Islanders 3: Canadiens 2 (OT)
If you've set your heart on the number one draft pick, you might be starting to freak out just a bit after this win. Why? Well, because a point here, two points there, is starting to add up, and if they become too good- well, they may just overtake Atlanta and Tampa Bay in the standings. Scary thought? For sure, if you were getting too comfortable with the notion of Tavares or Hedman.
However, these past four games have proven that, although the Isles are most likely, if not definitely out of any real contention for the playoffs, they are ready to play their hearts out and keep the score close- even trip up some playoff-bound teams if they can. Last night, it was Les Habitantes at the Bell Centre, and while not high-scoring, it was certainly an entertaining one to say the least.
The Canadiens thought they had scored in the first period, but a brief video review showed that the puck had been knocked into the goal and past Yann Danis with a high stick, negating the goal and keeping the game scoreless. It barely mattered, however; the next time, Montreal made it legal, with Tomas Plekanec shooting from 40 feet out. The puck deflected off of the stick of Radek Martinek (once again) and went in. At this point, the Islanders were almost entirely chasing the play in their own zone, and Montreal had no problem keeping the puck there for the first ten minutes of the period. In the second half of the period, however, the Isles took over, and Mike Iggulden scored a milestone thanks to his own leading the play as well as Blake Comeau's hard work and forechecking. He made a great pass over to Iggulden in the slot, and in turn Mike shot a wrister that found the back of the net. It was a great moment for a guy who has had points in every game that he has played with the Islanders.
The second period was all Islanders. They outshot the Habs 12-7 (at one point, 11-1 was the shot total), and thanks to some senseless penalties by a couple of players, had some good PP time also, which produced a few good chances only stopped by the athleticism of Price. One of two fights happened in this period also, between Joel Rechlicz and Tom Kostopoulos after Kostopoulos (geez, I don't like typing this name) jumped Joel behind Danis' goal. Overall, though entertaining, not much of note happened, and the period ended as it had started- in a deadlock.
Right off the faceoff at the start of the third, Tim Jackman decided to go at it with Gregory Stewart, and it resulted in a clear victory for the hardworking forward. Stewart also took a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave the Isles a PP and Frans Nielsen his first goal in quite a while, at :51. Comeau got another assist here, as he fed Mark Streit at the point. Streit then shot through traffic, and Nielsen was able to get the blade of his stick on the puck for a nice redirection. The Islanders put themselves into severe jeopardy, however, as both Rechlicz and Witt went off to the penalty box to give Montreal a huge opportunity- a 5-on-3 that Danis and the defense came up huge on. 36 seconds afterward, however, a bad change gave Kostopoulos the opportunity that his team needed desperately. Mathieu Schneider passed to Andrei Markov, who fed a cross-ice pass to Kostopoulos for the goal. After that, it was all a race to get the puck first and try not to let this one get to OT. Jeff Tambellini perhaps had the best chance of the night, and Price completely denied him with a quick glove hand that Tamby could only shake his head at. The reactions on the bench were even better- even Scott Gordon reacted with awe at the incredible stop.
Overtime came, and 26 seconds was all it took for it to end. Bruno Gervais made a great second effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone and flipped a shot to net, and Kyle Okposo, who now has four goals in four games, did the rest, fumbling the puck at his feet, regaining control, and putting it through Price's pads over the line. Afterward, his teammates completely mobbed him, and all you could see on his and everyone's faces were the smiles of sheer joy at getting the two points. It's all starting to come together for the young Islanders, who are finally getting the system and putting it to work. They're skating strong and faster than before, and it's allowing them to remain competitive and hungry at a point where nothing really matters anymore. Great stuff, and overall, with three out of a possible four points so far gained on this road trip, the team's getting off to a great start.
LET'S GO ISLANDERS!
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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.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Islanders 3: Canadiens 2 (OT)