Big 1st Period Carries Islanders To 1st Win

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(credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Andrew MacDonald and Frans Nielsen scored first-period goals and the New York Islanders hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Monday despite a lackluster final two periods.

Al Montoya made 20 saves in his second straight start over Rick DiPietro. Unlike his outing in the season-opening 2-0 loss to Florida on Saturday, Montoya got some offense and held off the Wild to give the Islanders their first win of the season.

Montoya lost his shutout bid 1:13 into the third period when Matt Cullen scored his second goal in two games. Minnesota lost its first road game of the season after opening with a 4-2 home win over Columbus on Saturday.

New York managed to hold off the Wild despite being outshot 19-5 after their impressive first period.

Minnesota had chances to at least get even, but failed to connect on five power-play opportunities — including a 44-second, two-man advantage in the second period that didn’t generate a shot, and a pair of third-period advantages.

The Islanders took care of their offensive woes in a hurry following the uninspired loss to Florida.

MacDonald netted New York’s first goal of the young season when he stepped into a rebound of defense partner Travis Hamonic’s shot that caromed out near the blue line. He ripped a drive that rattled in off the left post at 9:05 — just 11 seconds into Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu’s tripping penalty.

The lead grew to 2-0, again from the blue line created by the defense. Mark Streit faked a shot from the left point, glided into a zone a bit farther, and wound up again. Instead of firing a shot, Streit — the new Islanders captain who missed all of last season because of a shoulder injury — sent a hard pass down to the right post to Nielsen for a perfect redirect goal at 11:45.

P.A. Parenteau had the secondary assist on both goals.

Despite drawing two power plays in the opening 5:09 when the game was scoreless, the Wild mustered only two shots on Montoya in the first period. Minnesota didn’t record a shot on either advantage.

Niklas Backstrom kept the Islanders’ lead at two goals in the one-sided period by making a strong save in the crease against Matt Moulson, who deflected a shot from point-blank range with just over 5 minutes remaining.

Minnesota came out stronger to start the second period and earned another power play at 1:24, but still couldn’t do anything with it. At least this time the Wild got a shot during the advantage and totaled three overall in the opening 1:32 of the frame — but didn’t get any past Montoya.

The shot totals completely turned in that period, when Minnesota held a 10-2 advantage. The Wild were helped late in the period when they had their 5-on-3, but failed to cut into the Islanders’ lead. Dany Heatley had a chance in front on the second half of the power play, but put an in-close shot into Montoya.

NOTES: Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who had two assists in the Wild’s season opener, served the first game of a two-game suspension for high-sticking Columbus forward Matt Calvert on Saturday. Bouchard will also sit out Tuesday at Ottawa. He is eligible to return Thursday against Edmonton. … Both teams used their lone timeout before the second period was over. The Wild called theirs before the two-man advantage. … MacDonald had a career-best 27 points last season before being shut down with seven games remaining because of a hip injury.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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