The New York Islanders scored early and carried that momentum to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers to put an end to the 2011 calendar year at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY on Long Island on Saturday afternoon.
The Oilers continue their road trip with a date in Chicago on January 2.
The start of the game was delayed until 1:22 as the Islanders honoured defenceman Ken Morrow, inducting him to their Hall of Fame.
The Oilers got off to a good start, keeping the play in the Islanders zone for a majority of the opening three minutes. The best chance came when Hemsky dangled in front of Isles netminder Evgeni Nabokov but could not get the puck on net.
Ben Eager took a penalty 2:53 in and the Islanders responded quickly. John Tavares picked up the puck at the side of the net and backhanded it behind Devan Dubnyk, who was down and out on the play.
Taylor Hall rang the puck off the post after taking a feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins about six minutes in.
With 7:02 to play in the period, Corey Potter teed up a blast from the right point which deflected in off Sam Gagner, tying the game at 1-1. After a brief video review to see if Gagner kicked it in, the goal was allowed to stand.
17 seconds later, the Islanders looked to have re-taken the lead when the puck went in off the skate of Matt Moulson. The goal was immediately waved off then put to video review.
Jeff Petry rang a shot off the iron with over five minutes to go after taking a pass from Shawn Horcoff in the slot.
Moulson got that goal back with 2:05 to play, taking a beauty spin feed from Tavares and potting it blocker side behind Dubnyk.
Steve Staios took a cross-checking penalty at the 18:08 mark, giving the Oilers their first power play of the day.
After one period, Oilers were outshooting New York 11 to 7 but the Islanders had a 2-1 lead.
A Ben Eager roughing penalty early in the period put the Oilers behind the eight ball, resulting in two quick Islanders goals and a 4-1 lead for the home side.
Moulson found Parenteau at the left circle where his shot eluded Dubnyk and made it 3-1. Moments later, Matt Martin's shot from the corner found its way into the back of the net.
Eager's penalty woes continued when he took a two minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct as well as a 10-minute misconduct in the latter half of the middle frame. The Islanders did not score this time, however.
Mark Streit took a holding penalty late in the period to give Edmonton a power play with a chance to get back in it but they were unable to generate much in the way of offence during the two minutes.
Hall tried to fight his way to the Islanders net in the dying seconds but he was held up by Streit. The Islanders defenceman received his second consecutive holding penalty as a result. Edmonton would start the third period with the man advantage.
Shots on goal were 21 to 13 for the Oilers after 40 minutes.
The Oilers were once again unable to generate much in the way of offence on the power play. In fact, the best chance in the opening minutes of the final frame went to the Islanders and Dubnyk had to be sharp in turning away Frans Nielsen on a breakaway.
Dubnyk was sharp again eight minutes in, denying Martin with a quick right pad save after Martin spun and shot it from the right hashmarks.
Several minutes later, Dubnyk slid across to make a nice stop on a Nielsen one-timer as he broke in on a two-on-one chance.