The Islanders may be down their three best players and scraping the bottom of every power rankings and predictions list in the league, but they have a new credo this season.
“ I think we have that never-say-die attitude,” Blake Comeau said. “I’ve said this before, but we’ve got a new feeling this season. The feeling in the room is that we can win every game and we’re not just satisfied with good efforts. I think this is the year we want to see results.”
Comeau scored twice and picked up an assist for the Islanders in the team’s 6-4 comeback win over the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum yesterday, a game replete with plenty of offense, some chippy play and a bit of controversy.
The Islanders showed resilience just like opening night against the Stars Saturday, when they trailed by a pair of goals at three different points in the game before erasing a third-period deficit to earn a point in overtime.
However, unlike opening night’s 5-4 shootout loss, the Islanders secured two points for their first win of the season.
Trailing by a goal late in the third period, former Ranger P.A. Parenteau tallied on a 5-on-3 power-play to pull even at 15:36. Comeau notched the go-ahead goal—and his second of the game—less than a minute later on the power play to give the team a 5-4 lead and Frans Nielsen scored an empty-netter with 18.2 seconds on the clock to seal the Islanders' victory.
‘It was a big win. That’s two games that we battled back so I think that shows the type of character we have in this room, and everyone chipped in,” said Comeau.
Even without Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares—who did not play yesterday because of a mild concussion—the Islanders refused to give themselves any excuses.
“That’s not going to get us anywhere,” said Josh Bailey, who finished with a goal and an assist. ‘We don’t have some of our key guys, but we’ve got to focus on who we’ve got in the room and on the ice right now and push through it.”
Both Bailey and Comeau have been instrumental in filling the void that the injuries to Streit, Okposo and Tavares created.
“It’s phenomenal,” said goaltender Rick DiPietro said of both forwards. “If you had told me last year we wouldn’t make the playoffs and these guys would be that much better this season, I might’ve taken it.”
In his first start against the Rangers since November 9, 2007, DiPietro made 29 saves, including a stop against Marian Gaborik on a first-period penalty shot.
“It was pretty awesome,” DiPietro said. “This is a great rivalry and one that, since 2000, I’ve just loved.”
And what would an Islanders-Rangers game be without a little controversy to stoke that rivalry?
Defenseman James Wisniewski made an obscene gesture toward league-wide lightning rod Sean Avery during the first period. Wisniewski, who was suspended eight games last season for a hit on Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, may face disciplinary action from the league.
Scott Gordon declined to discuss the incident after the game.
"I can tell you, I will never talk about Sean Avery," Gordon said. "He's on the other team. I'll worry about my team."