UNIONDALE, NY— Dozens of plush promotional toys surrounded Blake Comeau’s locker in a jovial Islanders postgame dressing room.
Before receiving the slew of giveaways, Comeau was bombarded by other light objects almost two hours earlier when his third goal prompted the Nassau
Coliseum crowd to send hats crashing to the ice. The celebration was sparked by Comeau’s surging offensive production as the 24-year-old had his first career hat trick to key the Islanders 5-2 win over Chicago on Tuesday night.
The Islanders looked rusty in its first game off the NHL’s two-week Olympic break. But after allowing 22 first-period shots in going down 2-1, the Isles surged to four goals in the second. Comeau capped that barrage, tallying his third goal with 17.3 seconds left off Rob Schremp and Mark Streit’s crisp passes that set up his shot from the slot.
“It was a great feeling,” Comeau said. “It was a great pass by [Streit]. He had the shot lane and he chose to pass. I was excited and it was good to be able to get the win with it.”
Comeau has six goals in his past three games. After going 151 games without a multi-goal game, Comeau accomplished the feat in back-to-back contests. He scored twice against Ottawa before the Olympic break and added three clutch goals against a Blackhawks team that entered the night trailing San Jose by just two points for the league’s best record.
Dwayne Roloson shrugged off trade rumors and made 41 saves for his first victory since Jan. 21. Roloson said Comeau’s production, which now includes a three-game goal scoring streak, isn’t surprising.
“He’s shooting a lot better but unfortunately I have to see him in practice now,” Roloson said with a grin.
Islanders coach Scott Gordon said
he has been trying to encourage Comeau to shoot more instead of focusing on passing during most scoring opportunities. The left-winger responded by firing a team-leading four shots while using a stick that formerly belonged to teammate Trent Hunter.
“It’s the best I felt in awhile,” said Comeau, who has 12 goals. “It’s a confidence booster when you’re contributing offensively.”
Roloson might not be around to face Comeau in practice. The 40-year-old was still with the team last night but saw defenseman Andy Sutton traded earlier in the day. Islanders general manager Garth Snow sent the 6-6 Sutton to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2010 second round draft pick that formerly belonged to San Jose.
Rick DiPietro is still listed as out indefinitely after his surgically repaired left knee swelled up on Sunday. That could mean Snow might not trade Roloson by Wednesday’s deadline. Roloson is signed through next season.
The Islanders won for just the third time in the past 12 games. Gordon’s team has won its last two games but problems persist. A struggling power play unit did not generate any man advantage opportunities against the Blackhawks. The team is just 2-for-41 on the power play in the last 11 games.
Rookie John Tavares was minus-1 in playing just 10:17. The top overall draft pick was held without a goal for the 30th time in the last 32 games.