He lived up to the billing Saturday night. Park's goal 3:43 into overtime helped the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
"He's a guy you want out on faceoffs," Nolan said. "He kills penalties, he works power plays. For a guy like Richard, that's a big, big deal."
Park took Radek Martinek's pass in the lower left circle and beat Olaf Kolzig with a wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season, giving the Islanders consecutive wins for the first time since Nov. 16-19.
"I saw Marty open, and he made a great play to get it right back to me," Park said. "I looked and saw no one near me, so I took a shot, and luckily, I found a hole."
No one was near Park because defenseman Mike Green was clipped by a stick and went down, leaving Park wide open.
"It was (teammate Jeff) Schultz's stick" Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Green was clipped in the ear, and he went down in the spot he'd normally be in. That's why Park was wide open."
Green took two stitches to repair the cut.
"Green's a tough kid," Boudreau said. "For him to go down like that, he really must have been hurt."
Miroslav Satan and Bill Guerin also scored for the Islanders, and Rick DiPietro stopped 14 shots in his 106th NHL victory. That moved him into a third-place tie with Kelly Hrudey on New York's career list.
"Guys like that are going to get big goals," Guerin said. "For us to bounce back and win in overtime is a big testament for our hockey club right now."
Guerin put New York up 2-1 with 2:06 left in regulation when he banged in the rebound of Chris Campoli's point shot.
Ovechkin tied it with 54.8 seconds to go on a turnaround wrist shot from the left circle that caught DiPietro off guard. It was Ovechkin's 25th goal this season.
"It could have been deflating when they got their second goal," Boudreau said. "But we never quit, and Ovie came through, even though he was bottled up all night, and only wound up with two shots on net."
DiPietro made a dazzling stop on Semin to keep the first period scoreless. He sprawled out and got his glove on Semin's slap shot, then made a dive back to snare the puck as it trickled out of his glove and headed toward the goal line at 11:36.
New York was held without a goal for the 23rd time in 34 first periods. The Islanders' 13 goals in that frame are the fewest in the NHL.
The Islanders broke through on Kolzig at 10:03 of the second when Josef Vasicek sent Satan on a rush. Satan used his speed to keep the Washington defense away, and moved to his left, which drew Kolzig out of the net. Satan then found the open gap between the post and Kolzig for his 10th goal.
Satan has a point in six straight games (three goals, three assists).
Semin tied it with 2:08 left in the period when he found the puck 10 feet away from the net during a scramble and fired a wrist shot past DiPietro. It was the first of his five goals this season not scored in the third period.
The Islanders are tied with Florida for the NHL lead in one-goal games this season with 21. New York is 13-6-2 in those contests.
"We knew going in that we weren't going to blow anybody out 6-1 or 5-3," Nolan said. "We know that with our goaltending, we'll be in many games."
Capitals forward Matt Pettinger couldn't explain his team's lack of scoring.
"For some reason, we just didn't generate a whole lot of offense, judging by the shot total," Pettinger said of Washington's 16 shots. "If you look at the positive, we got a point out of it. We could have gotten nothing. We had the same problem the last time we were here, but we won. We were just trying to hang on until the shootout, and take our chances there."
- In eight back-to-back scenarios this season, the Islanders are 6-2 in the second game.
- Washington has more wins in fewer games under coach Bruce Boudreau (seven in 15 games) than they had when the fired Glen Hanlon was behind the bench (six wins in 21).
- The Capitals won their other visit to Long Island, 2-1 on Oct. 10, when they had only 12 shots.
- Nolan's son Brandon, a Carolina Hurricanes forward, had an assist in his NHL debut Saturday night. The Hurricanes said Nolan is the 15th son in league history to play a game in the same season his father served as a head coach.