UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -No one expected Scott Gordon's first NHL coaching victory to come with someone other than Rick DiPietro in goal for the New York Islanders.
Using an early barrage and steady play from backup netminder Joey MacDonald, the Islanders ran away to a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in the home opener Saturday night.
"It was the way we played," said Gordon, last season's AHL coach of the year who opened his NHL career Friday with a 2-1 loss at New Jersey. "Hopefully that's going to be our identity as a team and that's how we're going to play.
"We haven't done anything more than earn two points, but we're headed in the right direction."
Islanders captain Bill Guerin gave Gordon the game puck, with the message that he hoped it was the first of many.
Mike Comrie, Trent Hunter, Sean Bergenheim and Andy Hilbert all tallied in the first period. With DiPietro watching from the bench as the backup for the second straight night as he works his way back from offseason knee surgery, MacDonald stepped in admirably and made 24 saves.
"It gives you a little more confidence and a little bit of cushion, but you can't get too relaxed because a team like that has got some firepower," MacDonald said of the quick lead.
MacDonald was sharp again, as he was Friday when he made 27 saves. In just his 19th NHL game, he made two fine stops against Andy McDonald and denied Keith Tkachuk's breakaway chance in the second period, eliciting chants of "Jo-ey! Jo-ey!"
Other than that, he wasn't heavily tested as St. Louis managed only six shots in each of the first two periods. He improved to 4-9-3 in the NHL.
"Last night after the game they told me there could be a chance so I prepared like I was going to play," MacDonald said. "That's what I've got to do every game, even now when Ricky is playing I am going to be ready because you never know."
Guerin's empty-netter made it 5-2 with 48.7 seconds left.
DiPietro could be back Monday at home against Buffalo. He shot down a report that swelling in the knee was keeping him out of action.
"It's natural when you're coming off surgery to have some swelling in there. It's nothing serious," said DiPietro, three seasons into a 15-year deal. "If I wasn't backing up, there would be something to talk about."
Brad Boyes trimmed it to 3-1 late in the first with his second goal in two nights, but Chris Mason was ineffective in goal and gave St. Louis little chance to stay in it.
"We came out flat-footed," Mason said. "We were outplayed in the first period. They were fired up. They came out and threw a lot of pucks at us. They had a lot of energy. After the first, we settled down, but we were embarrassed with our effort in the first."
Tkachuk netted his third goal of the season - all on power plays - cutting it to 4-2 at 12:13 of the third. St. Louis scored four power-play goals Friday and beat Nashville 5-2 at home to open the season.
Comrie, who netted the winning goal in New York's first two games last season, got things rolling 2:18 with his first. Hunter scored on the power play with 6:13 left in the period and Bergenheim made it 3-0 with the Islanders' second even-strength goal 1:33 later.
Boyes finished off a perfectly executed 3-on-2 rush, steering in a pass from Paul Kariya, at 17:23 to give the Blues some life, but Hilbert netted a short-handed goal with 45.7 seconds remaining to make it 4-1.
Mason, who served as Manny Legace's backup on Friday, was touched for four goals on 15 shots in the first period - with a few appearing to be of the soft variety.
Hunter's drive from inside the blue line found its way between Mason's pads and trickled in. Bergenheim found space under the goalie's left arm with a wrister from the slot, and Mason left a rebound of Hilbert's shot that came to defenseman Mark Streit, who found Hilbert with a pass for the putaway.
Mason was perfect the rest of the way, finishing with 29 saves.
Notes: This marked the only regular-season meeting between the teams. They hadn't faced off since the Blues' OT win on March 1, 2007. ... The Islanders scored only 44 goals in the first period last season, and already have five in two games. ... New York D Radek Martinek left with 3:10 remaining in the opening period after being crunched along the boards by St. Louis C David Backes. A team spokesman said Martinek was being evaluated by doctors for an undisclosed injury, and the defenseman didn't return. ... Hilbert, who had two points, didn't score his first goal last season or record a point until the 20th game. He needed 22 games for his first point the season before. ... St. Louis had won three straight at Nassau Coliseum.
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