By Katie Strang

If the Islanders trade deadline stance as sellers was supposed to signify that the organization was giving up and looking ahead to next season, someone forgot to relay the message to the team.

Blake Comeau certainly did not receive the memo.

Instead, he earned his first NHL hat trick to lead the Islanders to an uplifting 5-3 win over a strong Chicago team that ranks second in the Western Conference with 87 points.

Netminder Dwayne Roloson also delivered the type of standout performance that solidified him as the backbone of the team earlier this season.

“It’s big for us,” Comeau said. "They’re a good hockey club and it’s a big confidence booster. We’re excited for the win and now we've got to keep going."

Comeau kept his team within reach by scoring the lone Islanders goal in a dismal first period during which they were outshot 22-9.

Trailing 2-1, Comeau tallied twice in the second period, when the Islanders rattled off four consecutive goals against a stunned Blackhawks squad to take a 5-2 lead into the third.


The absence of massive 6-6, 245-pound defenseman Andy Sutton, who was traded to Ottawa hours before the game, appeared to create a gaping hole for the Islanders’ back end when Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead in the firs.

To ignite an inspired second period, Comeau went top shelf against goaltender Antti Niemi at 2:27 to earn his second consecutive multi-goal game and 25 seconds later, Jon Sim scored the go-ahead goal that prompted Chicago to replace Niemi with Cristobal Huet.

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Richard Park then added a goal with a slapshot from the right circle that froze Huet and gave the Islanders a 4-2 lead at 7:06.

With 17.3 seconds left in the second, defenseman Streit passed up a shot from the point and dished to Comeau in the high slot for a goal that left the Coliseum ice littered with giveaway dolls and a smattering of hats.

“It felt awesome. [Coach Scott] Gordon asked me the last time I scored a hat trick and I told him in Peewee,” Comeau said. “It’s been awhile.”

Think the Islanders are giving up? Think again.

“With the makeup of our team, that’s not something I’m concerned about,” coach Scott Gordon said. “Our guys are young, hungry and they want to be successful.”

Notes and Quotes: An update on Rick DiPietro, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday retroactive to February 28. (knee swelling) is expected today.