Dave Scatchard scored twice as the New York Islanders earned a
4-1 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night, splitting a
home-and-home series with the lowly Thrashers.
The Islanders are 4-1-1 in their last six home games, and the
crowd of 16,234 was the 15th sellout of the season. New York had
only four sellouts last season.
"We didn't want to lose four points to these guys," Scatchard
said. "The toughest thing against playing them is that they play
with nothing to lose. Sometimes a team in that situation will rush
four or five guys instead of playing cautious."
New York moved four points ahead of division rival New Jersey
for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders also have
a game in hand on the Devils.
Islanders coach Peter Laviolette said that the Islanders should
concentrate on trying to catch Eastern Conference leader
"Philly could go 20-4 the rest of the way, but what if they
stumble?" Laviolette said. "They could stumble, you never know.
That's why we have to look to the top."
Chris Tamer's short-handed goal was the only goal for the
Thrashers, who have the worst record in the league (16-35-7-4), but
are .500 in their brief history against the Islanders (5-5-1).
Milan Hnilicka turned aside 23 shots.
The Islanders scored on their second shot to take a 1-0 lead at
6:07 of the opening period.
After taking a pass from Shawn Bates, Yashin hit the top right
corner with a wrist shot for his 25th goal.
Atlanta tied it on its first shot at Osgood. Tamer finished a
short-handed 2-on-1 break with Dany Heatley by wristing in a shot
from the slot for his first goal this season.
"That helped us gain some momentum until they scored again,"
Heatley said. "We've had some trouble on our power play tonight.
We didn't get the puck deep enough."
The goal was the 10th short-handed allowed by the Islanders,
worst in the league. Conversely, the Islanders have scored 17
short-handed goals, tops in the NHL.
In the second period, the Islanders took a 3-1 lead as both
scorers notched their seventh goals this season.
"We played all right in the second (period), but we made two
real bad decisions with the puck and they ended up in our net,"
Atlanta coach Curt Fraser said. "Milan was not to blame for either
one. He played fine."
Scatchard found the rebound of Kenny Jonsson's point shot in the
crease and poked it past Hnilicka at 12:35.
"Kenny Jonsson took a hard shot from the point, and I was
looking for a rebound," Scatchard said. "I was hoping it dropped
out, and it dropped right in front and I poked it in. I've been
hoping for a gift-wrapped goal all year, and I finally got one."
With one minute left in the period, Jason Blake's slap shot from
the left point deflected off Thrashers defenseman Todd Rierden and
then off Lapointe's thigh and got past Hnilicka to make it 3-1.
"My eyes were closed," Lapointe joked. "I didn't really see
it. It just hit me."
Osgood made the save of the game at 7:49 when he made a pad stop
on Thrashers rookie star Ilya Kovalchuk, who was all alone in
The Islanders are in a playoff hunt for the first time in eight
seasons. Lapointe, who has been on the team since the 1996-97
season, is enjoying the ride.
"It's great fun," he said. "We used to be out of the playoffs
by December, so this is a nice change for me."
The 14 shots allowed by New York were a season low. ...
Islanders forward Oleg Kvasha will miss 3-to-4 weeks after having
surgery on his right knee Thursday. ... Islanders forward Brad
Isbister missed his second straight game because of a lower back
strain. ... The Thrashers had won three of four games on Long
Island. ... New York has killed 38 of its last 39 penalties
covering 10 games, and have outscored opponents 6-1 while
short-handed in that span. ... The Islanders and Thrashers will
play again March 10 on Long Island, the teams' third meeting in 10