UNIONDALE, N.Y. (Nov. 5, 2011) – Deadlocked at 3-3 with 1:46 left in regulation, P.A. Parenteau recorded the game-winning goal, putting home a Milan Jurcina slapper from the point that trickled through Tomas Vokoun’s pads, eventually leading the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory versus the streaking Washington Capitals in an Eastern Conference match-up on Saturday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. As a result, the Isles have now put an end to a six-game losing skid, and improved to 4-5-2 on the year.
During the first period, the Isles and Caps each had chances early, but it was Washington that struck first on a score by Joel Ward with 14:36 left. Ward corralled a John Carlson rebound, skated back, settled the puck, and beat New York starting netminder Rick DiPietro in the top-right corner for the early 1-0 lead. After the goal, the hosts continued to face the same Capitals’ forecheck, as Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Knuble each had shots against the one-time Boston University goalie. But, DiPietro closed up the pads, keeping the deficit at one goal.
Later, New York earned the first power play with 8:49 left, after an Alexander Semin tripping penalty. The lone goal-scoring chance came off the stick from Matt Moulson, whose try went off the side of the net. The Capitals added another tally just before the end of the period. Despite a combined three penalties, Alexander Ovechkin netted his sixth goal of the season with 1:19 left to send the visitors into the break with a 2-0 cushion. On the play, Backstrom dished off a pass to Ovechkin, who quickly ripped a shot through the five-hole.
In the second period, the Islanders quickly put an end to a long 110-minute scoring drought, as Frans Nielsen rattled the mesh for the first time since a 3-2 overtime defeat to San Jose on Oct. 29. Nielsen collected his own rebound, and tapped a shot underneath Vokoun, trimming the deficit to one. Later on in the stanza, which was heavily dominated by the Isles (15-6 shot advantage), Brian Rolston broke through the Vokoun wall to knot the match at 2-all, which is where the period finished. Nielsen was credited with an assist on the tally.
Following a slow start to the third period, Matt Martin put the Islanders ahead on a great second effort off of a rebound. As Scott Staios controlled a Washington turnover at the point, he sent a shot to the net, which let up a bounce to Martin, who went around Vokoun to put the Islanders ahead 3-2 at the 6:28 mark. Two-plus minutes after his tally, the Caps’ Brooks Laich answered on the power play. He made Staios, who was sent off to the sin bin for interference, and the Isles pay, as his shot from the left circle went under the crossbar to tie the game.
From there, Washington swung the momentum in its favor, until the final minutes of the contest, as Parenteau registered the game-winning marker, tapping in a Jurcina slap shot from the point that squeaked through the pads of Vokoun. “I was coming up the ice. The slap shot was so hard that it trickled through,” said Parenteau about the goal. “Luckily enough, I was right there to tap it in.” Seconds later, John Tavares later punched in an empty-netter, securing a 5-3 victory for the Islanders.
Between the pipes, Vokoun and DiPietro each made 25 saves for their respective squads. The Isles owned an advantage of 36-28 in the shot department, and a 16-12 edge in takeaways. Both teams had 25 faceoff wins.
In regards to New York’s overall effort, Parenteau said: “We tried to mix it up and keep it simple. Hopefully, we keep it going…We were down 2-0 against one of the best teams in the league, and tried to stick with them the rest of the way. Everyone just believed in each other, and we got the win.”
“The win wasn’t so much a relief for me, as it was for the guys,” stated Head Coach Jack Capuano. “We have a great deal of trust and belief in one another…Everyone did a lot of good things. We needed to put the puck on net. It was great to get the two points tonight.”
Capuano and the Islanders are back in action on Monday (Nov. 7) when they travel to Beantown to face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins at the TD Bank Garden. The puck drops at 7 p.m.