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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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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One New Guy + 52 Shots= Not Enough Vs. Conklin and the Pens

Islanders 2 : Penguins 4

Nearly a year ago, Rick DiPietro had a game not unlike the one Ty Conklin had last night at Nassau Coliseum. With an unbelievable 56-save performance, he stole a point and would have stolen the game last March, had it not been for that one Matt Cullen shot that turned into the shootout winner.

The goaltender really can make a difference. As did Conklin, whose 50 saves stole two points for a lethargic, not to mention depleted, Pittsburgh team, who was reeling with the loss of two players, including beloved youngster Colby Armstrong and last year's first-rounder Erik Christiansen, who are going to Atlanta in exchange for Marian Hossa.

The biggest winners in this trade deadline race barely looked it if not for their goalie- and though the Islanders, statiscally, dominated the game, they didn't dominate the scoreboard. Rick DiPietro, with 17 saves, allowed four goals once again as the defense, even with newly-minted Isle Rob Davison playing the second and third periods, was caught running around, and the power-play was powerless except for late in the third, when Ruslan Fedotenko scored his 15th with 1:17 left. Frans Nielsen (1st of the year) also scored for the Isles in the 2nd.

Meanwhile, the Penguins were slow and undisciplined, but that didn't hinder their game, apparently- Evgeni Malkin scored his 36th on the season to open up the scoring in the first. He also had an assist on Jordan Staal's 9th. Jeff Taffe and Connor James also scored. The real star here, of course, is Conklin- without him, the score might have been drastically altered.

Notes: Josef Vasicek inadvertently smacked assistant coach Gerard Gallant in the face with the puck in the first period, causing Gallant to leave the bench with "a bad headache, perhaps a broken bone," in the words of fellow coach John Chabot. Dan Lecroix took over Gallant's duties. Much luck and hope that he is okay.

More, better, news- Brendan Witt may be looking to come back from injury on Saturday. Witt suffered an MCL sprain on February 12 against the Flyers, and was projected to be out 2-4 weeks. He has been skating and he hopes to return soon- and I say, with so many D gone, the sooner the better.

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