to 30-34-10, while the Calgary Flames dropped to 37-28-9.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Bruno Gervais, NYI: Scored game winning goal. 2. Eric Nystrom, CGY: Goal and assist in his first game at the Nassau Coliseum. 3. Matt Moulson, NYI: Scored team-leading 27th goal.
Slapshots: Calgary outshot the Islanders, 23-22...Sean Bergenheim led all Islanders with 3 shots on goal...Mark Streit led all Islanders with 26:16 of ice time...This was the only regular season meeting between both teams...Islanders now have an all-time record of 42-42-20 against the Flames.