Monday, February 11 – HURRICANES 6, ISLANDERS 4
Despite scoring four power play goals, the New York Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes, 6-4, in front of a crowd of 9,622 at Nassau Coliseum to start off the week. Although the score reflected negatively on the Isles, they had the edge in shots on goal, 30-28.
Forward Frans Nielsen netted his first goal of the season on an Isles power play at 2:48 of the first period with assists from Josh Bailey and Travis Harmonic. The Hurricanes would answer at 13:42 with forward Tim Wallace’s first of the season. He was assisted by Jamie McBain and Andreas Nodl.
Another pair of goals came within the same minute in the second frame. The Isles, again on the power play, scored as John Tavares, assisted by Matt Moulson and Lubomir Visnovsky, found his seventh goal of the season at 5:23. Forward Jeff Skinner would retie the game for the Canes at 5:52 before New York would capitalize on yet another power play opportunity at 7:46 to give the Isles a brief one-goal advantage. The goal was credited to Moulson, his fifth of the year, with helpers coming from Brad Boyes and Tavares.
By the halfway mark of the third period, the Hurricanes found themselves with a two-goal lead. At 0:30, Jiri Tlusty scored his second ringer of the season and then had the lone assist on Semin’s goal at 5:33. With his eighth goal of the year, Staal rocked a pass from Tlusty and Jay Harrison at 9:09. The score then stood at 5-3.
New York scored their fourth power play goal of the game at 11:32 on Moulson’s second goal of the night, assisted by Visnovsky and Mark Streit. The late surge of the Isles wouldn’t be enough as the Canes put the game out of reach on an empty-netter by Tlusty from Semin and Justin Faulk with just 11 seconds to go in regulation.
This nine-goal charade was tended by Rick DiPietro for the Isles and Cam Ward for the Canes. DiPietro came away with the loss, allowing five goals on 30 Carolina shots. Ward earned the victory, stopping 24 of 28 shots faced.
Thursday, February 14 – ISLANDERS 4, RANGERS 3 (SO)
The Isles bounced back with a shootout victory over their crosstown rivals New York Rangers, 4-3, in front of a packed Madison Square Garden. Official attendance weighed in at 17,200.
The Isles seemed to be off to a slow start as they allowed two unanswered goals to the Rangers in the first. Defenseman Dan Girardi scored his first goal of the season at 3:36 with assists by Carl Hagelin and Rick Nash. Forward Marian Gaborik followed suit at 11:28 with his seventh of the season, sending the Isles into the locker room down 2-0.
However, the Islanders woke up in the second period, starting with a goal by Colin McDonald, assisted by Casey Cizikas, at 0:29. Tavares found the back of the net unassisted at 6:45 for his eighth goal of the season before Boyes scored with assists from Visnovsky and Brian Strait. The Isles held a brief one-goal lead until Hagelin, unassisted, tied the game back up on a power play opportunity at 11:14, sending the game into overtime.
After a scoreless overtime, Nielsen was the only player to beat the goaltending during the shootout, giving the Isles a 4-3 victory. Islanders goaltender Evegni Nabokov skated away with a win after making 36 saves while Rangers netminder Martin Biron stopped 28 of the 31 shots the Isles fired.
Saturday, February 16 – DEVILS 1, ISLANDERS 5
Tavares had a hat trick in the Islanders 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils to end the week with a 2-1 record. The game, which was witnessed by a crowd of 15,488 at Nassau Coliseum, marked the eighth straight time the Islanders faced off in New York State.
After a scoreless first period, Tavares scored his first two goals of the night – the first coming at 16:46 with assists from Boyes and Moulson. The Isles found themselves on a power play when he scored his second goal of the night, this time assisted by Moulson and Visnovsky at 18:09. The Islanders then added another power play goal to the score sheet at 19:06, this time off the stick of Moulson, to round out the second frame. Boyes and Tavares had the assists.
The Devils avoided being shut out with their only tally of the night at 8:47 of the third. Marek Zidlicky netted his first of the season with assists by Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk on the power play. Tavares, assisted by Streit and Moulson, had his third goal of the night at 14:45 while New Jersey was shorthanded and now leads the Isles with 11 goals this season. Forward Michael Grabner would score his sixth goal to round out the action at 19:25 to give the Isles their second straight win. Assists to Grabner’s goal were credited to Keith Aucoin and Hamonic.
FIVE GAMES AHEAD THIS WEEK…
After winning two straight games, the Islanders start the week with a record of 6-7-1-0, good for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 13 points. They trail the third place Rangers by four points.
Tavares leads the team offensively with 11 goals and nine assists and had a hat trick in the Isles’ 5-1 victory over the Devils on Saturday night. He has also scored in ten consecutive games.
Monday, February 18 – FLYERS @ ISLANDERS – 1:00 PM on MSG+
The Isles will round out a nine-game stint in New York State by hosting the Philadelphia Flyers, who start the week at 6-9 tied in fourth place with the Islanders (13 points). This game will be the first of four scheduled meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals this abbreviated National Hockey League season.
Tuesday, February 19 – ISLANDERS @ SENATORS – 7:30 PM on MSG+
They will then head to Canada for two games, starting with a visit to the Ottawa Senators for the first of three games between the two teams this season. The Senators currently rank fourth in the Northeast with 16 points.
Thursday, February 21 – ISLANDERS @ CANADIENS – 7:30 PM on MSG+2
The Canadiens then have a turn at hosting the Isles for the first of two games between the Eastern Conference foes. Montreal is one point behind the first-place Boston Bruins in the Northeast to start the week and have won three straight.
Saturday, February 23 – ISLANDERS @ SABRES – 7:00 PM on MSG+
They’ll return to New York State with a stop at the Buffalo Sabres, who start the week sitting in last place with 13 points in the Northeast. The Sabres visited Long Island on Saturday, February 9, and came away with a 3-2 victory, giving them a 1-0 advantage in the season series over the Isles.
Sunday, February 24 – HURRICANES @ ISLANDERS – 7:00 PM on MSG+2
The Islanders’ busy week will conclude with a rematch against the Hurricanes, who start the week atop the Southeast Division with 17 points and a three-game winning streak.
You can find Nicole on Twitter – @nicolesorce