A lot of heart; that's what the New York Islanders showed in their final matchup of the 2010-11 season. After falling behind the Philadelphia Flyers by a two-goal deficit just 47 seconds into contest, the Islanders tied the score, not once, but twice. Then, the Islanders captured a short-lived lead as PA Parenteau scored his 20th goal of the season a mere 53 seconds into the second stanza.
"That was the worst start we could have had," Parenteau said. "We showed a lot of character staying in this game and coming back. This is a hard building to do that. So I mean, it's another positive thing to build on (next season). We're so banged up. When you look at our lineup right now, I think you have to be proud of every little thing that we do."
But the newly crowned Atlantic Division champions couldn't be held off, eventually scoring three unanswered goals to win the teams' final matchup of the season 7-4 as an empty net goal from Daniel Powe slid across the goal line with one second remaining on the clock.
"To me, (this season ended) on a positive note," Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano. "Obviously we didn't win the game, but we saw a lot of good things from a lot of guys tonight. I mean, for I'd say 45 minutes, we played with a good hockey team, a hockey team that was picked to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the year, with a lot of young kids in our lineup."
Parenteau and John Tavares were both seeking career milestones. While Tavares fell one goal short of 30, Parenteau was able give the Islanders a 4-3 lead as he notched his 20th goal of the season on the power play.
Realistically, I wanted my 20th to be on a win so it would feel like something special, but we have some good things coming up for this team next year. I think everyone is looking forward to it.- PA Parenteau
"Realistically, I wanted my 20th to be on a win so it would feel like something special, but we have some good things coming up for this team next year," Parenteau said. "I think everyone is looking forward to it."
Regardless, Parenteau is happy to have that final goal.
"It feels good," Parenteau said. "I was pretty happy when I got it. The game looked a lot better when I scored it because we took the lead, but we lost the game. It's still a great feeling. It's a really great milestone to achieve in this league."
Parenteau continued, "I have to give a lot of credit to Johnny (Tavares) and Matty (Moulson). All year, we had a good thing going, good chemistry and (reaching my milestone) is the result of that."
Tavares tied the score at three as he put up his 29th goal of the season, shooting the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky at 12:05 of the first period.
"Johnny got his 29th," Capuano said. "It would have been nice to get one more for him, but it just shows the chemistry is there with that line."
The Islanders wouldn't be able to hold the lead. After scoring an even strength goal 8:00 into the second period, Andrej Meszaros notched his second goal of the contest at 9:40 of the third, bringing the score 6-4. His goals sandwiched Hartnell's second goal of the night, which he scored at 18:29 of the second.
The Islanders got off to a rocky start, forcing Capuano to call a timeout after falling behind 2-0.
"We called that timeout early to settle the troops down a little bit," Capuano said.
The young group responded well. To start off, Michael Grabner scored his team-leading 34th goal of the season at 7:03 to cut the differential in half 2-1. Then, rookie defenseman Travis Hamonic evened the score when he put up a power play goal at 9:31.
They're six lines deep with their defensemen. It's a dangerous team. There's no question that they have all the elements that I think could be a Stanley Cup Champion. So to fall back 2-0, it was a hostile environment. The crowd was into it.- Jack Capuano
Unfortunately, Danny Briere flew down the ice, scoring on a breakaway just 19 seconds later. Sixteen seconds into the contest, Kimmo Timonen scored and then Scott Hartnell raced back 31 seconds later to increase the Islanders goal deficit 2-0.
"They're six lines deep with their defensemen," Capuano said. "It's a dangerous team. There's no question that they have all the elements that I think could be a Stanley Cup Champion. So to fall back 2-0, it was a hostile environment. The crowd was into it."
While the Flyers made a goaltending change, replacing Bobrovsky with Brian Boucher after Tavares' game-tying goal, Rick DiPietro remained in the net for the entire game and made 32 saves on 38 shots.
"Rick, when he's off for that period of time with his injuries, if it were to go really lopsided I might (have pulled him), but I just wanted him to get some work," Capuano said. "I thought he made some pretty good saves, but it was a good team to get him in against and get some work."