Islanders 3: Bruins 4 (SO)
There's something about the number three that spooks this Islanders team. They can play a wonderful game- up until the third period. They somehow cannot get anything going in a shootout for the time being- which involves three shooters. And this is the third game in a row that has gone to OT or a shootout and has been lost by this team.
So what now?
The Islanders dropped yet another game while receiving a point, and this one is the most painful to date. After leading the Boston Bruins 3-0- yeah, you read right- the Islanders coughed up the lead in the final period, had the game taken to OT, and fell apart completely in the shootout.
The opening period started out with good defensive hockey on both ends, although the Islanders didn't do much to really test goalie Tuukka Rask. One thing you have to do is make a goalie move if you want to score a goal, and while Rask did make one or two nice saves, he remained pretty stationary for most of the period- and at 6'3, 169 lbs, you can bet he'll be blocking most, if not all, of the shots. Richard Park took a penalty early on in the first, which the Isles killed effectively, then redeemed himself with hard work to draw a Boston penalty. This back-and-forth PK/PP hurt the flow of the game significantly, but I suppose it hurt the Isles less than the Bruins- they outshot Boston about 17-3 in the first period, and good defense kept the Bruins from establishing any type of forecheck for the first two periods. As for power plays, the Isles started out well, with good puck movement and getting opportunities, but then spent most of their time in their own zone on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Late in the first, the D broke down a bit, allowing Boston to get in some more shots on goalie Dwayne Roloson, who was equal to the task despite hardly getting any action for most of the frame.
In the second period, Boston got a couple more opportunities that Roloson stymied, including a great save on Chuck Kobasew. Then Jon Sim broke the scoring open- yeah, Jon Sim!- at 4:04. Rob Schremp sent a shot to the net that Rask saved, but couldn't hold the rebound on, allowing Sim who was parked right in front of the net to tap in for the goal. All of this happened on the power play, with Milan Lucic in the box for hooking. After that, Roloson had a highlight reel save: with Boston on a PP of their own, Marco Sturm made his way to the front of the net and shot up high on Rollie, who made a spectacular glove save to keep the Bruins off the board. Up until the third period, he was highly confident and took away some great chances for Boston.
Radek Martinek added to the board for the Isles with a goal on a great play by Mark Streit, who faked out several Bruins before feeding Martinek, who came in undetected. John Tavares had second assist on that goal, and then a goal of his own on a 2-on-1 with Matt Moulson (who also had a strong game), after Freddy Meyer made a good play to spring them loose into the neutral zone. The score- 3-0. The Islanders looked very good.
And then everything fell apart.
The third started out okay, with the Isles playing good D (especially by forwards Nate Thompson, in for an injured Doug Weight, and Blake Comeau) and forcing the Bruins to take long-range shots that Roloson stopped easily. The game was also starting to get a good flow, which perhaps was what made Boston dangerous all of a sudden. At any rate, Marc Savard was first to chip away at the lead the Isles had so solidly built over two periods, scoring at 11:59 of the third on feeds from Zdeno Chara and Lucic. Then defenseman Byron Bitz flew in and backhanded it past Roloson at 15:35, making the Isles' lead very precarious- at this point, only Tavares' goal was the difference-maker. And then it disappeared completely, with Matt Hunwick somehow getting the puck in at 17:36. Gone was the lead, gone was the good D that had kept it, and gone was any shred of confidence from Roloson.
Overtime passed into a shootout, and somehow I knew that we would not come out of this one with two points. Roloson is a good goalie, but he hadn't been stellar in the last shootout, and neither was he in this one, as he allowed both Blake Wheeler and Marc Savard to score. Meanwhile, Schremp was the only one to score in the shootout, as both Richard Park and Kyle Okposo missed and the Bruins capped their comeback with the second point. And strangely, the player who had tons of impact and two points on the night- Tavares- was nowhere to be seen. Which leaves me with two questions- one, why did Scott Gordon elect to change around the defensive coverage in the third, allowing Boston to gain so much room on the ice? And second, not to drink the Kool-Aid here, but... if Tavares had been on the ice, particularly in the shootout, would things have been different?
Notes: Jeff Tambellini was a scratch again last night... Trent Hunter is on the IR for 2-4 weeks with a torn pectoral muscle... Joel Rechlicz was recalled from Bridgeport to fill Hunter's spot.
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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.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Islanders 3: Bruins 4 (SO)