Islanders Cruise Past Wild, 4-1

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Islanders 4, Wild 1

Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) – Blake Comeau scored two goals and the New York Islanders pounded the Minnesota Wild, 4-1, at Nassau Coliseum.

Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald also scored for the Islanders, who started a five-game homestand with a win to snap a four-game losing streak. Al Montoya was solid between the pipes, stopping 33-of-34 shots in the win.

John Madden scored the lone goal for the Wild, who haven’t helped their playoff chances with six losses in their last nine games.

Niklas Backstrom surrendered three goals on 19 shots before getting pulled in the second period in favor of Jose Theodore, who finished the game with 21 saves for Minnesota.

New York’s first goal come on the power play approaching the midway point of the first period. Using some quick and fluid puck movement throughout the man advantage, Frans Neilsen sent a sharp pass across the slot where Comeau netted the puck from the edge of the left circle.

The Isles went up 2-0 with 1:23 left in the first when Okposo collected a loose puck in the slot. With a defender on his back, Okposo swept a backhander between Backstrom’s legs for his fourth goal of the season.

The margin was extended to three inside the first minute of the second period. Matt Martin led a charge down the left boards and wristed a shot toward the net. Comeau followed the big rebound and chipped it over Backstrom’s left shoulder.

Backstrom was sent to the pine following the goal.

Just under four minutes left in the second, the Islanders ran away with the game, scoring their fourth goal. This time it came from MacDonald’s slap shot from the left point, which put the home team a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play.

Minnesota got on the board at the 11:33 mark of the final frame on Madden’s 10th goal of the season. But it didn’t matter much as the Islanders cruised the rest of the way.

New York forward Michael Grabner, who had an assist, was selected as the NHL’s top rookie for the month of February on Wednesday. The 23-year-old tallied 10 goals and an NHL-best 16 points among all rookies in 14 contests during the month…Islanders forward Trevor Gillies, who just returned from a nine-game suspension, elbowed Cal Clutterbuck into the boards early in the second period and was handed a game misconduct…Nielsen finished with three assists in the win…The Wild had won five straight over the Isles…New York ended 2-for-3 on the power play.


Minnesota Wild At New York Islanders: Islanders Trying To Stop A Six Game Losing Streak To The Wild

(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try to jump back into the playoff picture this evening when they go for a sixth straight victory over the New York Islanders in a matchup at Nassau Coliseum.

The Wild have lost five of their last eight and currently sit 10th overall in the Western Conference, but just two points back of a trio of clubs tied for the conference's last three playoff spots.

Minnesota put itself in an early three-goal hole versus the Blackhawks on Monday, and though it got goals fromMartin Havlat and Brent Burns to pull within one the club ultimately dropped a 4-2 decision.

Burns also had an assist while breaking his own club single-season record for goals by a defenseman with 16.Niklas Backstrom made 30 saves.

"The last two and a half months, we know we're a pretty good hockey team," Burns said. "In the third, we did a lot of good things and we should build on that."

With Mikko Koivu still out with a broken left index finger, the Wild will also be without Cam Barker (upper body) and Chuck Kobasew (illness) as neither player made the trip to Long Island.

With Minnesota set to visit the Rangers tomorrow, it is unknown if Backstrom or Theodore will get the call tonight as the Wild try to avoid their first loss to the Islanders since March 19, 2004.

Backstrom is a perfect 4-0 versus the Wild with a 1.98 goals-against average, while Jose Theodore is 6-0-1 in his last eight against them with a 2.77 GAA.

The Islanders have dropped their last two at home to the Wild and begin a five-game homestand this evening. They were just swept in a home-and-home set by the Capitals, blowing a two-goal lead in Saturday's home meeting before dropping a 2-1 test in Washington last night.

Goaltender Nate Lawson turned in 59 minutes of shutout hockey, but gave up the game-tying goal with just 47.1 seconds left in regulation before Alex Ovechkin beat him for the overtime-winner 1:55 into the frame.

"[The loss] is obviously tough, but we have a young team and they battled extremely hard," said New York interim head coach Jack Capuano.

Lawson ended with 40 saves and Matt Moulson scored his seventh goal in the past six games. He leads New York with 28 goals on the season.

New York is 0-2-2 over its last four games, its longest losing streak since a six-game slide from Dec. 2-13. The Isles are 14 points out of a playoff spot.

Neither Lawson nor fellow New York goaltender Al Montoya have ever faced the Wild. Lawson is 1-4-2 with a 4.12 GAA in nine games this season overall, while Montoya is 3-2-1 with a 2.07 GAA in seven contests.

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