Coyotes Fall to Islanders on Late Goal by Nielsen

Jerry Brown  - NHL.com Correspondent | Sunday, 11.09.2014 / 12:39 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen one-timed a Mikhail Grabvoski feed past Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith with 2:31 left in the third period to give the Islanders a 1-0 win Saturday night.

The Islanders regrouped from consecutive losses to the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks to finish their five-game Western Conference road trip with three consecutive victories (3-2-0).

The shutout against the Coyotes followed one-goal wins against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday and Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, making the Islanders 6-1-0 in one-goal games and showing New York coach Jack Capuano the maturity is seeking.

"To go into those buildings with the teams that they have and win, it builds confidence in your team and gives you the trust in one another," Capuano said. "To go up against top teams and compete with them for 60 minutes, that's what it's all about. Hopefully we can build on this."

Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves for his first shutout of the season.

Halak had a lot of help in front of him. New York blocked 16 shots, with 13 Islanders credited with at least one. It seemed the Islanders were in the Coyotes' shooting lanes all night.

Arizona had a chance to tie the game on the power play after New York defenseman Brian Strait took down Shane Doan with 1:37 left in the third. But with Smith on the bench and the Coyotes working with a 6-on-4 advantage, they were unable to produce a shot on goal and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.

"Guys did a really good job, especially with their sticks there at the end," Halak said. "A couple of passes could have gotten through, but guys had sticks in the lanes and they were ready. We were skating hard, blocking shots and we played a really good game for 60 minutes."

Smith made 31 saves a night after he stopped 37 shots in a 3-2 shootout win against Anaheim. But the Coyotes, who returned to Arizona at 2:30 a.m. local time, appeared to be missing their jump on back-to-back nights, and the Islanders didn't give them any room to get going.

"You have to give them some credit, but we didn't have the normal zip that we have on our power play," said Head Coach Dave Tippett, who tied Bob Francis for most games coached with the Coyotes at 390. "You're trying to give yourself a chance to win, even though you're coming into the game at a disadvantage. We did that for a lot of the game. We needed somebody to make that play to make that difference. Unfortunately, they got it.

"We're still making strides forward and certainly strides forward in Mike Smith's game. We're playing better as a group and hopefully we can take those positives and continue on next week."

The Coyotes had nine of their 19 shots on the power play, but came up empty against Halak on five chances with the man advantage.

"You have to find a way to get one," Doan said. "We had enough power-play opportunities. We were close in a lot of areas, but pucks weren't bouncing in the right direction. You can't afford to do that and give them life.

"Smitty was really good, but it doesn't matter if you don't score. We need to find the balance between playing our game defensively and finding a way to generate offense."

The Islanders found just enough offense. Nielsen was stopped on a great set-up by Grabovski in the second period, but didn't miss when he got a second chance.

"[Grabovski] came in with a lot of speed around the net, and I came in late and tried to sneak in to find an open spot," said Nielsen, who has five goals and four assists in the first 14 games. "It was a great pass and it was good to see it go in. I was really able to step into the one earlier, but (Smith) made a good save."

Scoring Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
3rd Period
17:29NYI Frans Nielsen (5) ASST: Mikhail Grabovski (4), Thomas Hickey (2) 1 - 0 NYI
Three Stars of the Game
Frans Nielsen
Frans Nielsen
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 1TOI: 15:36
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
SA: 33TOI: 58:19
GA: 1EV: 22-23
PIM: 0PP: 8-8
SV%: .970SH: 2-2
Jaroslav Halak
Jaroslav Halak
SA: 19TOI: 60:00
GA: 0EV: 7-7
PIM: 0PP: 10-10
SV%: 1.000SH: 2-2
Penalty Summary
1st Period
06:00NYI Brock Nelson  Boarding against  Mikkel Boedker
11:09ARI Mikkel Boedker  Holding against  Calvin de Haan
2nd Period
14:25NYI Cal Clutterbuck  Elbowing against  Brandon Gormley
17:18ARI Joe Vitale  Holding against  Lubomir Visnovsky
19:28NYI Frans Nielsen  Hooking against  Brandon McMillan
3rd Period
02:34NYI Brian Strait  Interference against  Lauri Korpikoski
13:15ARI B.J. Crombeen  Hooking against  Brock Nelson
18:23NYI Brian Strait  Tripping against  Shane Doan
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/30/5
Faceoff Wins2727
Blocked Shots1613
Penalty Minutes106
2N. LeddyD0013017:27
3T. HamonicD0012023:45
11L. VisnovskyD0002017:42
14T. HickeyD0102018:07
15C. ClutterbuckR0002214:29
17M. MartinL000008:31
18R. StromeR0003017:47
21K. OkposoR0002020:07
27A. LeeL0010012:11
29B. NelsonL0002218:09
36E. BoultonL000006:22
37B. StraitD0000417:55
44C. de HaanD0000021:27
51F. NielsenC1014215:36
53C. CizikasC0000010:23
84M. GrabovskiC0112012:28
86N. KuleminL0002018:05
91J. TavaresC0007019:52
41J. Halak19191.00060:00
3K. YandleD0004024:18
4Z. MichalekD0000017:23
5C. MurphyD00-10019:06
8T. RiederR0001011:38
9S. GagnerC0003018:34
10M. EratR00-12016:52
11M. HanzalC00-11020:40
14J. VitaleC000029:43
19S. DoanR0000017:16
22B. McMillanL00-1009:40
26M. StoneD0001017:34
28L. KorpikoskiL0001015:15
33B. GormleyD00-11016:48
36R. KlinkhammerL0000010:14
44B. CrombeenR000027:23
50A. VermetteC0000018:34
89M. BoedkerL0001219:54
41M. Smith3233.97058:19