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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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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Isles Drop Second Game in Overtime

Islanders 2: Senators 3

Who would have thought this up?

The first road game for the New York Islanders started with Martin Biron in net, new captain Doug Weight on the ice and a few mistakes. It ended with Mike Fisher snapping a hard but bad-angle shot past Biron- and more than a few mistakes. In the end, the Senators took this one, 3-2 in overtime, leaving the Isles winless still.

Biron did all he could in this one, as far as I'm concerned. He came up big on quite a few occasions, one three minutes in as Spezza charged in on him, Freddy Meyer hot on his tail. As Spezza tried to go backhand, Biron poked the puck away and it trickled wide of the net, keeping the game scoreless. Peter Regin would rectify that, however, scoring a back-door goal on a feed from Chris Neil at 7:25. Then in the second, Matt Carkner doubled the lead, shooting the puck toward the front of the net where it banked off of players in front and went in. At the point of the second goal, the Isles were, quite frankly, a mess- no established forecheck, defensively shaky, and unable to capitalize on a few PP opportunities.

They did mount a comeback, however, starting with an incredible play by Kyle Okposo. The play started off with Matt Moulson stopping the puck at the blueline and feeding it to the winger, who came in one-on-one against Anton Volchenkov, leaned in a faked a shot, then pulled around an already-committed Volchenkov and charged to the net, missing his first opportunity, but sticking with it and stuffing the puck past Pascal Leclaire as he fell to the ice. That effort made for one of his prettiest goals yet.

Moulson would also score the tying goal for the Islanders in the third period, on the PP. As one Senator made his way to the bench on a change, he allowed Doug Weight time to creep down the wing with the puck, looking for a centering pass. As he got to the corner, he saw his opportunity and fed it gently to Moulson in front, who one-timed it for the goal. John Tavares had the second assist, proving that his line has some great impact on the ice and is working well together (Tavares, Okposo, Moulson).

The game went to OT, and that proved to be the killer- throughout the game, the defense had been porous at best, allowing Senators players to sneak in undetected and get in front of the goal, on top of Biron. Late in the third, only a brilliant glove snap on Alexei Kovalev by Biron kept the score from becoming 3-2 in regulation. But there was no such luck in OT, as the D pinched way too high up, letting Mike Fisher blow down the side and blast it by the goalie, who lost sight of the puck. The Islanders were able to get a point, and had come back from a 2-0 deficit, which made it slightly better than their opener. But it's still not enough.

Nor are the countless missed shots and opportunities by the Isles forwards- Tavares getting a little too fancy, Sean Bergenheim taking too long to get a shot off, and on top of that, shot after shot missing the net and hitting the back boards. I was only able to listen to most of this game, and hearing Howie Rose repeating "missed the net" every minute or so was excruciating. Maybe it's to be expected from a young team still learning, but this is highly reminiscent of last year as well, and it needs to be worked on this season.

Notes: Biron finished with 25 saves... Rob Schremp played his first game with the Isles after being acquired off waivers from Edmonton, and is wearing #13 (former captain Bill Guerin's number)... Jonathan Cheechoo was a new face in the Ottawa lineup, playing for the Sens after being traded with Milan Michalek for disgruntled forward Dany Heatley. It'll be interesting to see former matchups with Ottawa with him in the lineup now.

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