Islanders knock off visiting Rangers
Tavares sits out, Wisniewski raises eyebrows
The New York Islanders have given up eight goals in two home games. Still, they have three points thanks to a lot of clutch offence.
P.A. Parenteau scored the tying goal on the first half of a 5-on-3 power play and Blake Comeau cashed in on the second part late in the third period to rally the Islanders to a 6-4 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday.
Coupled with a 5-4 shootout loss at home to Dallas on Saturday, in which the Islanders erased a two-goal deficit in the third, New York is off to a good start.
"It was a big game for us," said Comeau, who scored twice to give him three goals this season. "Good way to get our first win, battling back like that."
Ryan Callahan was called for tripping Mike Mottau with 5:45 remaining, and Marc Staal was sent off for high-sticking 46 seconds later to hand the Islanders the game-changing two-man advantage.
Parenteau, a former Rangers forward, tied it with 4:24 remaining and Comeau put the Islanders in front for good. Nine of Comeau's 35 NHL goals have been scored against the Rangers in 14 games.
Frans Nielsen added an empty-net goal with 18.2 seconds left to seal the victory for Rick DiPietro, who stopped Marian Gaborik's penalty shot and made 29 saves.
Wisniewski crosses the line
New York Islanders defenceman James Wisniewski could be in trouble with the NHL for making an obscene gesture at New York Rangers forward Sean Avery that was caught on tape during Monday's game.
During a stoppage of play in the first period, Wisniewski and Avery chirped at each other. Wisniewski then made a gesture with his hand, directed at Avery. Wisniewski said he didn't remember making a gesture, but video of the incident was on the YouTube website before the game was over.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance to see the Islanders' 6-4 victory on Monday. He said he heard about what happened but hadn't seen it. Bettman declined to comment and said any potential disciplinary action would be handled by the league's hockey operations department.
"My guess is hockey operations will do what needs to be done," Bettman said. "I don't react to things that are described to me."
Avery was only 23 games into a $15.5-million US, four-year deal with the Dallas Stars in December 2008 when Bettman suspended him for six games for a crude remark Avery made about ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players. That incident ended Avery's time with the Stars and led to his return to the Rangers that season after a stint in the minor leagues.
Avery also underwent counselling for anger management.
"It's pretty obvious what the guy was doing," Avery said of Wisniewski, "but I'm sure nothing will happen to him because nothing ever happens. It's interesting, he'd get a warning for something like that.
"Can you imagine if I did that? They sent me to rehab the last time I did something. It's crazy."
Josh Bailey and Matt Moulson also had goals for the Islanders.
"It's a different atmosphere here," Mottau said. "A win like this shows our character."
Artem Anisimov gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead with 7:14 left, but they couldn't hold on for their second road win. Brandon Dubinsky scored a power-play goal in the first period, and defencemen Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi connected in the second. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 shots.
The Rangers appeared on their way to a 2-0 start -- following a 6-3 win in Buffalo on Saturday -- when Anisimov gave them their second lead, but the late penalties proved costly.
"I think it's just an awful call to start the 5-on-3," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It's assuming that you trip a guy and he didn't trip [him]. That's what started the wall falling for us."
The Islanders are having success despite playing without young forwards John Tavares (concussion) and Kyle Okposo (shoulder), and top defenceman Mark Streit (shoulder).
"For our team, getting three out of four points is huge," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.
Moulson got the Islanders even 3-3 with 20.9 seconds remaining in the second when he scored off a rebound of Trent Hunter's shot that slammed off the end boards.
"We were calm and we felt like we had momentum going into the third even though they scored late," Callahan said. "I thought we showed that in the third, and unfortunately we took a few penalties in the end that killed us."
Del Zotto, who had a rough first period, netted the tying goal when his shot from the blue line appeared to deflect in at 8:28 for the Rangers' second power-play goal. Girardi also scored from the blue line, beating DiPietro with a hard wrister at 13:01 – six seconds after Hunter left the penalty box.
Boisterous chants of "Let's Go Rangers!" resonated during the third period at a Nassau Coliseum that was far from full for the Columbus Day matinee. Rangers rooters have to wait until Friday night for their team's home opener, and Tortorella said captain Chris Drury (broken finger) might make his season debut then.
Del Zotto bounced back from being burned on both Islanders goals in the first. Del Zotto was stripped of the puck in the left circle by Comeau, who came in alone on Lundqvist and had his first shot stopped. The rebound came back to him for the goal with 7:11 remaining.
The 20-year-old Del Zotto also was beaten when Bailey got behind him and scored with 3:13 left in the first.
The Islanders' initial lead didn't last long. Just 33 seconds after defenceman Mark Eaton was called for delay of game, Dubinsky tied it. After a pretty passing play between Del Zotto and defence partner Michal Rozsival, Dubinsky was set up for a shot that hit traffic. Dubinsky tracked down the puck and scored his third of the season.
Gaborik had a chance to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead, but he was stopped by DiPietro on a penalty shot 11:08 in after he was hauled down at centre ice by Islanders captain Doug Weight.