x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Roloson thwarts the Leafs

The Leafs had fought back from three down to force the game into overtime but the Islanders' 40-year-old goaltender proved to be the difference.

The Leafs forward Jason Blake, right, battles for the puck with Islanders' forward Tim Jackman, left, and defenseman Andy Sutton as the goalie Dwayne Roloson watches on.
The Leafs forward Jason Blake, right, battles for the puck with Islanders' forward Tim Jackman, left, and defenseman Andy Sutton as the goalie Dwayne Roloson watches on.

Josh Bailey scored with 43 seconds remaining in overtime as the New York Islanders beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Monday after giving up a 3-0 lead. With the game heading towards a shoot-out, Bailey blasted a close range shot past Jonas Gustavsson to end a seven-game road trip on a winning note and condemn the Leafs to their sixth loss in seven games. The Leafs had fought back from three down to force the game into overtime but the Islanders' 40-year-old goaltender, Dwayne Roloson, proved the difference with a spectacular display of netminding. He faced a 61-shot barrage and stopped all but three of them.

"Roloson was unbelievable, he was lucky at times but what can you say, he was great," said Ron Wilson, the Toronto coach. "You can't fault the effort of the players. Unless we rolled over and died I thought we had a chance. This is what stealing a game is from a goaltender's point of view." The Islanders broke open the game midway through the second period with three goals in just over three minutes from Jeff Tambellini, Matt Moulson and Sean Bergenheim.

Phil Kessel replied late in the second period for the home team before goals from Wayne Primeau and Niklas Hagman forced the game into overtime. The spotlight was expected to fall on the Islanders' John Tavares, a Toronto local who was the number one overall pick in the 2009 draft and was making his first visit to the Air Canada Centre. But it was a quiet homecoming for Tavares, who leads the rookie scoring race with nine goals and 19 points but managed just one shot on net as Roloson stole the show.

"Hats off to Rollie, he stood on his head," said Tavares, who had close to 100 family and friends among the capacity crowd. "He was just great. "Actually I didn't feel too nervous as I thought I would be but I just wanted to play well. It's exciting playing here in the city I grew up in." Elsewhere, the Ottawa Senators beat the Washington Capitals, the Eastern Conference leaders, 4-3 in overtime for their fourth consecutive win.

Mike Fisher scored the winner for Ottawa, who trailed 3-1 at the end of the second period. "We've been elevating our game against top teams and that's a great sign," he said. David Jones scored twice as the Colorado Avalanche, 5-2 ahead at one stage, held off a late fightback to snap a two-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers "That 5-2 lead was really important," Jones said. "They never quit."

"We've blown enough two-goal leads to know we need three," added the Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson. The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame the Florida Panthers 3-2 thanks to Sidney Crosby's goal in overtime, while Marian Gaborik had two goals and two assists as the New York Rangers came from two goals down to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4. Martin Erat netted twice as the Nashville Predators posted their sixth successive win, beating the Detroit Red Wings 3-1, while Teemu Selanne scored the only shoot-out goal as the Anaheim Ducks edged past the Calgary Flames 3-2.

Goals in the first period for Ethan Moreau, Sheldon Souray and Ales Hemsky helped the Edmonton Oilers on their way to a 4-0 success over the Phoenix Coyotes. The Boston Bruins were 4-2 winners over the St Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0. * With agencies