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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.

Islanders 2014-15 Season Mantra

Try not. Do...or do not.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Strides Made, But One Point's All They Get

Islanders 2 : Flyers 3 (OT)

The desperation level was high going into last night's game at the Wachovia Center, and the Isles responded uneasily at first, and then well as time went by. Losers for four straight prior to this game, they worked hard and played well, pressuring on the forecheck and killing every penalty they took.

Until the very last.

Jeff Carter snakebit the Isles for two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Flyers got past the Isles 3-2 in front of a huge crowd still giddy over the previous night's World Series win for the Phillies. The Islanders, at the bottom of the NHL standings with only 5 points, are steadily finding their way to the net and ways to at least prolong a game and make it possible for them to win, but somehow that is not happening.

It started perhaps right off the opening faceoff, as the Flyers attempted to stuff the puck past Joey MacDonald straightaway. Then a series of lost draws by the Isles led to the first goal, a pretty passing play finished by Mike Knuble at 7:45. After that, the Isles had the chance to regroup and play hard, evening the score on the power play on a rocket of a shot by Bill Guerin after Scottie Upshall went into the box for hooking.

From then on, the Isles and Flyers played pretty much on a par with one another, which is a little surprising once you consider the situations of both teams- the Isles losing games, the Flyers on a winning streak. The defense and penalty killing was solid, especially on plays by Nate Thompson and Sutton (who made his presence felt in his season debut, much to the relief of Isles fans). On offense, chances were again generated, especially by the Weight line on the forecheck and also by Kyle Okposo and Trent Hunter. Richard Park also showed off his speed and smart play in some instances. Shortly after the Guerin goal, however, the Isles found themselves once again chasing for a tie after Carter's first goal, on a well-done redirection.

The second period yielded no scoring, but the Isles were definitely more comfortable and found more ways to get to the net, although Martin Biron (34 saves) was very solid. MacDonald, who made 25 saves of his own and who had gotten tweaked in the side after Sutton pushed Scott Hartnell into the crease, also escaped a much more severe injury in the second, thanks to his throat guard- a stray skate blade nearly slashed him across the neck. Thankfully, he was all right, and played extremely well, also getting help from the posts.

In the third, the Isles really started to move, keeping the Flyers in their own zone and constantly winning back the puck. Then, finally, Andy Hilbert scored late, as the puck bounced off of Ossi Vaananen, to tie it up (2nd goal of the season), and the underdogs- and seemingly, upstarts- pushed the game into OT. There, they got a pristine chance on a penalty by Kimmo Timonen to put the game away, but couldn't, on a couple of flubs by Guerin and the rest of the forward line. Then, Frans Nielsen inexplicably reached out and grabbed a Flyer, putting him in the box and putting the Isles on the PK once more. There, although they won a key faceoff and killed much of the time, with less than a minute to go before a shootout Thompson attempted a soft backhand clear that landed on a Philly stick, and gave them a chance to regroup, where Carter scored his second of the game, eighth on the season, and the game winner, making the Isles losers of five straight but snapping their four-game pointless streak.

Now, it's all about coming back home to face the high-flying Montreal Canadiens (7-1-1), who have proved hard to beat in the past no matter their record, against the Isles. They played well in this game despite the outcome; they need to find a way to carry that play over to home ice, minus the penalties and missed chances. Skate, shoot, and score- that's the name of the game.


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