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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lady Luck Grants Isles Two Points

Islanders 4: Canadiens 3 (SO)

Ryan O'Byrne definitely spent a sleepless night somewhere in Montreal, asking himself just why he made the mistake.

Anyone would have lost some shuteye after shooting the puck accidentally into their own net.

O'Byrne made the crucial error on a delayed penalty call, with goaltender Carey Price on the bench for the extra skater. With pressure mounting from Doug Weight, he inadvertently backhanded the puck toward the net, and scored a goal... for the other team.

That goal tied the game 3-3, carried it to overtime and then the shootout, where Richard Park and Bill Guerin capitalized, and stole two points for the Islanders (9-10-2), who seem to win lately even when they do everything wrong.

The Isles struck first blood on the power play, with Richard Park shooting a laser through traffic, but the Isles defense coughed it right back up 17 seconds later, with Begin storming through and getting the redirection. Then, Josh Georges scored his first as a Hab on the power play, putting Montreal up 2-1, at 9:58 of the first. To begin the second, another Montreal goal by Maxime Lapierre rendered the Isles- supposedly- down for the count, with the rowdy Canadiens faithful bearing witness. That was, until Trent Hunter scored another PP goal (his 8th), and then the fatal goal by Ryan O'Byrne (which was credited to first Bergenheim, and then Guerin). In the shootout, Carey Price wasn't fast enough for Park or Guerin, while Alex Tanguay and Andre Kostitsyn were both stoned by MacDonald, a proclaimed cult hero at this point, in his 11th straight start. And the nightmares for O'Byrne began, as he headed off the ice with his teammates, with his own team's fans chanting derisively, his name pounding in his ears.

Although the Islanders scored twice on the power play, they also committed tons of penalties, leading a stately parade to the penalty box that thankfully did not end in complete disaster. Joey MacDonald (23 saves) was as lucky as he was good, getting breaks from the post and some help from Doug Weight, who knocked the puck away with his stick as it bounced behind the goalie. Weight also had two assists on the night, extending his points streak and having earned 21 points in 21 games. All in all, as behind as they were, the fortune the Islanders had last night to earn two points instead of one, or none, is unbelievable, and they come home to face Pittsburgh tomorrow night having won five of their last six games.


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