30 March 2012
Uniondale, NY -- It was a night of first for several Islanders on Thursday night. Marty Reasoner scored his first goal as an Islander, Kyle Okposo hit a career high 20 goals in a season and Josh Bailey had his highest points total in his career. This all coming on the same night the Islanders beat the Penguins, one of the best teams in the NHL, 5-3 at Nassau Coliseum.
It was the second game in less than four days the Isles upset the Pens and helped their New York Rivals, the Rangers, maintain their top spot in the east.
Marty Reasoner opened the scoring at the 11:07; Mark Streit skated behind the net, from the far to near side, and hit Reasoner with pass at the top of the slot. It was his first goal as a New York Islander and the first time he scored since March 8, 2011 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I know that he’s waited a while for that,” said head coach Jack Capuano after the game about Reasoner’s goal. “Frans [Nielsen] made a great play, we had some zonetime and he changed at the right time and Marty came right through the slot. The hard work that he’s put in it’s good to see him get one.”
The Penguins tied the game in the second period with the Islanders on the power play. Pascal Dupuis fired a blast past the glove of Montoya to tie the game at one. Kyle Okposo put the Isles back on top eight minutes later when he fired a pass to Nino Niederrieter, who was moving to the net, but had the puck redirected into the net by the skate of Pens’ defensemen Deryk Engelland. Josh Bailey made it 3-1 when he scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 18:36 in the second period.
Kyle Okposo scored his second goal of the night, and 20th of the season, 5:52 into the third period off a feed from Josh Bailey.
The Pens looked to make a comeback; Jordan Staal snuck one past the glove of Montoya at 8:20 and Evgeni Malkin cut the Isles lead to one with 1:31 left in the game.
But Josh Bailey put the kaput on the comeback when he sealed the Isles win with an empty net goal, which was also his fifth point of the night.
“I think as a line we played a really good game and obviously happy to get a couple of points,” Bailey said after the game. “We found a way to get some goals and had a good cycle going there on Marty’s goal.”
Bailey finished the game with two goals and three assist for five points. It was the first time an Islander player has scored five points in one night at the Nassau Coliseum since Niklas Andersson did it back on December 10,1996.
After the game Okposo was happy to have hit 20 goals, but was more complimentary to how the team performed.
“It feels goo to get to 20 goals for the first time,” he told reporters. “I was happy with the way we responded after they had some momentum throughout periods of that game. Obviously Bailey played terrific.”