Mike Milbury resigned as the New York Islanders' coach for the second time in two years on Thursday, only hours before the Islanders' game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pittsburgh, saying his players were quitting on him the way they did former coach Rick Bowness last season.
Milbury, who signed a five-year coaching contract only last May, will stay on as general manager but was replaced as coach by former assistant Bill Stewart.
Despite high expectations going into this season and again in December after re-signing scoring star Zigmund Palffy to a $25-million contract, the Islanders were winless in 11 games before Thursday night's 5-2 victory over the Penguins.
"Hopefully, this will get things turned around," said Joe Sacco, whose shorthanded goal gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead.
Said Stewart of his first NHL victory: "Any time you make a change, there's new atmosphere and new life, but we've still got a lot of work to do."
The Islanders (14-29-3) had won only three times since Nov. 26 before Thursday.
"You can't get into a streak like we are," said Milbury, who announced the decision only 2 1/2 hours before the game. "It happened to Rick last year. When the team quits on the coach, it's tough to get them back."
Milbury decided Wednesday to remain as coach for the rest of the season, but changed his mind after a 5-2 loss that night to the Florida Panthers. The Islanders had only 19 shots on goal, nine in the first two periods, as fans chanted, "Mike must go!"
Colorado 4, Calgary 2--Joe Sakic scored two power-play goals and Rene Corbet had a goal and an assist at Denver as the Avalanche extended its winning streak to five games.
Ottawa 3, Boston 1--Senator rookie Sami Salo scored his first NHL goal at Boston.
Tampa Bay 3, Nashville 2--Darcy Tucker tipped in a goal in the third period and Bill Ranford stopped 34 shots for the Lightning at Nashville.
Toronto 4, St. Louis 2--Steve Thomas and Todd Warriner each had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs at St. Louis.
Florida 2, N.Y. Rangers 1--Recently acquired Pavel Bure made an impact for the second night in a row, scoring a second-period goal for the Panthers at New York.
Detroit 4, Carolina 1--Chris Osgood of the Red Wings made 25 saves and just missed scoring the second goal of his career at Detroit.
Philadelphia 4, Washington 1--Eric Lindros of the Flyers ran his goal-scoring streak to seven games, matching a career high, at Philadelphia.
Chicago 3, Montreal 0--Jocelyn Thibault of the Blackhawks, facing his old team for the first time since a Nov. 16 trade, stopped 33 shots at Chicago.
San Jose 3, Edmonton 3--Patrick Marleau scored twice for the Sharks and Bill Guerin scored twice for the Oilers at San Jose.