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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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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Twice Is Nice Vs. Ottawa

Senators 2: Islanders 3

It seems as though the Isles may finally be waking from their stupor.

Though still at the bottom of the Atlantic Division (6-9-2, 14 pts), they have managed to pull off two convincing wins against Ottawa, who is seemingly not the team they were last year (also 6-9-2, 14). Last night, the Isles once again scored three goals, and Joey MacDonald once again was calm, cool and collected, as they held off the Senators 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum.

The game started with Darryl Strawberry dropping the puck for Autism Awareness Night, and the first period ended up scoreless, although the Senators dominated in shots and pushing on the forecheck, as would be expected after a chewing out by their GM and a three-game losing streak. MacDonald made some great saves, including a dandy glove save on (I believe) Dany Heatley and also a blocker save with traffic in front. Over the last few games he has displayed some very good positioning, playing at the top of his crease, attacking the puck, and also great ability to see the puck well through screens. Also, Josh Bailey, in his third NHL game, seems to be comfortable, especially playing with good friend Kyle Okposo and on the same line as another young player, Jeff Tambellini. Bailey handed off a nice feed to Okposo which would have been a goal, save for Alex Auld, who made 28 saves this game.

In the second period, the Isles scored twice, once early on a dirty goal by Sean Bergenheim, who stuffed in a rebound on a Doug Weight shot. Ottawa continued their penalty trend of last game, and the Isles capitalized once more, as Jon Sim crashed the net and threw the puck and himself into the net for a PP goal. The Isles showed some creativity with the puck- something that was missing from last year and the last few games, even- and executed some nice passing plays that were only thwarted by Auld. The Isles also were able to even up the shot total a little more with Ottawa, outshooting them by a wide margin in the second period.

In the third, the Islanders added to their lead with Chris Campoli's third of the season, a pretty placement shot above the glove of Auld which he never saw coming, because of a screen from his own players. However, the Sens would get closer as the Isles became increasingly undisciplined, with first Bill Guerin (his second penalty) and then Andy Sutton going in back to back, giving Dany Heatley his 10th goal on a snap shot in front of MacDonald, and then Jason Spezza his sixth of the year on assists from Heatley and Chris Kelly. However, that would be all for Ottawa, who dropped their fourth straight; meanwhile, the Isles swept their only home-and-home series of the season, and Joey Mac got the first star of the game on his 38-save performance. Tomorrow night, East and West clash again, as the red-hot Vancouver Canucks, fresh off a 4-2 win against Toronto, come to the Island. Expect there to be a shootout.

Notes: Doug Weight had his team leading 12th assist of the year on Bergenheim's goal and played 20+ minutes of ice time... Thomas Pock's suspension gave Radek Martinek plenty of room to skate in his first game back since injuring his shoulder, and he had a respectable 17:00 ice time.... Trent Hunter had six shots on goal... Also, Brendan Witt may be on his way back in a couple of games! Keep an eye out for number 32.

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