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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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Friday, February 15, 2008

Moving On Up?

Islanders 5 : Maple Leafs 4

With Brendan Witt lost for (according to the new report) 2-4 weeks due to his MCL sprain suffered in a collision with Philly's Scott Hartnell, even more pressure was put on the defense last night to come up big.

That wasn't exactly achieved late in the game, but the offense made up for it.

Four power play goals, one shy of a club record, were scored, as the Isles beat the Leafs, 5-4 at the Air Canada Centre. Two of them were by Ruslan Fedotenko (who now has 12 total on the season), and Mike Comrie scored his 17th (also his fourth on the PP), and Rick DiPietro made 27 saves but let in a late goal to let the Leafs pull to within one. Bryan Berard also scored a PP goal, but quite a few penalties in the third period allowed for some key chances for the Maple Leafs, who twice rallied back from two-goal deficits in that period to push for an equalizer that, thankfully, would not come. For the Maple Leafs, Darcy Tucker redirected a Matt Stajan shot to tie the game at 1 apiece early in the second, and then Toronto took the lead a minute and a half afterwards, with Mats Sundin's 24th at 9:21, displaying the heightened desperation level that the Leafs no doubt must achieve if they want to get anywhere near the top 8. Then, a parade of Leafs to the box allowed for the PP to strut its stuff, and Fedotenko (who has been playing wonderfully these last two games) got right into the crease and was able to stuff two past Vesa Toskala, who was making his first career start against the Islanders and made 24 saves.

The Isles would commit their share of penalties, including a 5-on-3 with Berard and Martinek in the box, and the penalty kill that commenced was amazing, with Richard Park and Andy Sutton the keys to that kill. But with less than a minute to go, Freddy Meyer would add an empty netter to- seemingly- seal it for the Isles. Alexei Ponikarovsky had other ideas when he scored his 14th, but then the Isles shut the door.

It could have been a prettier win. But after a virtually endless losing streak, these Isles will surely take the two points any way possible.

Side notes: Chris Campoli was interviewed by Deb Kaufman early before the game and says he is heading back to New York soon to begin rehabilitation on his surgically repaired shoulder. He is, as reported, finished for this season. As for his counterpart, Bruno Gervais, he is day-to-day with his oblique injury.

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