for this game

Okposo helps Islanders snap road slide

Jan 30, 2009 - 4:42 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The New York Islanders finally picked up a victory away from home. But not without a near-colossal collapse.

Rookie Kyle Okposo recorded his first career two-goal game as the Islanders avoided a major meltdown in the third period en route to a 5-4 triumph over the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday.

Trent Hunter, Tim Jackman and Doug Weight also scored for New York, which halted a 14-game road losing streak (0-13-1). The Islanders had not posted a win away from Nassau Coliseum since edging the Montreal Canadiens, 4-3, in a shootout on November 24.

"I don't know how long it's been," New York rookie center Josh Bailey said. "We try not to think about that too much. Our road record needs to improve."

Bailey and All-Star defenseman Mark Streit each notched two assists and Yann Danis made 33 saves for the Islanders, who entered the third with a four-goal lead only to watch the Thrashers cut it to one.

"We came out flying right off the bat, then had to battle for it in the third, and we came out victorious," Okposo said. "It's good to contribute that way. Josh was able to find me a couple of times for some really nice passes."

Rich Peverley registered a goal and two assists while All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk, rookie defenseman Zach Bogosian and Marty Reasoner also scored for Atlanta, which has lost three in a row.

"It was too late to come back in the third," Bogosian said. "You have to play three periods of hockey."

The 2008-09 campaign has been a miserable one for New York, which was on the brink of matching streaks of futility that befuddled the expansion 1972-73 club some 36 years ago. Luckily for them, the Islanders started the second half with a road contest against the offensively challenged Thrashers.

New York wasted little time turning a half-empty arena in "Blueland" into "Boo-land."

Hunter beat goaltender Kari Lehtonen on the Islanders' first scoring opportunity, walking down the slot and faking a slap shot before sliding the puck around the Finn's outstretched left pad just 55 seconds into the contest.

"After having a break, we really wanted to focus on coming out hard," Hunter said. "We came out skating and were rewarded."

Okposo doubled the lead at 7:29, beating Lehtonen from the bottom of the slot after receiving a backhand pass from the right side of the net from Bailey.

"I think we saw tonight the abilities of Josh to be able to find people when it doesn't look like there's an option for him," New York coach Scott Gordon said.

A defensive breakdown by the listless Thrashers, who allowed 20 shots in the first period, led to the Islanders' third goal just under three minutes later.

Andy Hilbert blistered a slap shot from the left faceoff circle that glanced off the glove of Lehtonen. As the puck trickled toward the right goalpost, no Atlanta defender bothered to check Jackman, who easily backhanded it into the net with 9:35 remaining in the period.

Weight, who missed New York's previous seven games with a leg injury, sent Lehtonen to the bench to a chorus of boos with 6:43 to go, burying a rebound on the doorstep for his eight goal of the season and a 4-0 bulge.

"We just were not ready," Bogosian said. "They came out and scored in the first minute. It's not a good effort on our part."

Lehtonen stopped just 11 shots before being replaced by Johan Hedberg, who was saddled with the hard-luck loss despite allowing just one goal on 18 shots.

Following a scoreless middle period, the Islanders nearly self-destructed in the third.

Bogosian got Atlanta on the board with a one-timer from the blue line just 26 seconds into the session, Peverley backhanded the puck past Danis on a breakaway at 6:20 for a power-play goal and Reasoner cut the deficit to 4-3 just 2:16 later with his eighth tally.

In seven games since being claimed off waivers from the Nashville Predators on January 10, Peverley has collected three goals and 11 points.

But Okposo, who was drafted seventh overall in 2006, deposited the puck past Hedberg from alone in front after getting a feed from the right side by Bailey with 7:21 remaining to push New York's advantage to 5-3. The goal came on the Islanders' first shot of the period.

"Blake (Comeau) made a great pass to Josh, and then Josh had enough poise to find me there in the slot," Okposo said.

"Just because we had a good third (period) doesn't mean anything," Peverley said. "We didn't get a point out of it. You shoot yourself in the foot going down 4-0. You can't put yourself in that position against any team in the league."

