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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, February 1, 2009

Guerin's Still Got It! Scores #402 As Isles Trump Panthers

Panthers 1: Islanders 3

Alert the presses! The Islanders have won three in a row!

Okay, so perhaps sarcasm wasn't warranted (unless you're one of those Tavares advocates- juust kidding). But aside from some small hiccups- and some big penalty kills- the Islanders completely looked like a team yesterday, in a strong 3-1 win over the surging Florida Panthers last night.

Before this game, the Panthers had been winning quite a few games, especially with Tomas Vokoun in net (he'd gone 6-1-2 in January). But yesterday, although throwing a lot of shots at Yann Danis, only one could get past him late in the third, when it didn't matter anymore. On the other side of the ice, three different goalscorers put the puck in the net for the Isles, two of whom had been somewhat overdue for one.

The play was at a stalemate in the first period until Kyle Okposo got whistled for a high-sticking penalty on Nathan Horton- four minutes because wittle Nathan was bleeding. The PK was equal to the task, staying aggressive and pressuring the Florida power play- and getting the rather quiet crowd into the game. A couple of minutes later, they definitely had something to cheer about- Mike Comrie faked out Vokoun, forcing him to his left and then sneaking around the net as the goalie played the puck. He intercepted the pass to a defenseman and slipped the puck into the net before Vokoun could get back to the post for his first goal in quite a while (in fact, I do believe his last goal came against these same Panthers a month ago- correct me if I'm wrong).

The Panthers got a bit of pressure in the second period, their fourth line of Nick Tarnasky, Kamil Kreps and Anthony Stewart getting some chances as the Isles got just a bit sloppy in their own zone. Mark Streit got called for a (bogus) slashing penalty on a breakaway by a Florida forward, and the resulting penalty kill featured perhaps the best save of the night- and it wasn't by Danis. Richard Park dove at the last second to chip the puck away from a wide open net and prevent a power-play goal. It was one of many effective plays that earned "PK" Park the second star of the game. Despite each team getting significant chances, and another double-minor (this one Bill Guerin, same offense) the score remained 1-0.

In the third period, Florida led in shots at first 4-0, with the Isles having all sorts of trouble breaking out of the zone. But once they did, Bill Guerin showed a flash of his younger self. A centering pass by Comrie got to his stick, and he made an awesome spin-o-rama move to put the puck past Vokoun, 2-0. It was one of the nicest goals I have ever seen him-or anyone- score for us, and he certainly knew it as he skated off the ice smiling from ear to ear.
Kyle Okposo capped off the scoring with his fifth goal in four games, off of great forechecking by Chris Campoli and Frans Nielsen. He's been on fire this month, and his linemates Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau have also done some great work, making the Kid Line one of the most effective to date. (There ya go, Christine! A kid talking about the Isles' "kids." haha)

A strange sight there was to behold with five minutes left- the Panthers net empty, and Tomas Vokoun sitting on the bench. HUH? What a statement that was by coach Peter DeBoer, but one that didn't really pay off- although Gregory Campbell made a pretty redirection for the Panthers' only goal, they really didn't come close to tying this game, only spoiled the shutout bid for Danis, who got the first star of the game anyway (37 saves!). It was a great win for the Isles, once more, and in front of a nice big audience too! Next game is another home game, Tuesday, against Tampa Bay.


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