Saturday, February 24, 2007

Good Times, Good Times in Nassau [J. Mark English]

Usually I find it easy to neglect the hockey team that plays on Long Island. The Icelanders, as Steve Somers calls them, otherwise known at the New York Islanders, are playing like a playoff team right now. Today they won a crucial game against the Montreal Canadiens. The game was played before a sold out crowd. It was only the seventh sell out at Nassau Coliseum on the year. (Had to get that one in...) Anyway, heres a great wrap up on the game from Jason Lockhart.

Danish-native Frans Nielsen scored his first NHL goal and added an assist to help the Islanders pull even with Montreal in the Eastern Conference standings with a 3-2 win over the Canadiens in front of a sold out crowd of 16,234 at the Nassau Coliseum, Saturday afternoon. The win gives the Islanders 70 points, good for a spot in the seventh position with Montreal, which has played 64 games to the Islanders' 62.

"I was so pumped for Frans," said Islanders and Bridgeport linemate Jeff Tambellini. "He's the first kid to grow up in Denmark and do what he's been doing, so that's phenomenal. He's been a great friend of mine the whole year. Nielsen and I played every shift together down in Bridgeport. Whether it's PK, 5-on-5 or power play we're out there. Since we've been up, we've been doing everything together, so it was nice to be out there when he scored his first."

Tambellini and Jason Blake also tallied goals while Richard Park set-up two goals for the Islanders, who improved to 4-1 on their current seven-game home stand. Blake's goal was his 29th on the season a career high after totaling 28 last year in 76 games. Rick DiPietro earned his 27th win of the season, stopping 20 of 22 shots. Rookie netminder Jaroslav Halak allowed three goals on 31 shots.

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