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Islanders 5, Lightning 4: Park shines; no asterisk needed

Thanks to some other-worldly events, the Islanders grabbed their first regulation win -- 5-4 over the Lightning -- since Jan. 18, a span of 11 games. No asterisk on this baby. The most unusual events included goals from Blake Comeau, Doug Weight and two from Richard Park (combined season total for those three before today: 10 goals).

The line of the day went to Park in the on-ice post-game interview of the first star. When asked about the review of his no-doubt game winner that he beautifully tucked in the top corner from his back foot, but which was not immediately ruled a goal, Park said with a big, wide grin: "You never know in this league." Colin Campbell observers agree.

Game Sum. | Event Sum. | Corsi | Recaps: | Isles

With nine even-strength goals, this was actually a sloppy yet entertaining game. There were breakaways and coverage breakdowns from both sides, but also some individual efforts that make you smile.

A couple that didn't show up on the scoresheet:

  • Kyle Okopso's shorthanded interception, where he skated all the way across the ice to retrieve the puck from the boards, then all the way back to cut in and make a nice move on Antero Niittymaki. The only thing keeping him from scoring was an equally nifty stick check from Adrej Meszaros.
  • Bruno Gervais keeping Vincent Lecavalier from undressing him on a one-on-one, followed by the always diligent Frans Nielsen coming back to take the second forward and prevent a goal.
  • The Islanders survived a very early 5-on-3 that could have severely started things off on a sour note.
  • Nate Thompson obliging Matt Martin in a professional fight shortly after Mattias Ohlund laid a rather tame blueline hit on John Tavares. After exchanging blows, they exchanged respectful verbal pats on the back in the penalty box. Only in hockey.

But perhaps no sequence was sweeter than the game-winner.

Doug Weight, who'd earlier notched his first goal of the season, undressed Brandon Bochenski at the blueline, then fed a speeding Park -- yes, he still has those legs -- down the right wing. Park got the first shot on Niittymaki, picked up his own rebound and as he flew behind the net for the wraparound shot -- also stopped by Niittymaki -- but picked up yet another rebound to pop it in the top far corner as he glided backwards and fell to one knee.

As WebBard pointed out in the game thread, the play-by-play looked like this:

TB – 17:19, N. Thompson missed shot
NYI – 17:37, R. Park shot on goal
NYI – 17:37, R. Park shot on goal
NYI – 17:37, R. Park shot on goal
NYI – 17:38, R. Park goal (unassisted)

Game Highlights

There was more to talk about, but these matinee games cramp my Saturday style. So I have to run and will add any amazing insights that come to me over a bottle of wine later. The floor is yours.

Reminder: Tomorrow's home game against Ottawa -- the last until after the Olympic break -- begins at 5 p.m. EST.