Grabner nets 2 in win, but a little late

Michael Grabner celebrates his game winning goal at Michael Grabner celebrates his game winning goal at 19:13 of the third period against Chris Mason of the Winnipeg Jets. (April 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Michael Grabner can see the 19 goals next to his name for this season and think not about those 19, but about the 20 or so other golden scoring chances on which he didn't capitalize.

He had a terrific third period Thursday night in the Islanders' home finale, scoring twice, including the winner with 46.8 seconds left as the Isles beat the Winnipeg Jets, 5-4.

With that deflection of Travis Hamonic's shot and a penalty-shot goal at 8:15 of the third to give the Isles a brief 4-3 lead, Grabner recalled his 34-goal rookie season.

This season, it's mostly been a wave of missed opportunities and lost confidence that has hampered both Grabner and the Isles, who needed him to contribute more than he has.

"You definitely reflect on those because you know some of the games could have been different," Grabner said before the game. "Even the other day, against Ottawa. It's 1-1, I get a breakaway shorthanded, and if I score there, it's a different game. I don't score, they come down and score, and they blow it open.

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"Of course you think about those."

Grabner didn't have to do much thinking after his 2010-11 season, when he piled up goals and surprised opponents with his speed. This season, he's still had the breakaways, but he seemed to think too much about what moves to make and never got into a confident place with his play in the offensive zone.

It also has affected his play in the other zones; he has a minus-17 rating and lost his spot on the second line. For the last month, he's been playing with Nino Niederreiter and Marty Reasoner, each of whom has one goal this season.

So how can a goal-scorer train in the offseason to get his mojo back?

"I'm going to do the same thing I've been doing," said Grabner, who heads to his native Austria next week and will find some ice during the late spring and early summer. He'll train in Washington state after that, near his wife's family, then return to Long Island before training camp.

"You try to work on the same physical stuff, get stronger, get faster," he said. "I never really got on a roll this year. You need to get that confidence early on."

Notes & quotes: P.A. Parenteau left in the second period with a sprained right ankle and did not return . . . The Islanders honored Steve Staios for playing his 1,000th game . . . Kyle Okposo had two goals, giving him 23, and Matt Moulson had his team-leading 36th. John Tavares had two assists, giving him 50 for the season.

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