Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Tuesday, December 10th
Game 2: Tuesday, March 25th

Blackhawks 3

(13-12-0, 29 pts)

Islanders 2

(11-14-0, 25 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 10, 2002

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
CHI 0 1 23
NYI 0 1 12

T. Arnason (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

E. Daze (Blackhawks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Thibault (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: .935

Arnason scores decisive goal for 'Hawks

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- It doesn't matter what team Theo Fleury plays for, he always enjoys tormenting the New York Islanders.

Theo Fleury

Fleury assisted on the game-tying goal by Eric Daze and watched linemate Tyler Arnason score the game-winner as the Chicago Blackhawks rallied Tuesday night for a 3-2 victory over the Islanders.

As the Blackhawks skated off after the final horn, Fleury waved to the 15,067 fans.

"It's always fun playing in this building,'' Fleury said. "I used to love playing in San Jose, but this place probably tops that. It's good now that I only have to play here once a year, though.''

Arnason's goal came at 9:36 of the final period. He intercepted a pass from Islanders forward Jason Wiemer at the blue line, moved to the high slot, and beat goalie Chris Osgood with a slap shot.

"I kind of just picked it off,'' Arnason said. "I was going to deke, but I just shot it instead.''

Chicago is 11-1-5 in its last 17 meetings with the Islanders. The Blackhawks' only loss was the night New York honored former coach Al Arbour on Jan. 25, 1997.

Steve Sullivan and Eric Daze also scored for Chicago, which got 29 saves from Jocelyn Thibault.

Roman Hamrlik and Dave Scatchard scored for New York. Osgood made 31 saves, but it wasn't enough to keep the Islanders from having their three-game winning streak snapped.

Hamrlik separated his left shoulder just over a minute into the third period when he crashed into the end boards while on his stomach. He will be out for four weeks.

The teams skated to a scoreless first period, as the Islanders wasted a two-man advantage that lasted 1:38. Thibault made two of his seven saves of the period during that stretch. Osgood made a nice stick save on Phil Housley in the first minute of the game, and then -- along with defenseman Kenny Jonsson -- managed to snuff a breakaway by Fleury at 15:15.

"We had a great opportunity with that 5-on-3, and just couldn't do anything with it,'' Islanders captain Michael Peca said. "We had our chances, but couldn't capitalize.''

The Blackhawks took the lead at 7:52 of the middle period when Sullivan, at the top of the crease, managed to tip Daze's centering pass past Osgood as Islanders defenseman Adrian Aucoin scrambled to cover him.

"Aucoin wasn't facing me, and I was able to see the puck coming,'' Sullivan said. "I sort of had to reach over him because he's bigger than me -- as are most of the players in the league.''

Hamrlik tied it off a faceoff at 12:51. He cut in from the left point, accepted a cross-ice feed from Jason Wiemer in the left circle, and wristed a short side shot past Thibault.

Scatchard put the Islanders ahead 3:52 into the final period. Wiemer's clear-in took a strange bounce off the back boards, and Scatchard, by the left post, put a backhander in off Thibault's pad.

Daze made it 2-2 at 7:49 when his slap shot from the top of the left circle trickled past Osgood.

"I'm sure if you asked him, he'd like to have had those last two goals back,'' Islanders coach Peter Laviolette said.

The Blackhawks won for just the fourth time on the road this season (4-8-2), and Thibault (29 saves) said that winning away from home is a must if Chicago is to qualify for the playoffs.

"We have to be better on the road,'' Thibault said. "Tonight was a good example. The way we came back scoring two big goals showed the character of the people in this room.''

Game notes

Fleury played in his third game since being reinstated from an NHL suspension for violating his substance-abuse aftercare program. He was booed all night. ... Chicago started a three-game, New York road trip. The Blackhawks visit the Rangers on Wednesday and Buffalo on Friday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press