Islanders rally to beat Florida

December 31, 2008 3:06:05 PM PST
Mike Comrie scored twice in New York's three-goal second period - first with his skate and then with his stick - and the Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Wednesday. After Brett McLean gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with 1:36 left in the first period, the Islanders took over. Comrie stretched his goal streak to three games with the tying tally, and put New York in front later in the frame.

Sean Bergenheim added insurance in the final minute of the second, and defenseman Mark Streit scored a power-play goal in the third to give New York its first win over Florida since Dec. 9, 2006.

The Islanders - who own the fewest points in the NHL - will take any win against any opponent. New York is 2-10-2 in its last 14 games, but has earned points in three of four contests following a 10-game losing streak.

Joey MacDonald, subbing for a third straight game for oft-injured regular Rick DiPietro, made 27 saves for his 11th win of the season. The Islanders (12-22-4) headed to the airport after the game for a long New Year's Eve flight and a four-game western road trip.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 19 shots in two periods for the Panthers, who dropped their fourth straight (0-3-1) while starting a four-game trip of their own. Nathan Horton cut Florida's deficit to 4-2 with 28 seconds left.

Comrie went four games without a point after returning from a hip injury that forced him to miss 17 contests, but he has regained his scoring touch and has mastered the angles, too.

Kyle Okposo took a shot from the bottom edge of the right circle that reached the crease just as Comrie rushed the net. The puck struck Comrie's right skate while it was in stride and was steered perfectly past Vokoun 7:50 into the second. The play went to a brief video review, but the goal stood because Comrie didn't kick the puck.

That was just the beginning.

Comrie struck again with 4:55 left in the second after taking a pass from Doug Weight below the goal line to Vokoun's left during a power play. Comrie turned toward the net and fired a hard shot that slid through the crease and caromed in off Vokoun's right skate. It was Comrie's sixth goal of the season, and the assist gave Weight 999 NHL points in 17 seasons.

Bergenheim showed off his best bank shot to make it 3-1. He rushed the puck up the right wing in the closing seconds of the period and got past defenseman Karlis Skrastins as he charged the net. Bergenheim's shot struck the left post and then bounced in off Vokoun's back with 23.9 seconds left.

Streit pushed the Islanders' lead to a comfortable 4-1 when he whistled a shot past Craig Anderson from above the right circle with 6:28 remaining in the game. Anderson came on in relief to start the third period and made 12 saves.

Notes: New York had a goal waved off in the first when it was ruled that Jon Sim interfered with Vokoun. ... The Panthers recalled C Shawn Matthias from Rochester (AHL). ... Florida has allowed 18 goals during its four-game skid. ... The Islanders recalled LW Trevor Smith from Bridgeport (AHL), and the forward made his NHL debut. ... New York placed 37-year-old forward Mike Sillinger on the injured list with a hip injury. Sillinger missed the first 24 games this season while recovering from hip surgery.


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