Blake Comeau scored two goals, Frans Nielsen picked up three assists and the Islanders tallied twice on the power play to snap a four-game skid with a decisive 4-1 win over the Wild at Nassau Coliseum.
After dropping four straight one-goal games, the Islanders managed 41 shots on goal and a burst of secondary scoring from Comeau, Kyle Okposo and defenseman Andrew MacDonald.
With his pair last night, Comeau now has tied his career high in goals (17) and set a career high in points (37) this season.
“I guess I had a good game, worked hard,” Comeau said while trying to balance the team’s makeshift MVP trophy on his head after the game. “It’s always a good feeling to get the hard hat.”
Held scoreless on the power-play the last three games, the Islanders tallied on their first man-up opportunity of the game,
With Nick Schultz in the box for hooking, Comeau notched his first on a classic tic-tac-toe goal after Josh Bailey set him up with a terrific feed from beneath the goal line at 10:31.
Kyle Okposo one-upped that sequence late in the first with his fourth of the season.
Battling in front of the net with Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky, Okposo guided his backhand attempt through his own legs and snaked the puck through Niklas Backstrom’s pads at 18:37.
Frans Nielsen picked up assists on both of the Islanders first-period goals.
“Nielsen’s been unbelievable,” Comeau said. “He’s one of the best defensive players. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the league and it’s good to see him get rewarded.”
The Islanders doubled their lead early in the second, with Comeau crashing the crease for his second goal of the night 41 seconds into play.
With a 3-0 lead, The Islanders cashed in on their second straight power-play with defenseman Andrew MacDonald’s slapshot from the point at 16:05. With MacDonald’s goal, Nielsen recorded his third helper of the game.
“He made some very good plays against a good team,” said coach Jack Capuano, who juggled lines for two shifts in the first period to snap them out of an early funk.
Following a successful debut at the Coliseum last March while he was playing for Calgary—he tallied a goal and an assist in the Flames 3-2 loss--Minnesota’s Eric Nystrom couldn’t duplicate the effort.
In the same building where his dad, Islanders legend Bob Nystrom, has his No. 23 hanging from the rafter, Nystrom was held off the scoresheet.
Nystrom’s teammate John Madden spoiled goaltender Al Montoya’s shutout bid, tapping in an easy goal at 11:33 of the third.
Late in the third, Montoya was hit high with Zidlicky’s shot to the chest, but after the game said it was just a stinger.
The convincing win came in front of a sparse crowd--only 7,098 in announced attendance—less than half the amount of Saturday’s first sellout of the season, a 16,250 turnout.
That sellout was reached with the help of a sizeable Capitals contingent.
But that was no matter to the Islanders.
“As for the four-game skid, I didn’t think it was an indication of how poorly we played,” MacDonald said. “But, obviously it’s good to snap that.”