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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.

Islanders 2014-15 Season Mantra

Try not. Do...or do not.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Islanders Come Up Empty in Back-to-Back Road Games

Islanders 4: Hurricanes 5

You would think that a five-game layoff would help some teams out, especially one on a season-high six-game road trip, but I suppose that wasn't the case on Friday night for the Islanders. Instead, Peter Mannino tried his best but got rocked for five goals against the Hurricanes, two each by Chad LaRose and Matt Cullen, and Carolina ultimately came back to win an important game.

It started with a bad fumble of the puck- Mannino came out of the crease and mishandled it, allowing Cullen to pick it up and score an easy goal at :44. The Isles attempted to answer back, with the Jeff Tambellini-Frans Nielsen-Kyle Okposo line putting some good pressure on in particular, but the next goal was also a Carolina one, as LaRose got the puck at the side of the crease and curled around to knock it past Mannino, who did not stay as calm as he should have on that play. That made one goal in the first minute and one goal in the last two as well, with the Islanders playing decent hockey in the 18 minutes in between but with nothing to show for it.

The second period opened with a scary moment; Eric Staal sped to net and crashed into Mannino, then the post, hitting his head on the side of it. He stayed down behind the goal and almost got pegged again by an errant shot by teammate Erik Cole, and had to be checked out by trainers, but ultimately skated off on his own. After that, the Islanders took over and scored four goals. Frans Nielsen capitalized off of some nice low-high passing started off by Brendan Witt and put home his 6th of the year. Then Richard Park got the puck from Tim Jackman for a beautiful breakaway goal, and his second goal in two games. Bruno Gervais also scored a goal, and Kyle Okposo deflected a Mark Streit shot for his team-leading 17th of the year on the PP. That goal would be answered with a somewhat head-scratching play- Tuomo Ruutu put the puck past Mannino shortly after Cole had run into him, and there was reason for the refs to perhaps call goaltender interference and negate the goal. After video review, however, the goal was called to stand, which might not have been the right call, and you'll see why I say this later on.

The Isles led 4-3 heading into the third period, and played well in the beginning, with Mannino making some nifty saves and everyone pitching in with good hustle and backchecking. However, they couldn't keep off the speedy Canes forever- Matt Cullen scored again on a redirection of a Rod Brind'Amour shot on the PP. Over two minutes later, LaRose scored the game-winner to the Isles' chagrin- receiving a cross-ice pass from Ray Whitney, he beat a sprawling Mannino at 15:39, leaving the Islanders scrambling for the tying goal. Their best chance was perhaps taken and lost by Dean McAmmond, who was left after the final horn livid at the refs due to a non-call- an evident hook by a Carolina player on what would have been a good scoring chance. Instead, McAmmond got called for unsportsmanlike conduct and Carolina got away with the penalty and the come-from-behind victory. It was not the Isles' best game, but they fought hard and unfortunately let themselves get too far behind. Also, the refs could be partly held accountable simply because nothing had been called for so long until the middle of the second period, and when that happened, there were some consistency issues, and not just on behalf of the Hurricanes but the Isles as well.

Islanders 2: Senators 5

I became a fan of this team in 2005. My "rookie season," if you will, was the same as those of Bruno Gervais and Chris Campoli, among other players on the Isles, and for obvious reasons I gravitated toward those guys. Up until this season, Campoli had been one of my favorite players, and one I'd figured would stay in the picture when it came to the youth movement, so it was a shock seeing the alert that said "Comrie, Campoli traded to Ottawa for McAmmond and first round pick."

Last night wasn't incredibly emotional for me upon seeing my former favorite in a Senators jersey, but it still felt a little strange. However, I put it in the back of my mind upon seeing the current Isles, sluggish and tired after traveling all night from the southern U.S. to Northern Canada to play Ottawa. Consequently, they were not the sharper team on the ice.

The first period set the Isles back on their heels a bit, but they defended Yann Danis well, not letting him get tested too well although Ottawa had the upper hand in shots. In the second period, however, Ottawa broke the scoring wide open with Chris Neil's five-hole shot, and then Filip Kuba's third of the season from Daniel Alfredsson, the Sens' captain. The Isles had power-play time that was practically put to no use whatsoever thanks to the Senators' aggressive PK and their own inability to break out of their own zone. Then, before you could say "Adenoid Hinkle" (haha, sorry, Charlie Chaplin reference), the Senators had made their lead 4-0 on the goals of Mike Fisher (delayed penalty) and Dany Heatley. That made 4 goals on 9 shots for the Senators in this period. The frustration on the Isles' part and a wish to change momentum culminated in a hit by Joel Rechlicz on Neil, which led to fight between him and Fisher, who stepped up to defend his teammate.

The third period saw two Islanders goals, both by Josh Bailey who is starting to come into his own quite a bit, developing a great shot as well as good playmaking skills in his first career multi-goal game Okposo got an assist on Bailey's second goal of the night, which extended his points streak to eight games. Other than those two bright spots, the Islanders didn't have much to be happy about, as they allowed one more Senators goal by Nick Foligno and fell to 2-3-1 on this road trip. They travel back home to face off against Minnesota on Wednesday, the 25.

Notes: Bruno Gervais is helping a very noble cause. 12-year-old Alex Mele is in Stony Brook Hospital after being diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) in November 2008. Having met the young man there, Gervais hopes to bring attention to the story and is saluting him by writing Live Strong and Alex's name on each of his sticks. Alex is currently in need of a bone marrow transplant, and his parents are putting together a blood drive in hopes of finding potential donors. The drive will be on April 7 from 3:30-9 pm at the Knights of Columbus in Glen Cove. If you are in the area, please participate!

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