Dunham, the Islanders backup, looked every bit as sharp as regular goalie Rick DiPietro, and Arron Asham broke a second-period tie, lifting New York to a 4-1 victory against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
“It was just one of those games where the puck was hitting me,” Dunham said. “I certainly felt at ease out there, felt comfortable, and just played the game. They threw a lot of pucks at the net and fortunately I got in the way of most of them.”
Miroslav Satan, Jason Blake and Alexei Yashin also scored for New York, 3-0-1 on its five-game road trip.
Ville Peltonen had the only goal for the Panthers, and Ed Belfour made 29 saves.
Blake’s goal at 16:23 of the third period gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead. Yashin took the puck away from Olli Jokinen along the boards and passed from the right circle to Blake, who slid the puck by Belfour from in front. Blake leads the Islanders with 10 goals.
Satan had an empty-net score at 19:19.
“He (Dunham) definitely made the difference,” Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. “The goaltender made some pretty nice saves and they capitalized when they got some opportunities.”
New York took a 2-1 on Asham’s goal at 14:19 of the second. Sean Hill’s shot was blocked by Belfour but Asham picked up the loose puck and pushed it in. It was Asham’s first goal of the season.
Florida tied it 1-1 at 2:26 of the second. Juraj Kolnik’s shot hit Dunham’s left skate and bounced out in front of the crease. Peltonen was there for the rebound and poked in the puck. It was Peltonen’s first goal with the Panthers.
“It wasn’t a good result, so there’s no time to enjoy that goal,” Peltonen said. “We were just going and going to the net and shooting and shooting.”
The Islanders took a 1-0 lead on Yashin’s goal at 11:55 of the first. Jason Blake passed from the right circle to Yashin in the slot for a wrist shot that beat Belfour on the glove side.
“It was a sensational game (for Dunham),” Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. “He was in the right position at the right time. He is working on the fine details of the game and tonight he was very good.”
Notes: Yashin has eight goals and 14 assists in 18 games this season. … Florida LW Martin Gelinas was back in the lineup despite a rib injury sustained Thursday.