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.