12/10/96 -- 11:54 PM


UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - The New York Islanders used a figure eight to skate rings around the Phoenix Coyotes.

Niklas Andersson had a five-point night with two goals and three assists as the Islanders sent the Coyotes to their worst defeat since leaving Winnipeg, 8-2 Tuesday night.

``They took it to us,'' Coyotes coach Don Hay said. ``They were just like sharks in a feeding frenzy.''

It was the first time the Islanders scored eight times in a game since Nov. 17, 1993, when they beat Ottawa 8-1 in a neutral-site game at Hamilton, Ont.

The game started slowly, as New York scored the only goal of the period at 2:48, when Marty McInnis tipped Derek King's pass between the legs of Coyotes goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.

The Islanders scored on their first shot in all three periods.

Bryan Berard scored 38 seconds into the second period off a feed from McInnis for a 2-0 lead.

Keith Tkachuk cut the lead to one at 9:58 on a backhander, but Zigmund Palffy responded for the Islanders at 10:40 on a give-and-go with defenseman Doug Houda.

``That was a great play by Doug,'' Islanders coach Mike Milbury said. ``We're trying to get the defense more involved with the offense, and just about everything we tried went okay.''

Bryan Smolinski punched in a pass from Andersson at 12:11 for a 4-1 lead. Then at 17:10, Claude Lapointe, Bryan McCabe and Andersson scored in a 2:45 span. McCabe's goal was shorthanded.

``It seemed like we were a little lucky in the second period,'' McInnis said. ``I just think it was one of those games.''

Smolinski said the Islanders were clicking on all cylinders.

``Maybe (the Coyotes) ran out of gas,'' Smolinski said. ``The way we played tonight, we could have beaten any team.''

Khabibulin, who allowed 10 goals to the Islanders in 48 minutes of work over two games this season, was pulled in favor of Darcy Wakaluk for the third period. He allowed Andersson's left-circle blast at 1:32, but stopped the other seven Islander shots he faced. Oleg Tverdovsky scored a shorthanded goal at 10:50 to end the scoring.

It was enough to quiet the normally talkative Jeremy Roenick, who played his second game for the Coyotes since missing six with a sprained knee.

``I don't think I have any words to describe this - I'm speechless,'' Roenick said. ``This is one of the low points of my career.''

Teammate Mike Gartner said the Coyotes could still salvage their six- game road trip with wins in Ottawa and Toronto, after two straight wins and two straight losses.

``We could do one of two things,'' Gartner said. ``We could sit back and analyze this every which-way and come up with the same result every time, or we could just forget it and win the next two games, which would make us 4-2 and put us right back in the mix.''

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