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Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Great Rebound As Isles Soar Over Blackhawks

Islanders 4: Blackhawks 2

The Islanders wasted no time getting over the 2-1 loss to Boston, apparently. Although starting off somewhat slow in the first period, and just holding on as the Hawks threw everything and then some at rookie goaltender Peter Mannino, they were able to overcome the devastating shot total and score more goals than their opponents.

I caught this game a few minutes into the second period, and I was frankly astonished at what I saw from Mannino. With his parents and girlfriend cheering in the seats, he made 40 saves throughout the entire game, some of them completely incredible on some of the Hawks' best players. Meanwhile, the offense for the Isles did all they could to help him out. Mark Streit scored two goals, one of them on the power play, over two periods and also had an assist on Frans Nielsen's PP goal. Richard Park scored as well in his second game after missing 16 with broken ribs, on a beautiful play by Blake Comeau. Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane scored in the second and late in the third, respectively, but although much stronger and bigger physically, not to mention having put tremendous pressure on the Isles' defense throughout the game, the deciding factor in this game for either team was goaltending, and the young goalie came through beautifully, doing what he had to in order to keep his team in the game. With Joey MacDonald still out of the lineup due to a knee injury, hopefully this game states that the Isles still have two very capable netminders for the rest of the season.

Notes: Mannino is the first Isles goalie to win his first start since Rick DiPietro (12/19/02 vs Minnesota, also by a score of 4-2)... Kyle Okposo continued his now six-game points streak with an assist on Streit's second goal... the Isles had a 6-on-3 PK with Nikolai Khabibulin on the bench with four minutes to go, and although they were able to hold off the Blackhawks for the first minute, Kane scored his goal shortly after Bruno Gervais left the penalty box.

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