His third-period wrist shot from the blue line found its way
into the net and sparked the Islanders to a 5-4 victory over the
winless Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.
''Fortunately, it went in,'' Wiemer said of the short-handed
goal, his first tally with the Islanders. ''If you shoot the puck
enough, eventually it's going to go in.''
The Thrashers had just scored twice early in the third period to
tie the game 3-3 and were on a power play. Wiemer pulled up at the
Atlanta line and floated a shot through traffic that eluded Milan
Hnilicka and put the Islanders back ahead with just over 12 minutes
''I didn't see it at all,'' Hnilicka said. ''He shot it through
three guys and I heard it hit off the crossbar behind me.''
After an 0-2 start, the Islanders are 2-0-1 in their last three
Claude Lapointe added his first goal of the season for New York
four minutes later and it proved to be the game-winner when
Vyacheslav Kozlov scored with 1:51 left to give the Thrashers one
''We were disappointed (to surrender the lead), but we still had
confidence,'' Islanders forward Dave Scatchard said. ''The
short-handed goal gave us a boost when we needed a cushion. I
didn't think we would blow a second lead.''
Atlanta, which has surrendered 13 goals in two nights, dropped
to 0-4-0-1. It is the worst five-game start in Atlanta's four
seasons. The Thrashers started the 2000-01 season 0-3-2, and didn't
earn their first win until the seventh game.
The Thrashers are doing all the things befitting a winless team.
They have shuffled the lines, benched key players and, before
Saturday night's game, they held a players meeting. But it only
resulted in another tough loss for a team that has led in three of
its five games.
But the celebration was short-lived as Wiemer reclaimed New
York's lead just 2½ minutes later.
''It's like, are you kidding?'' lamented Atlanta coach Curt
Fraser, whose team lost 8-5 the night before at Tampa Bay. ''What
other bad things can happen to these guys?
''It was unbelievable. I thought for sure we were going to find
a way to score an ugly goal. We had enough chances there. If we
could have gotten just one more ... what a great finish that would
New York outshot Atlanta 42-23, and the teams combined to go
1-for-14 on the power play.
The Islanders led 2-1 after the first period on Scatchard's
third of the season and Kenny Jonsson's first. In between,
Atlanta's Patrik Stefan tipped an Andy Sutton blast from the point
past Chris Osgood for his third goal of the season. There were no
power-play goals in the opening period despite 10:41 of power-play
time on seven minor penalties.
The Islanders dominated play in the second period, outshooting
the Thrashers 21-5, but had only one goal to show for it. Mark
Parrish scored his third of the season at 5:41, converting a nice
crossing pass from Shawn Bates after Bates deked Milan Hnilicka to
''Obviously, this is not the start we wanted,'' said Hnilicka,
''but I'm very positive we can work our way out of it. ... We want
to get our game to where we want it to be as soon as we can. We
want to avoid any changes, so it's important that we stick together
as a team.''
After being demoted to the fourth line in the last game,
Atlanta C Pascal Rheaume was a healthy scratch Saturday, as was D
Yannick Tremblay. ... D Francis Lessard made his Thrashers debut
and drew cheers for his first-period fight with Wiemer and
second-period bout with Eric Cairns. He also scored his first
career point with a third-period assist. ... Kozlov had a goal and
an assist to give him points in all five games this season, as does
RW Dany Heatley ... Osgood is 5-0 against Atlanta. ... Islanders LW
Raffi Torres has an assist in each of the three games since he was
recalled from AHL Bridgeport.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Philips Arena Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Referees: Dave Jackson, Greg Kimmerly Linesmen: Steve Miller, Mark Pare
Attendance: 13,653 (73.6% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Dave Scatchard (3)
Assist: Arron Asham
Patrik Stefan (3)
Assists: Andy Sutton, Slava Kozlov
Kenny Jonsson (1)
Assists: Dave Scatchard, Jason Blake
Mark Parrish (3)
Assists: Shawn Bates, Raffi Torres
Dan Snyder (1)
Assists: Richard Smehlik, Francis Lessard
Kirill Safronov (1)
Assists: Lubos Bartecko, Tomi Kallio