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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not a Nice-Looking Win, But We'll Take You

Islanders 5 : Flames 4 (SO)

Upon learning that he would be going to Atlanta at the end of the month as an All-Star, Rick DiPietro responded with one of the weaker performances of the season, albeit a 38-save game in which Jarome Iginla had nine shots on goal.

But it was still a win.

Mike Sillinger and Richard Park (GWG) scored in the shootout for the Isles, who are 1-1-2 on the road trip to date. Sillinger also scored twice in regulation, and Trent Hunter and Ruslan Fedotenko added to that score over three periods, building a 3-1 lead only to have it eliminated in the second by Owen Nolan (2 goals) and Craig Conroy. Then they had to battle back from a 4-3 lead when Dustin Boyd scored a garbage goal from in close on Rick DiPietro and Bryan Berard, neither of whom could find the puck as it went in after a few whacks.

But then Ruslan Fedotenko deflected a Marc-Andre Bergeron shot past Miikka Kiprusoff, who had a shaky night (21 svs), to make it 4-4 and bring it to overtime, where nothing happened even with an Isles power play. One thing about the power play is its inconsistency, largely because of the play of Bryan Berard and Bergeron, who are supposed to be power-play quarterbacks and lead the play, but who have sometimes struggled- Berard, who has played less games, more so than Bergeron, who seems to be having a bit of an easier time of it.

The main thing about Bergeron is his tendency to be unpredictable- when he is on his game, he is smart, fast, and that monster shot of his can do some serious damage. But when he's not playing well, at best he looks like a minor-leaguer thrust into "the show" too soon. And on any given night, either side of him could show up unannounced. It's no doubt frustrating for him, as well as for the coaching staff and the fans who watch him. As for Berard, he hasn't played much, and has not lived up to the promise he showed in his first couple of games for us, in which he scored quite a few goals and made the PP look that much more dangerous. As these two players go, so goes the PP, which is sorely needing a consistent leader.

Either way, the Isles walked out of Calgary with a win in a shootout, but they also left with another injury- Brendan Witt, who was reported to have a sprained ankle after being checked by a Calgary player in the first period and did not return to play. Miroslav Satan also did not dress due to a strained knee, hence Berard's return to the ice. Bruno Gervais and Freddy Meyer took the bulk of the ice time, especially Gervais, with a team-high 25:10, and one assist. Meyer also had six blocked shots, Gervais and Berard with three, in the absence of the gritty shot-blocker Witt.

The second period could have been the killer for the Isles, who gave up two goals less than two minutes into the second period. But true to form, they worked hard and got the game to go to OT, and their shootout win thanks to Park, who as usual played hard and effectively, especially on the penalty kill. Next up is against Ottawa on Sunday, and their top line of Spezza, Alfredsson and Heatley. When DiPietro played them, the Isles prevailed, 4-3 in a shootout; when Wade Dubielewicz was in-between the pipes, the Sens trounced the Isles, 5-2. Now that Ricky is back, we'll see how he fares against the "Pizza" line, and how the defense will look with perhaps the two top defensemen (Witt and also Martinek, who is still out with a bruised leg) out of the lineup.


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