Nathan Lawson made 28 saves in relief of Rick DiPietro, and John Tavares scored 2 goals to lead the Islanders to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames last night at the Saddledome. The suddenly streaking Isles are now 7-1-1 in their last 9.
Lawson, recalled from Bridgeport after the trade of G Dwayne Roloson, was pressed into action in the second period when starter Rick DiPietro was forced to leave the game with a strained groin. Lawson stopped 28 of 29 shots in relief, and though he wasn’t officially credited with the win, it sure felt like one to him.
“It feels good to get a win and get a few games under my belt now,” the 27-year-old netminder said. “It’s a dream come true. I just want to keep rolling with it and prove myself now.”
“I know what a competitor he is and he came in on a power play, too. Pretty rough go for it there but he accepted the challenge,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said of Lawson. “I thought he was square to the puck, played the rebounds pretty well, and he battled for us tonight.”
The red-hot Tavares got the scoring started at 3:37 of the 1st period, with the first of his 2 goals, both of which he scored on the power play. Matt Moulson added his first of the game at 8:29 to increase the Isles’ lead to 2-0. After David Moss scored the first of his 2 goals on the night to draw the Flames within 1, Tavares scored his 2nd PPG of the night, and 13th on the season to send the Isles into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead.
At 3:06 of the 2nd, Moulson scored his second of the night and 14th of the year to stretch the lead to 4-1. Moss then scored his second of the night, and 6th of the season, at 13:22 when a shot by Tim Jackman bounced off his body and behind Lawson to get the Flames back with 2, at 4-2.
Michael Grabner added his 9th, and empty netter, at 18:54 of the 3rd for the final margin of victory.
“A good all-around game for us,” Tavares said. “Great for Lawson to get in there and do his thing, coming in cold. Everyone did their role and we handled the lead well and the pressure when we needed to.”
Plus/Minus: PLUS: Tavares has gone 3-5-8 in his last 5 games. He now has 27 pts in 34 games. PLUS: Moulson’s 2 goals gave him 14 on the year, which leads the team. Tavares is 2nd with 13. PLUS: DiPietro started just his 2nd game ever in the Saddledome, the site of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, when he became the first goaltender to ever be selected #1 overall. MINUS: Blake Comeau was a scratch due to back spasms. MINUS: DiPietro left game in 2nd period with a groin strain. Isles recalled G Kevin Poulin as a precaution. Poulin has a 2.13 GAA and .931 save percentage in 14 AHL games this season with Bridgeport.
About the Author
Written by Patrick Creighton
Host of the Sportswire - Fridays from 6-7pm, on 88.1fm WCWP (NY), www.wcwp.org, and www.wcwpsports.org. Play-by-play voice for CW Post Football. Contributing writer to WCWPSports.com, ProSportsBlogging.com. Has appeared on 660 WFAN-NY and YES Network.