Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) – Radim Vrbata scored the first goal of the game and also lit the lamp in the second round of the shootout, as the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the New York Islanders, 4-3, at Nassau Coliseum.
Wojtek Wolski and Martin Hanzal also scored in regulation for the Coyotes, who had lost the first two contests of their six-game road trip. Jason LaBarbera made 41 saves.
Jesse Joensuu and Michael Grabner each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game win streak from October 16-21. Rob Schremp also scored in defeat.
With starter Rick DiPietro out with a left knee injury, New York recalled goaltender Nathan Lawson on an emergency basis from Bridgeport of the AHL. Lawson stopped 32-of-35 shots in his NHL debut.
After each team scored in the first round of the shootout, Vrbata beat Lawson with a backhander. After Schremp fired a wrister off the post, Kyle Turris scored to seal the victory for Phoenix.
The Islanders outshot the Coyotes by a 19-8 margin in the first period, but it was Phoenix that got on the board.
At the 6:57 mark, Shane Doan one-timed a shot from the point. Vrbata deflected the puck past Lawson for a power-play score.
New York got on the board at the 9:17 mark of the second stanza. John Tavares led a rush down the right side of the ice and slid a cross-ice pass to Joensuu, whose wrister beat LaBarbera.
Grabner gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead with 5:14 remaining in the middle frame. Joensuu controlled the puck in the slot and slid a pass in front for Grabner. The puck hit off Grabner’s skate before crossing the goal line. Replay confirmed that Grabner didn’t kick the disc into the net.
The Coyotes tied the contest at the 4:03 mark of the third. Doan skated around the net for a wrap around. The puck slid off his stick but went right to an open Wolski for an easy goal.
Schremp’s power-play goal at the 6:22 mark put New York in front again. Grabner’s one-timer from the point set up a rebound at the side of the net. It took Schremp two shots to beat LaBarbera.
With the clock showing 1:28, Hanzal lit the lamp to make it a 3-3 game. A shot from the point left a rebound in front for Hanzal, who easily put the puck in the back of the net.
Grabner’s delay of game penalty with 11 seconds left in regulation put Phoenix on the power play to start the overtime period. LaBarbera made four saves in OT, while Lawson turned aside three shots.
The Islanders had won two in a row against the Coyotes…Phoenix starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov missed the game with an upper-body injury. He is going back to Phoenix for further examination…Lawson was 2-4-2 in nine games with Bridgeport this season…The Islanders went 1-for-8 on the power play, while the Coyotes went 1-for-7 with the man advantage.