Vancouver Canucks beat Islanders in New York
Although Vancouver won on the road, Canucks coach John Tortorella called a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders “an absolute mess, right on through.”
The Associated Press and The New York Times
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – John Tortorella was pleased his Vancouver Canucks left Long Island with two points he felt they should have had two days earlier in Columbus.
How they got these is another story.
“I thought it was an absolute mess, right on through,” the blustery coach said after the Canucks rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
“It seems like every time we come into this building ... it turns into a cluster.”
The Canucks erased a 2-0 deficit in the first period, a 3-2 hole in the second, and overcame a tying goal by the Islanders’ Frans Nielsen with 1:12 left in regulation.
Vancouver improved to 3-1-1 on its seven-game trip that has two stops remaining. This victory took a little bit of the sting off a 3-1 loss in Columbus on Sunday.
“I give them credit,” said Tortorella, previously coach of the New York Rangers. “It was ugly. We made a ton of mistakes, they made a ton of mistakes, but we found a way to win. That’s what I was so disappointed in Columbus about. It was a game that good teams win. We didn’t.
“Tonight is another type of game where I think if you’re going to get there in the end, you have to win.”
Brad Richardson provided the deciding goal, banking the puck in off Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov 2:16 into overtime with Vancouver’s 33rd shot.
The Islanders salvaged a point when, with Nabokov pulled, Nielsen fired the rebound of Andrew MacDonald’s shot into the open left side, past the outstretched glove of Roberto Luongo to tie the score at 4.
“We found a way in the third period,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We need some guys to play better. We need some guys to engage more if they want the ice time they want. That will be addressed.”
Chris Higgins had given the Canucks their first lead — 4-3 — with 17.2 seconds left in the second period. He scored off a feed from defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who took the puck away from Brock Nelson in the New York zone.
“It wasn’t the prettiest one, but we’ll take it,” said Higgins, a Long Island native with dozens of friends and family in attendance.
Nabokov, 38, has played in all but one of New York’s nine games, but could soon lose playing time to backup Kevin Poulin.
“I’m not going to discuss the goaltending,” Capuano said. “Poulin is going to get his chance shortly. If he plays well, he’s going to play more.”
Tortorella kept his composure during six minutes of questioning in the morning. He was in the area for the first time as coach of the Canucks.
Tortorella gracefully handled a question that seemed engineered to set him off: Was he surprised at the Rangers’ 2-5 start under Alain Vigneault, the former Canucks coach?
“That’s not fair — I’m not getting involved in that,” said Tortorella, who was fired in May after five seasons as Rangers coach. “I’ll tell you something: I loved working for the Rangers, and I love this area.”