Seven different scorers keep Islanders moving against Oilers

February 18, 1993|By New York Daily News

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Sure, it's easy to say now, but Islanders coach Al Arbour swears he knew his team wouldn't suffer a letdown against the Edmonton Oilers.

"I didn't have any doubts . . . that our team would be ready," Arbour said.

It was safe to say that after his team beat the Oilers, 7-2, Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum. Seven different players -- including Benoit Hogue on his first NHL penalty shot -- scored for the Islanders to help them win their second straight game and pull back into a fourth-place tie with the Devils in the Patrick.

"We had a very good, solid game all around tonight," Arbour said. "We didn't give them any opportunities. We skated well and moved the puck well."

"We were poor in our forechecking, we were bad in our backchecking, and we were nonexistent in our defensive zone," Oilers coach Ted Green said. "Does that cover it?"

Green was right to be harsh. His team did nothing after Zdeno Ciger's fluke goal had tied the game 1-1 at 3:27 of the first. Just out of the penalty box, Ciger stuck his stick out to deflect Jeff Norton's cross-ice pass up in the air and past the left leg of Islanders goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick, who started for the 14th time in 15 games.

"I was caught looking up the ice instead of looking at the puck," Fitzpatrick said. "I made the mistake of seeing the puck too late and it was a goal."

Referee Paul Stewart called for a video replay to see if Ciger, the ex-Devil, had touched the puck with a high stick before it beat Fitzpatrick. But the replay was inconclusive and the goal stood. But the Islanders were not hurt by it.

One minute, 24 seconds later, Hogue was pulled down by Oilers defenseman Brian Benning on a breakaway. To Hogue's surprise, Stewart signaled for a penalty shot and the crowd went wild.

A nervous Hogue went straight at Edmonton goaltender Ron Tugnutt with speed, put a slight deke to the backhand and slid a forehand between the goalie's pads to start the Isles on a run of six consecutive goals.

"Right before the game, I asked Claude Loiselle, who played with Tugnutt [in Quebec], where to go with him, and he said, 'Five-hole, 5-hole,' " Hogue said. "I was going to hang onto the puck and go around him after I deked, but when I made my first move, he gave me the opening, so I shot it."

The goal lifted the Islanders, as did the shaky goaltending of Tugnutt. Derek King scored before the period was over, and Travis Green, Patrick Flatley (on a breakaway) and Marty McInnis also beat him before Ted Green finally yanked him at 13:03 of the second in favor of Bill Ranford. Rookie defenseman Dennis Vaske tipped in McInnis' pass against Ranford for his first NHL goal to make it 7-1 before Shjon Podein closed the scoring at 17:26 of the second.

NOTES: The win was the Islanders' first over Edmonton at the Coliseum since Valentine's Day 1989, and they won season series (2-0-1) for the first time since 1988. . . . With RW Brad Dalgarno away for his father-in-law's funeral, Arbour chose to dress seven defensemen rather than insert Dan Marois or David Volek into the lineup. Volek has been scratched for 14 straight games. . . . RW Steve Thomas had two assists to extend his scoring streak to 10 games, and LW Derek King's goal extended his point streak to nine. . . . C Pierre Turgeon, who scored his 36th goal 34 seconds into the game, got his 300th NHL assist on King's goal.

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