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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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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Islanders Become Devils' Advocate at the Rock

Islanders 2: Devils 3

Three is not the Isles' lucky number.

After a three-game winning streak and three days of no formal competition, they came upon the Rock hoping to start off their three-game, four-night road stint on the right foot. But the Devils had other plans, and steamrolled the Isles to win their third straight- by three goals.

Moreover, the Islanders have now lost another third of their "kid" line, if you will, with Frans Nielsen going down at the cheapshot of Mike Mottau, a hit that should be reviewed by Colin Campbell. Review or not, however, the fact remains that New York flatlined once again, for one reason or another. In the first period, they allowed two late goals ten seconds apart- one a redirection by David Clarkson, the other a tip-in by Travis Zajac. Although Joey MacDonald made some nice saves, including a beauty of a glove save on Dainius Zubrus, he would no doubt like to have had some more help in front of him, as the D got caught looking a ton, and therefore chasing the play more than actually staying with it. Meanwhile, Kevin Weekes was solid in his first start in nine days (a multiple of three!), despite being 1-3-0 previously this year. Even Brendan Witt's return to the lineup after missing 12 games (3 times 4?) due to injury couldn't save the Isles from themselves.

In the second period, Andy Hilbert scored a long-range goal that floated past Weekes and cut the lead in half, but Bryce Salvador got it back just as quickly, sending the packed Prudential Center into overdrive. Two more goals- one a perfectly-positioned rebound by Sean Bergenheim, and the other a crease-crasher credited to Brian Gionta- made the score 4-2 before the second closing horn sounded.

Then came the third, and the hit- Mottau went for Nielsen's head, catching him with his elbow and what looked like the butt-end of his stick, and as Nielsen fell back, his right skate caught in a rut in the ice, giving him a leg injury to go with the initial head injury. Trent Hunter jumped to defend his linemate, earning him a game misconduct for instigating, and a few minutes later, simultaneous Mark Streit and Chris Campoli penalties gave the Devils the cherry on top; although MacDonald made saves, he couldn't overcome both defensemen, Witt and Andy Sutton, losing their sticks, and Paul Martin capitalized.

This morning, NHL.com reported that Mottau received a two-game suspension for the elbow to Nielsen. We'll let you make of that what you will. For now, however, the Isles need to focus on their upcoming game tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, and not making this game a rematch of the 7-1 drubbing they received at home on Kids' Day earlier this season.

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