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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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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Isles Lead, Trail, Come Back and Fall Short in Shootout

Islanders 4: Panthers 5 (SO)

The second period is the new third period for the Islanders.

Or so it seems. As I watched last night I felt an overwhelming sense of deja vu upon seeing yet another early lead- this time a 2-0 lead- evaporate in the second period. There were, of course, some slight variations.

First off, you have to admit right off the bat that games between these two teams- just like games against the Caps and Penguins- are entertaining. No matter the record, games between the Isles and Panthers always end up kind of close, or one team doing worse in the standings somehow gets the better of the other. Either way, it's a toss-up, and this time it came out in the Cats' favor.

In the first period, Tim Jackman and Trent Hunter got the Isles off to an early start, and then allowed four Florida goals in a row. The defense was all over the place, predictably, and though Dwayne Roloson did all he could to keep it close, he couldn't keep everything out. Tomas Vokoun, meanwhile, played wonderfully and kept the Isles off the board after the 2-0 deficit, up until the third period when some costly penalties paid off for New York.

In the third, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo (were you expecting other names?) tied up the score at 4 on two PP goals and forced an overtime period, which went by with no score. The resulting shootout was a surefire nailbiter, as the Panthers have become steadily better at them since going 3-8 in the 08-09 season. With Jeff Tambellini and Rob Schremp (two SO specialists) not in the lineup, Scott Gordon turned to Frans Nielsen, Tavares, Okposo and Sean Bergenheim to try their hand at it. Of the four, only Nielsen could get past Vokoun. Meanwhile, Steven Reinprecht and Nathan Horton both put the puck past Roloson, and as the fourth round closed, Vokoun handily stopped Bergenheim to preserve the second point in a solid win for the Panthers, who fought to come back, lost their own lead and then held on to make it count. As fror the Islanders, they will try again in Boston Monday night.

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