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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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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Four Straight in February

Lightning 1: Islanders 3

Uh-oh... this just got real.

The Islanders won their season-high fourth straight on the saves of Yann Danis and the goals of Trent Hunter, Mark Streit and Radek Martinek, a perfect 3-0 after the All-Star Break, and it's quite obvious that while this wasn't their best game, particularly in the first period, there's a buzz about them that is just getting stronger... we hope.

Joey MacDonald watched from the bench (a sure sign that he's getting closer to a return) as Danis made 29 saves, earning himself yet another first star of the game, and withstood an early barrage of shots by Tampa Bay, as the Islanders struggled a bit to get themselves into the game in the first period. The only thing that helped this game stay scoreless in the first was the great backchecking, particularly by Tim Jackman and Kyle Okposo (two forwards) and the concentration of Danis.

The second period opened with the Islanders starting to buzz- including Hunter shooting it off the crossbar- and an All-Star going down as (perhaps) the latest injury casualty. Mark Streit went to the locker room shortly after being hit by Evgeni Artukhin, and although he returned and scored a goal after Trent Hunter's, he left the ice once more and didn't return. It looks to be an arm or shoulder injury, which is not good for the defenseman leading the Islanders in points. Ironically, one of his shots temporarily put captain Bill Guerin out of commission when it hit him in the back of the right leg. Guerin and Streit were two of the three Islanders (Richard Park included) who had played all of the games to date this season. With the Isles up 2-0 already, Radek Martinek- not a goalscorer, by any means!- scored his first of the season (and first in 102 games) to make it 3-0. At that point, embattled goalie Karri Ramo had given up, and thus gave way to Mike McKenna, an NHL rookie in fact making his first ever start in the league. He had a good performance, not allowing a goal. The Lightning actually almost made the score 3-1 late in the second, but the post bailed Danis out after he was a bit far to his right on a shot by Vinny Prospal.

The third period could have changed a lot, as the Lightning scored 3:05 in on the power play (Vincent Lecavalier's 23rd). But Rick Tocchet was instead having fits on the bench, as one of his stars proceeded to take two consecutive penalties in the offensive zone. Martin St. Louis gave the Islanders two straight power-plays, including one that negated a goal, and sealed the deal for the home team once more. Later, he was seen angrily questioning the referee as to what the call was actually for, but of course it was too late. The Lightning have now lost three in a row, while the Isles are going strong and going down to Florida to play the Panthers and the Bolts once more.

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