Kovalchuk got the Thrashers back within one by deflecting defenseman Tobias Enstrom's blast from the blue line past Danis with 58 seconds left, but Atlanta failed to register another shot against the netminder.

Gordon nearly self-destructed after the game, launching into a tirade on a New York-based member of the media before being asked a question.

"We got five points in three games," Gordon said, raising his voice while repeatedly pre-empting what he perceived to be a question about another collapse by his team. "That's what we'll talk about. I'm not talking about any collapse we've had or any collapse in the third period.

"Just talking about the kids, they played great, awesome. I'm happy with them. That's all you have to talk about."

New York, which lost the first three meetings between the teams this season, has won consecutive games for the first time since November 22-24.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 4 0 1 5
    ATLANTA 0 0 4 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 12 (MARK STREIT, BRUNO GERVAIS) 0:55
    NYI - KYLE OKPOSO 8 (JOSH BAILEY) 7:29
    NYI - TIM JACKMAN 3 (ANDY HILBERT, BRENDAN WITT) 10:25
    NYI - DOUG WEIGHT 8 (MIKE COMRIE, MARK STREIT) 13:17
    2ND PRD: NONE


    Jan 29 9:41 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 5
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 21 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, RICH PEVERLEY) 19:02
    (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Islanders 5, Thrashers 4  3rd - 0:58Jan 29 9:36 PM
  • 66
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 66 roots (Close Finish)

    Islanders 5, Thrashers 4  3rd - 0:58Jan 29 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 5
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: NYI - KYLE OKPOSO 9 (JOSH BAILEY, BLAKE COMEAU) 12:39

    Islanders 5, Thrashers 3  3rd - 7:21Jan 29 9:25 PM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 20 roots

    Islanders 5, Thrashers 3  3rd - 7:21Jan 29 9:25 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 4
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARTY REASONER 8 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, ERIC PERRIN) 8:36

    Islanders 4, Thrashers 3  3rd - 11:24Jan 29 9:17 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Islanders 4, Thrashers 3  3rd - 11:24Jan 29 9:17 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 4
    ATLANTA 2
    3RD PRD: ATL - (PP) RICH PEVERLEY 5 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV) 6:20

    Islanders 4, Thrashers 2  3rd - 13:40Jan 29 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 4
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - ZACH BOGOSIAN 3 (MATHIEU SCHNEIDER, RICH PEVERLEY) 0:26

    Islanders 4, Thrashers 1  3rd - 19:34Jan 29 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 4 0 4
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 12 (MARK STREIT, BRUNO GERVAIS) 0:55
    NYI - KYLE OKPOSO 8 (JOSH BAILEY) 7:29
    NYI - TIM JACKMAN 3 (ANDY HILBERT, BRENDAN WITT) 10:25
    NYI - DOUG WEIGHT 8 (MIKE COMRIE, MARK STREIT) 13:17
    2

    Jan 29 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 4 4
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 12 (MARK STREIT, BRUNO GERVAIS) 0:55
    NYI - KYLE OKPOSO 8 (JOSH BAILEY) 7:29
    NYI - TIM JACKMAN 3 (ANDY HILBERT, BRENDAN WITT) 10:25
    NYI - DOUG WEIGHT 8 (MIKE COMRIE, MARK STREIT) 13:17
    S

    Jan 29 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 4
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: NYI - DOUG WEIGHT 8 (MARK STREIT, BILL GUERIN) 13:17

    Islanders 4, Thrashers 0  1st - 6:43Jan 29 7:33 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 3
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: NYI - TIM JACKMAN 3 (ANDY HILBERT, BRENDAN WITT) 10:25

    Islanders 3, Thrashers 0  1st - 9:35Jan 29 7:27 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: NYI - KYLE OKPOSO 8 (JOSH BAILEY) 7:29

    Islanders 2, Thrashers 0  1st - 12:31Jan 29 7:22 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 12 (MARK STREIT, BRUNO GERVAIS) 0:55

    Islanders 1, Thrashers 0  1st - 19:05Jan 29 7:11 PM