Islanders 2: Panthers 3
The Islanders were both skilled and fortunate enough to keep the game tight to the very end. However, even with all of the frenzied hard work in the final seconds of play, they couldn't get the equalizer, and thus were brought back down to Earth.
The Isles had their four-game winning streak snapped last night in Florida, losing 3-2 after some flashes of brilliance and more often stumbles along the ice. Joey MacDonald made his first start since January 13th and made 26 saves, but allowed three goals. Obviously we have tremendous love for the Mac on the NY Isles Scene, but perhaps it would have been prudent to let Danis start at least one more game, and let Joey play the back end of the trip against Tampa Bay, but obviously the coaching staff felt differently.
At any rate, the Panthers scored first, at 5:41 of the first period. Jay Bouwmeester stripped Radek Martinek of the puck, and Martinek couldn't recover completely, as Bouwmeester fired a shot from a ways out that beat MacDonald through a heavy screen. This, unfortunately, was just after the goalie had bailed out Bruno Gervais on a somewhat similar play, in which a pass to Doug Weight missed completely and landed on David Booth's stick. The Isles had all sorts of trouble breaking out of their zone in the first, and as a result were outshot 10-6. The Panthers were also incredibly physical, something that the Islanders needed to be and just weren't this time around.
Nate Thompson was injured in the first period, and in the second period another center was temporarily lost- Doug Weight, who got caught in a rut on the ice and went down on his side. He left the ice in disgust. Meanwhile, the people who ended up playing on the PP in relief couldn't truly connect- with Weight out and Streit not on the ice (out day-to-day with an upper body injury), all that could sum up the PP was miss... miss... miss. Despite all of the great pressure on the forecheck and the work by Chris Campoli, essentially the only man on the point although Kyle Okposo hovered around that area, cheating to net occasionally for a chance, nothing was finished on, and barely any shots on goal for that matter in two consecutive attempts, until Josh Bailey fired it from the point past Tomas Vokoun at 8:22.
Weight came back from his brief stint in the locker room and turned up the heat immediately, pressuring hard and obviously taking out some frustration on the opposing team, as his work was some of the best I'd seen all period- the kind of desperation style of play you want to see the Isles adapting a goal down. However, an ex-Isle would steal the show a couple of minutes later. Richard Zednik got a pass from Bryan McCabe and executed an amazing play, pushing past Martinek and leapfrogging over a falling Brendan Witt to score the goal. That made it 3-1, and made me wonder when I'd ever seen any of this while he was on the Island! It was an awesome goal that I couldn't even be that mad at.
The Islanders did make up for earlier PP mistakes, and Bailey scored another point- an assist on Trent Hunter's goal on the man-advantage that made it 3-2, and made his father smile and give a thumbs-up to Chris Bailey, Josh's dad. The two were part of a contingent of dads on the trip to Florida, a nice little tradition that started two years ago. Hunter's goal was his third in four games.
The third period was crucial for the Islanders, and although they tried their hardest, the Panthers had gotten too big of a lead on them, and ran with it, outshooting the Islanders 29-22 overall and holding on for the win. The season series has thus been split, with the home team each winning their respective games.
Notes: Thomas Pock is out four weeks with a hand injury... Josh Bailey scored his second goal of the year last night... Chris Campoli had the most ice time (and PP time for that matter) with 24:24... Jon Sim and Jeff Tambellini were healthy scratches, Tambellini for his second straight game.
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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.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Islanders 2: Panthers 3