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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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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ringing In the New Year In Style

Islanders 4 : Hurricanes 1


A win last night would make it even sweeter for the Islanders and their fans (certainly sweeter than my first ever taste of champagne at midnight, yuck), and they followed through beautifully, scoring three power play goals and an even-strength goal in the second period to lift them to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored twice, Ruslan Fedotenko got his first in quite a few games, and Bill Guerin continued scoring for the Isles, whose power play woke up incredibly against the worst penalty kill in the league. Wade Dubielewicz, still in relief for the injured Rick DiPietro, made 28 saves, a few of them tremendous, including one robbery of Andrew Ladd in the second period, and Ben Walter (up for Mike Sillinger, who also didn't make the trip due to injury) played a solid game, as well as Andy Hilbert and Josef Vasicek making up for the loss of their top faceoff player. As for the defense, they did their part, especially Freddy Meyer and Brendan Witt with some great blocked shots on a Carolina offense that has steadily lost confidence, as well as a couple of players. Matt Cullen, victim to a vicious hit by Colton Orr on December 26, dressed for the first time since then, but left in the second due to "illness" and did not return, sparking new concern that he did sustain a concussion during the hit.

Some nice little things about this game:

-Howie Rose gave a great quote during the FSN broadcast, which I watched this morning: Among saying other things about the Isles, he remarked that "This is probably the best group of people in the locker room in the 13 years that I have been here [covering the Islanders]." It shows a lot about the players that have been brought in over the past couple of years, such as Brendan Witt, Mike Sillinger, Andy Hilbert, Richard Park, and the newer guys- Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie, and Ruslan Fedotenko. It may also say something about the reasoning behind why some players were gotten rid of, or how certain players who have left may have given the Isles a better situation.

- Near the end of the third period, Mike Comrie, Sean Bergenheim, Bill Guerin and coach Ted Nolan were seen talking and having a quick laugh on the bench, showing how comfortable and confident they were not only with the win, but with each other, and their coach. Great thing to see.

So now, with the new year upon us, the Isles look to start off strong against the Panthers on Thursday night, and perhaps some familiar faces will be back in the lineup- namely, Rick DiPietro and Radek Martinek, both still looking to make their way back as they nurse injuries. Either way, with the way Dubielewicz is playing, and the effective pairing of Witt and Bruno Gervais, the Isles, with revived offense and renewed confidence, may be on the better end of this one as well.

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