Tuesday night, the visiting Ottawa Senators handed the New York Islanders quite possibly their most difficult loss of the season. The Islanders had a commanding 3-1 lead over the Senators after Evgeni Nabokov provided a stellar 40 minutes in net, making 20/21 saves by the end of the 2nd period. Unfortunately for the Islanders the game changed completely once they took the ice in the 3rd period, as a series of lucky breaks, deflections and broken down plays resulted in a 4-3 Ottawa lead.
During the 3rd period, controversy erupted a midst the crowd after two controversial plays. The first, a play where a puck in the air was knocked down with a Senator high stick, then played by a Senator Teammate that ultimately led to the game winning goal for Ottawa by Sergei Gonchar with only a minute remaining. The second came minutes later, when on ice referees gave the nod to Keith Aucoin as he scored for his second time of the night, tying the score 4-4. The play was then reviewed by officials in Toronto and the call was reversed to a “No goal”, with the reasoning being that Aucoin used a “distinct kicking motion” to move the puck past the goal line. To add insult to injury, with only a minute remaining the Islanders pulled their goalie in a last effort to tie the game, only for Ottawa’s Guillaume Latendresse to score an empty net goal for a final score of 5-3. The Islanders left the game with a 13-13-3 record, and the Senators improved to 16-8-6.
The 3 stars of the game were:
1: Sergei Gonchar
2: Kyle Okposo
3: Zack Smith
Winning Goaltender: Ben Bishop
Losing Goaltender: Evgeni Nabokov
Brandon Titus photographed the game for Inside Hockey.