Mike York, Trent Hunter and Chris Simon scored in a 1:46 span of
the second period, then York got the deciding goal in the shootout
as Dunham outlasted Anaheim Ducks counterpart Jean-Sebastien
Giguere for a 5-4 victory on Wednesday night.
"Mike had some pretty good shooters going against him and he
did well," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said after Dunham turned back
Chris Pronger, Andy McDonald, Teemu Selanne, Chris Kunitz and Rob
Niedermayer in succession. "As far as his positioning and blocking
of shots, he didn't get himself in any trouble and gave us a great
opportunity to win the game."
The 34-year-old Dunham won the backup position in training camp
as a non-roster invitee after spending last season with Atlanta.
The job opened when Garth Snow was promoted to general manager
following the sudden firing of Neil Smith, who spent less than six
weeks as GM.
"There weren't that many spots out there," Dunham said.
"There were a couple of teams we talked to, but I've known Rick
for a long time, and Shawn Bates -- and obviously I've known Garth.
So I just thought it would be fun to go back East, where I'm from.
They offered me a tryout coming into camp, and fortunately things
Alexei Yashin scored the tying goal with 3:43 left in regulation
for the Islanders, who had opened the season with three straight
losses for the first time in the franchise's 35-year history. They
won despite getting outshot 50-24.
Samuel Pahlsson scored his first two goals of the season, Corey
Perry also scored and Pronger had a goal and an assist for the
Ducks, who had their first 3-0 start since the NHL expanded to
Anaheim for the 1993-94 season.
Dunham, making his first start in goal for the Islanders, made
46 saves. Rick DiPietro, who signed a 15-year, $67.5 million
contract last month, took the loss in New York's first three games.
"I felt relaxed out there," Dunham said. "I certainly saw a
lot of shots early and got into the flow of the game. I think that
helped out a lot."
The Ducks outshot the Islanders 17-5, but had to settle for a
1-0 lead because of Dunham's acrobatics.
"We came out and dominated that first period, and we had a ton
of scoring chances," Pronger said. "They came out a lot better in
the second period and we didn't have the same intensity and speed
that we had in the first. But we battled hard to come back and take
the lead and showed a lot of fortitude."
The Ducks made quick work of the Islanders' penalty-killing unit
twice in the third period to grab a 4-3 lead. Pronger converted
Kunitz's pass from behind the net just 5 seconds after Brendan Witt
was penalized for cross-checking. Perry connected on a rebound at
the edge of the crease just 6 seconds after Sean Hill was sent off
"You don't want to do that with a 3-2 lead, but that's part of
the new NHL and you have to try to kill penalties better," Dunham
said. "But at the same time, you have to limit the power plays
because that's where teams get a lot of momentum and get a lot of
their shots. They have a good power play and they move the puck
well, but we found a way to win."
Giguere, playing in his 300th regular-season game and coming off
a shutout of St. Louis on Monday night, surrendered three goals on
four shots as the Islanders grabbed a 3-1 lead at 5:28 of the
York converted Arron Asham's pass form behind the net, beating
Giguere to the stick side after a turnover deep in the Anaheim
zone. The Islanders pulled ahead 43 seconds later when Hunter threw
a lazy wrist shot at the net through a screen from the right point
and the puck got through a maze of players before eluding Giguere's
glove. Simon gave the Islanders a two-goal lead 63 seconds later on
a power play.
Dunham is the sixth player to have played for the
Islanders, Rangers and Devils, and the second goaltender to do it --
along with John Vanbiesbrouck. ... The victory was the first for
Nolan in the NHL since the 1996-97 campaign, when he was named
coach of the year in just his second season in the league.