GLENDALE, Ariz. - In a wild, whistle-riddled game with power-play goals galore, the Islanders let a three-goal lead against the Phoenix Coyotes vanish in the third period last night, then saw Matt Moulson come to their rescue by scoring the winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout for a 5-4 Islanders victory.
The Islanders took a 2-1 lead into the second period on goals by Blake Comeau and Kyle Okposo. Then, during the fluky second, the Islanders took a 4-1 lead with a pair of power-play goals within 35 seconds by Mark Streit and Josh Bailey.
The bizarre second period was the result of a major penalty and game misconduct assessed to the Coyotes' Ed Jovanovski near the end of the first period. At 19:43, he elbowed John Tavares in the head, a penalty that carried over to the second period.
But Coyotes coach Dave Tippett failed to put anyone in the penalty box for Jovanovski at the start of the second. Play continued without a stop, and when the penalty expired, there was no one to come out of the box for the Coyotes - and the rules wouldn't allow them to send in a player off the bench until a stoppage.
So the Islanders continued to have a man advantage. Play finally stopped when the Coyotes' Martin Hanzal took a penalty at the 7:35 mark. The Islanders now were officially on the power play again, skating five-on-four. Further crowding the Phoenix box was Adrian Aucoin, who took a cross-checking penalty on Tavares at 9:02, creating a five-on-three for the Islanders.
Streit scored on the two-man advantage four seconds later at 9:06. Bailey then scored five-on-four at 9:41.
To keep play continuous after the Jovanovski penalty expired, Dwayne Roloson negated a couple of icing calls. Although they were playing shorthanded, the Coyotes were considered to be at full strength, so an icing would have stopped play.
"Roloson made a good heads-up play to identify what was happening and not let the icing happen," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.
Although goal-less in his previous seven games, Tavares garnered plenty of attention from the Coyotes. A couple of bruises were likely more than welcome in exchange for the two assists he registered, given his recent lack of production. Heading into last night, Tavares had only two points - one goal and one assist - in his previous 14 games.
Preoccupied with Tavares, Phoenix seemed to forget about another one of the Islanders' first-round draft choices as Bailey delivered his second consecutive multigoal game.
Looking about as comfortable on the left wing as someone snuggling into their favorite sweatshirt, Bailey played one of his best games of the season, assisting on Okposo's and Streit's goals, then potting one of his own for a power-play goal that led Tippett to replace goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov with Jason Labarbera.
"Obviously, tonight was very important,'' Bailey said. "Those were a crucial two points for us."