Here's something you don't see everyday: Last night, the New York Islanders defeated the Vancouver Canucks 7-4 — by scoring seven goals in the third period!
Heading into the final 20 minutes of the game, the Isles trailed 3-0. It was a typical position for the team, which has struggled all season despite heavy expectations. But if there's a team with more problems that New York, it's Vancouver. The Canucks are rudderless these days, and the Islanders took advantage in a big way.
"A 3-0 deficit going into the third period, we were pretty deflated," Islanders winger Matt Martin said. "The coaches came in and made it clear we didn't do enough in the second period and we didn't play for one another, and if we didn't pick up our game in the third period they'd have no problem taking guys out of the lineup."
That was all the team needed to heat, apparently, because the goals started lighting up the scoreboard. Three of the scores came on the power play, and all seven were tallied by seven different players. Josh Bailey got it started at 1:13 off the third. Two minutes later, Ryan Strome found the back of the net, followed by Calvin de Haan, Frans Nielsen, Matt Martin, Anders Lee, and Cal Clutterbuck, who scored an empty netter with 18 seconds left in the game to add insult to injury for the Canucks.
"It's was a very weird third period," Canucks goalie Eddie Lack said. "It's not only the (penalty killers') fault, it's my fault, too. I need to stop the puck, and I didn't."
Both teams are out of the postseason picture, and with 15 games left in their seasons both are playing for pride. The Islanders have a ton of it right now. The Canucks, they're trying to figure out how things went so wrong.
"This is a kick in the teeth," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. "It's certainly going to take a little bit more than normal coach's speak (to get) by this game."
So where does the Isles' third-period breakout rank all-time? Pretty close to the top. The Buffalo Sabres scored the most goals in one period — nine! — in 1981.