Taking a pass from Okposo, Tavares burst out of the Islanders zone, streaked up the right side to the Flames goal line before corralling the puck around defenseman Chris Butler and goalie Mikka Kiprusoff.
“I think a lot of people forget that we played a lot in our first year together,” Tavares said of his new linemate. “We had a lot of success that year. Even though it’s only the first game in a long time we’ve played together, I know the way he plays.”
Former Islander Tim Jackman opened the scoring, redirecting what looked like a harmless shot from Tom Kostopoulos just over a minute into the game. After allowing the first shot, Nabokov looked sharp, stopping 29 of 30 overall, including a first period breakaway by Paul Byron keeping the Isles within one.
“He really knows how to handle any kind of situation in any game,” Tavares said. He’s definitely a stabilizer back there for us.”
Andrew MacDonald tied the score at one with his third goal of the season early in the second period. With all eyes on a battle below the goal line, MacDonald snuck in from the point and blasted a pass from PA Parenteau past Kiprusoff.
“Johnny, PA, and Rollie did a good job of scrumming it up down low and PA picked the puck out of the pile,” MacDonald said. “I noticed their forwards weren’t paying attention, there was a lot of area open down the middle and he did a great job of putting it on my stick.”
Despite a brief brouhaha at the end of the first, both teams played a disciplined game. The Isles went 0-1 on the power play and killed off two Calgary opportunities.
Brian Rolston scored the empty-netter to ice the game for the Isles. With two assists, Parenteau kept his spot atop the Isles scoring lead and is the first to score 30 points (6g/24a).
The Isles wrap up 2011 against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 31, the same day the team will induct Ken Morrow into the Islanders Hall of Fame. Puck drop is at 1 p.m. Tonight’s attendance was 14,819.
1 - 0 CGY
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NYI