A busy night across the NHL as 10 games were up for grabs. While the buzz was the arrival of Sidney Crosby in Western Canada, the excitement here was for all the Former Islander action. FIs were on fire scoring 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points and a win in net. Let us take a look at the FI contributions from Wednesday night:
* Ryan Smyth has another big game. Smyth notched 3 points for the second time in 5 nights and has 6 points over his last 3 games. Smyth notched 3 assists, including one on the shortlived game tying goal, as the Colorado Avalanche lost 5-4 against the host Columbus Blue Jackets. He now has 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists) on 27 games this season. The 3 assist night was his first since January 4 when Smyth was still an Oiler.
* Zdeno Chara opened the scoring as the Boston Bruins blew an early 3 goal lead to lose to the host New Jersey Devils 4-3 in OT. Also racking up 33:14 of ice time, the goal was Chara's 4th of the season. He now has 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) on 26 games.
* If it were not for Olli Jokinen the Florida Panthers would not even be able to muster the 4 goals that were not even good enough to defeat the Ottawa Senators. The Sens dropped the host Panthers 5-4 despite the best efforts of the Florida captain who is one of the few bright spots on this lackluster Southeast Division squad. Jokinen scored 2 goals, one powerplay, and added an assist for his fourth 3 point game of the season. O-Jok now has 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points in 28 games. Over the last 3 games, Jokinen has 5 points on 3 goals and 2 assists. Lending a hand on the second O-Jok goal was fellow FI Richard Zednik. With the assist Zed now has 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) on 24 games. Helping the Ottawa attack was second star of the night Randy Robitaille whose 2 goals, including the game winner, helped the Sens snap their recent slide. His second 2 goal game of the season, Robitaille snapped a 13 game goal-less streak. He now has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) on 18 games this season. The game winner was Robitaille's 10th of his career and first since January 27 shortly after he had joined the Islanders for a second stint.
* Taylor Pyatt sometimes flashes the offensive ability that earned him a new contract with the Vancouver Canucks in the offseason. Pyatt notched 2 assists, including one on the game winner, to help the Canucks pull off a 3-2 win over the host Chicago Blackhawks. Pyatt now has 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) on 27 games this year. Roberto Luongo also did his thing for Vancouver stopping 25 of 27 shots to record the win. Luongo improved to 13-10-2. Both his save percentage (.923) and goals against average (2.17) are currently improved over last season when he notched 47 wins.
* Robert Nilsson is on a hot streak while Edmonton remains, well, Edmonton. The Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision against first-time visitor Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (sounds like a band name). Nilsson scored his 2nd goal of the season to open the scoring. Snapping an 11 game goal-less streak, Nilsson now has 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) on 21 games. He has scored 4 points in the last 4 games (1 goal, 3 assists) tying the longest point scoring streak of his career. The last time he had 4 or more points in 4 games was between March 19-25, 2006 when he was still with the Isles.
* Finally, Mathieu Schneider is back on the boxscore. Snapping a 4 game point-less streak, Schneider scored the game winning powerplay goal and added a powerplay assist on the final goal of the game to power the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-1 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. We have no clue how Schneider did not get a star of the game slot! Mats (that is what he used to be called) now has 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) on 11 games this season. Six of those points, including all of his goals, have come with the man advantage. Also boosting the Anaheim offense was Todd Bertuzzi who scored an insurance goal. With 15 games played, Bert now has 7 points on 2 goals and 5 assists. Tim Connolly had the secondary assist on the lone Buffalo goal. Averaging nearly a point a night, Connolly now has 19 points (3 goals, 16 assists) on 20 games this season. Connolly is currently working on a career season, if he can stay healthy, and is on pace for about 73 points.
Check back soon for more FI highlights here at your home for the "once were" Islanders.