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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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Try not. Do...or do not.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

From Another Comeback Thriller to a Shootout Winner... That's What These Isles Are Made Of

Islanders 3 : Capitals 2 (SO)

The latest surge from the Islanders, culminating in a shootout winner at the Verizon Center last night, prompted broadcaster Howie Rose to say, "After these last five games... I have no idea what to expect from this team."

Does anyone, anymore?

After a seven-game losing streak that had the Isles all but left for dead and practically in the Eastern Conference cellar, their recent winning streak now stands at five, after a thrilling comeback from a 2-0 deficit and some feisty moments along the way that woke the team up and got the guys rolling again.

Washington would strike early, taking full advantage of the depleted Islanders defense and attacking head-on. While the D was taken aback and caught unawares, Alexander Semin made good on a breakaway chance just 2:17 into the game on a feed from Matt Pettinger. Then, while Rick DiPietro was screened slightly, Brooks Laich redirected a shot from the point on the power play to make it 2-0. The Isles looked to be out of it for a long while, and very far removed from the sharp play they were displaying in their last game, against the Sharks. Then again, they had defenseman Andy Sutton on their blueline.

In the second, that didn't matter. The Isles came out stronger and more supportive of one another, with the offense carrying more of the play and helping the D find their legs. The Capitals would not score again in the game, but it wasn't for lack of trying- though DiPietro was solid (28 saves, including 5 or 6 really sharp ones), the Caps did beat him a few times, only to hit countless posts and a crossbar.

Miro Satan would pull the team to within one in the second off of a Bill Guerin play, and then in the third, Josef Vasicek scored a puzzler- apparently aiming for center ice, he banked it off of goaltender Olaf Kolzig to tie it up. The second straight game resulting in a comeback for the Isles would get even better.

Perhaps the epitome of the Caps' frustration over hitting posts lay in their top goalscorer, Alexander Ovechkin, who was held to only one shot (yes, one shot) in regulation. Radek Martinek gains my recognition as the number-one star for the Isles in this game- wherever Ovechkin was, so was he, during his 28:17 of ice time. He also recorded five hits, including a monster one in the overtime that ensued, on the Russian superstar, who afterward, starving for a goal, powered past a hounding Bryan Berard and beat DiPietro- only to hit the post once again.

Then came the shootout, and Ovechkin's hat trick of posts, as said on MSG, as he beat DiPietro once again to hit- yes, the left-side post. Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Semin would both be stopped as well, and on the Isles' side, so would Richard Park and shootout specialist Miro Satan- but then came the ultra-soft hands of Mike Comrie, as he pushed it through the legs of Kolzig for the game-winner. Game, set, match, Islanders, once again, as they inch closer to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. No doubt right now they are the hottest team in the Atlantic, and starting tonight, they can get even hotter.

Even with the depleted defense, who counts Andy Sutton now among its casualties- with a partial tear in his hamstring, he's down for 4-6 weeks.

Chris Simon, who is now just coming off a 30-game suspension tonight against Tampa Bay, will bring some much needed physicality to the Isles. Provided he could skate backwards, I'd suggest playing him as the 7th defenseman and keeping Jeff Tambellini as LW on the Kid Line, rather than send anyone down. But I'm not the coach, so... *shrug* The Isles will have to see what they can do, and seeing as they've pretty much dominated Tampa this season, they have a shot at adding another link onto this chain of wins.

1 comment:

ChristineOnTheNYIslesScene said...

from NHL.com

"They got a lucky goal ... They find a way to get those cheesy ones," said Washington goalie Olie Kolzig, who had the Islanders' second goal bank off his body from a near-impossible angle. "I give those guys credit. Every team has that team that they have a tough time playing against, and they work their butts off. For all the guys they are missing and them to come out with a win, I mean, hats off to them."

Cheesy goals? Mr. Kolzig would you like some nachos with that cheese? After all they were na-cho team's goals that won this game...they were the Isle's. : )~