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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, December 14, 2008

Different Team, Different Day- But Result, Feeling Remain the Same

Islanders 1: Blue Jackets 3

No doubt the Islanders skated into Nationwide Arena last night knowing full well that against all odds, they needed to skate out with two points in order to stop the bleeding of a five-game losing streak.

Well, the game came and went- and so did their chance. So it goes that the Isles are eight games under .500, and remain at 22 points- tied with Tampa Bay for worst in the league.

They dropped their sixth consecutive game to the Jackets, 3-1, and went 0-4 on a road trip in which at least two games- Toronto and Philadelphia- should have been won. It wasn't an easy trip by any means, but for a team that has surprised in the past, it could have been managed better.

Red-hot rookie goaltender Steve Mason and Jason Chimera proved otherwise, as Mason made 24 saves and won his eighth game of the season, and Chimera scored what was the eventual game winner, to pull the Jackets even at 3-3-0 for the month of December and lift the Jackets over the Isles, 3-1. New York, who has been in dire need of an offensive explosion for the past few games, didn't find relief in this one.

In the first, the Jackets trapped the Isles in their own zone, shooting as many as 11 in a row on Joey MacDonald, who made 32 saves. The Isles were able to break out on a couple of chances, but couldn't get past a big, strong goalie in Mason, just as MacDonald stopped all of Columbus' shots. The Jackets couldn't solve him until the second, when Fredrik Modin parked in front of him and redirected a Fedor Tyutin shot off of his skate for a power-play tally. Then, late in the second, Chimera flew up the wing, outskating at least two Isles before making a brilliant move to put the Jackets up by two.

The Islanders got this one back in the final minute, as Richard Park was the recipient of a fortunate puck bounce through the neutral zone and into Columbus territory. He streaked up the ice shorthanded and made a pretty forehand-backhand move, slipping the puck through Mason's pads for his second shortie of the year, and fifth overall. But the Islanders couldn't score any more, despite great chances by Blake Comeau (who had a bit of a skate problem this game- he fell no less than eight times on the ice) and Sean Bergenheim, and earlier in the game when Tim Jackman broke out for a few moves that Mason saw coming. On the topic of Bergenheim, Christine said she'd been wondering where he'd been lately, as he'd had a great start but fallen into the background overall, to which I responded, "Well, no one's really stood out for this team right now." Bergenheim's rush did provoke a burst of hope on my part. Too bad it didn't happen.

In the third, a shot by Comeau went under review due to a quick whistle, but it was concluded that Mason made a great save, smothering the puck with his right pad before it got anywhere near the line. And then Andy Murray padded the lead with his fourth on the year, due to a rebound that MacDonald could not hold onto. So it ended, and so the Islanders go into Tuesday night's matchup against Washington at home, hoping that something, anything, clicks.

Notes: Mike Sillinger missed this game, having tweaked his groin once more.... with his absence Josh Bailey was the most effective faceoff player, winning 38% of draws (3-8), and Richard Park won 33% (5-15).

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