Avalanche 2: Islanders 4
Islanders fans don't forget faces, especially when they're those of former players who have somewhat scorned their team. They relentlessly booed Jason Blake as he scored a shootout goal in the Maple Leafs' win over the Isles Feb. 26, and last night was no different as Ryan Smyth skated onto the Coliseum ice. Though the crowd was paltry due to the snowstorm that hit New York and Long Island, it let him know exactly how they felt.
Captain Canada scored two goals, but it barely mattered as the skidding Avs fell to the Isles 4-2. This was a game full of feel-good moments and firsts of both the season and of certain players' careers. The Isles needed to rely on themselves to get some positive energy going due to the depleted audience, and fired everything and then some at goaltender Andrew Raycroft. Dean McAmmond started off the scoring when he threw a shot through Raycroft's legs that somehow found the back of the net. That lead held until :33 of the second period, thanks to Paul Stasny's incredible pass to Smyth on the PP that converted for the tying goal. The Islanders stayed focused, though, and an NHL rookie got his first memorable moment with the big club.
Jesse Joensuu, the big Finnish forward, was called up the morning of the game to fill in for Bill Guerin (in the process of a trade to...???), and tonight he got some great help from a crease-crashing Jon Sim (who had three assists in his first career three-point game), potting Sim's rebound for his first career goal. As if that weren't enough, Bruno Gervais then came in late on the point to put home his first goal since nearly two years ago (April 2007). The lead went up to 3-1 at the end of the second period, and the Islanders were in clear control.
But one thing they didn't control was keeping the opponent from scoring early, and so Smyth got another goal 1:02 in on the wraparound, as Danis left the inside post open for just a moment as he anticipated a centering feed. The Isles weren't deterred, however, pressuring hard off the ensuing faceoff and keeping a good forecheck throughout. The next (and last) goal would be the backbreaker: Mark Streit rushed down center with the puck, Jeff Tambellini right with him, and chipped it to Tamby. Jeff then wristed a heck of a shot past Raycroft for his first goal in 17 games. The Avalanche tried their best to rebound, but it couldn't happen as Danis came up big late, and the Islanders played some great defensive hockey to win their second in a row on this five-game homestand.
Notes: Gary Bettman took in the game, as it was the only scheduled NHL game before the trade deadline... Streit, McAmmond, and Radek Martinek all had As on their chests as Guerin sat out and Weight, Witt and Park were all scratches as well... Trent Hunter was also a scratch (undisclosed injury), although he participated in warmups.
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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.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Avalanche 2: Islanders 4