Wild 4, Islanders 3
Blake had complete feeling in all of his extremities and didn’t sustain any serious back or neck injuries when he crashed headfirst into the boards Tuesday night in New York’s 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Blake, New York’s second-leading scorer with 24 points on 13 goals and 11 assists, was still undergoing tests a few hours after the game and was expected to remain overnight at North Shore University Hospital as a precaution.
With 12:40 left in the third period, Blake and Wild rookie defenseman Kurtis Foster were chasing a loose puck in the Minnesota zone. Foster’s stick caught Blake’s skate, sending him into the boards headfirst in the corner. Foster’s knee then accidentally hit Blake’s head after it hit the boards.
“We were just going in the corner, and I was trying to finish him,” Foster said. “My knee might have caught his head. It’s really scary to see someone lying there, not moving, and with his eyes closed.”
After being down for nearly 10 minutes, with Islanders team doctor Elliot Pellman tending to him, Blake was helped to his feet and placed on the stretcher.
“Our thoughts are with Jason tonight,” Islanders coach Steve Stirling said late Tuesday. “He knows he has the complete support of his team. We look forward to getting him back, but that’s for another day. The good news is that he’s going to be OK.”
With the loss, the Islanders dropped to 6-6-0-1 at home. They are 9-7-0-1 on the road.
Marc Chouinard scored the winning goal on a power play with 2.8 seconds left in the second period. Chouinard’s goal came just 9 seconds after Islanders forward Arron Asham took the second of three penalties in a 3-minute span, and helped the Wild to their second outright win in their last eight games (2-4-2).
Marion Gaborik scored twice and Willie Mitchell added a goal for the Wild, who got 31 saves from Manny Fernandez. Chris Campoli, Miroslav Satan and Mark Parrish scored for New York, and Rick DiPietro turned aside 18 shots.
Mitchell opened the scoring 54 seconds into the game, taking a drop pass from Alexandre Daigle above the left circle and firing a slap shot into the top right corner. It was the Wild’s first shot of the game.
The Wild made it 2-0 at 7:01 when Gaborik finished off a 2-on-1 break with Wes Walz by one-timing a cross-ice feed past DiPietro to the short side. It was the Wild’s third shot on goal.
Stirling is frustrated with his team’s slow starts, especially at home.
“I don’t have any idea why,” Stirling said. “We knew they would come out and skate, and we didn’t keep up with them for the first five or seven minutes.”
The Islanders got back into the game with their first shot of the second period, with Campoli’s left-point slapper beating a screened Fernandez at 2:15.
The Islanders then scored twice in a 56-second span to take the lead.
Satan’s team-leading 14th goal tied it at 2-2 on a power play. His backhander near the crease while falling down got past Fernandez at 8:48.
Parrish gave the Islanders their first lead at 9:44 when he centered a pass that deflected off defenseman Foster’s skate past Fernandez.
Minnesota tied it on a power play at 13:27 when DiPietro never moved on Gaborik’s center point shot as the puck hit off Parrish’s skate and went between his pads
The power play was a result of a bench minor to New York, one that Stirling said turned the game around.
“Satan didn’t listen,” Stirling said. “He was sleeping, and when you’re sleeping, you’re not ready. The other two guys heard the change loud and clear, so there’s no excuse. That was the beginning of the demise.”
The Wild regained the lead with 2.8 seconds left in the period on a power play. Chouinard’s weak backhander from the slot found its way in.
Islanders forward Arron Asham took three penalties at the end of the period.
After serving a slashing penalty, Asham came out of the box and said something to a linesman, and was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. After Chouinard’s goal, Asham came out of the box and broke his stick, earning another unsportsmanlike penalty and a 10-minute misconduct.
“It’s flat-out wrong,” Stirling said. “He has to take the penalty, take his medicine, keep his mouth shut, and take it out on the other team by scoring a goal or making a big hit—legally.”
Minnesota finished a stretch where they played five straight road games, went home for one contest, then flew to Long Island. They start a three-game homestand on Thursday night. … The Wild won the first three meetings between the two teams, and the Islanders won the next three before Tuesday’s loss.