Nielsen, MacDonald lift Islanders past Canucks

UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) — Frans Nielsen scored in the
first round of the shootout and Joey MacDonald stopped all three
attempts in the bonus format as the New York Islanders recorded
a 2-1 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

Doug Weight tallied in regulation and MacDonald turned aside 31
shots for New York, which has won three in a row after dropping
nine of its previous 11 games.

The three-game win streak is the team’s longest since they won
six in a row last season from February 12-21.

“We have been playing well the last three or four games. You
have to pick your game up against a guy like that (Vancouver
goaltender Roberto Luongo),” MacDonald said. “He’s not going to
let too many in. If you get down a couple of goals, it’s a long
way back.”

Pavol Demitra scored and Luongo finished with 34 saves against
his former team for Vancouver, which fell to 4-2-1 in its last
seven games.

Nielsen, who had an assist in regulation, netted the lone tally
in the shootout after slipping a backhander past Luongo to give
the Islanders an early advantage.

“I knew what I was going to do,” Nielsen said. “(Luongo) is a
big guy. I tried to fake a shot like I was going five-hole. He
went down, and I went to my backhand and tried to get it up, and
it worked.”

MacDonald did the rest, denying Kyle Wellwood and Demitra with
pad saves before poke-checking the puck away from Alex Burrows
in the third round of the bonus session.

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“I thought he was going to shoot, but he deked, and I got my
stick on the puck,” MacDonald said of Burrows’ chance.

Demitra opened the scoring just 49 seconds into the contest
after accepting a feed from Daniel Sedin and blasting a shot
past MacDonald for his third goal of the season.

With his team on the power play, Weight leveled the contest with
5:25 remaining in the second period after unleashing a slap shot
from the left point which beat a thoroughly screened Luongo for
his fourth tally of the campaign.

“I thought our guys came out with good energy in both ends of
the rink, but for some reason we were totally flat in the
second,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “There were a
lot of turnovers that led to good scoring opportunities. I like
the way we came back in the third and battled hard, but we came
up short.”

Daniel Sedin agreed with his coach’s assessment.

“We lost some momentum when we took penalties in the second,” he
said. “They got shots and scoring chances on the power play,
and the momentum turned around. Every goalie we face seems to
be on top of their game. We have to find a way to get some dirty
goals – get around the net and get some garbage goals.”