Islanders 5: Coyotes 4 (SO)
It should be no surprise to us by now. The Islanders just don't like leads, apparently, because they give up plenty of them. Last night, it was the same old story, only if possible more outrageous.
It all started with an elbow.
No, seriously, an elbow. Ed Jovanovski received a five-minute major for catching John Tavares up high and got thrown out of the game while the Isles and Coyotes were tied at 1. The delayed penalty situation allowed Kyle Okposo to score a goal (his third in three games), and although the Isles did nothing on the ensuing power-play, a serious coaching error gave them a huge advantage.
Because Jovanovski (who had scored the Coyotes' only goal to date) had been thrown out of the game, and the penalty had come in the last minute of the period, Phoenix went back out for the second period needing to put another player into the penalty box. However, Dave Tippett and the coaching staff forgot all about it- and ended up paying dearly. Play didn't stop after the penalty ended for almost five minutes, partly thanks to the smarts of goalie Dwayne Roloson- noticing the Isles were still on a man-advantage, he kept playing the puck every time the Coyotes tried to ice it, keeping play going. It took a forced penalty to get a whistle, and the Islanders used the power play- and then 5-on-3, as the Coyotes kept taking silly penalties out of frustration- to their advantage. Mark Streit scored his first goal in about a month and a half on the 5-on-3, and then Josh Bailey added a goal to his two assists for his first career three-point night. That chased goalie Ilya Bryzgalov out of the game and brought in Jason LaBarbera.
Then, as quickly as momentum had shifted the Isles' way, a bad penalty call on Jack Hillen (really an offensive interference penalty by Shane Doan) turned things around for the Coyotes. They started pressuring Roloson, and then got lucky; a fluky goal went off his glove, and was credited to fourth-liner Paul Bissonnette. Then the Isles were the ones looking tired, chasing the play, and running all over the place, while the Coyotes used their size and strength to get to the front of the net and baffle Roli. Taylor Pyatt scored, then Peter Mueller, and just like that it was 4-4 and the Isles were headed to overtime. Again.
Overtime was shaky at best, and just like that, yet another shootout commenced. Frans Nielsen and Robert Lang scored in the first round, Rob Schremp and Peter Prucha both missed, and then Lauri Korpikoski gave the Coyotes the advantage. It was up to the hot hand, Josh Bailey, and he came through, keeping the Isles in it. Afterward, it was a battle of wits, as Radim Vrbata, Okposo, Mueller, Tavares and Doan all missed, and finally, Matt Moulson was able to fire it right through LaBarbera to give the Isles the much-needed second point. Still, they remain one point behind ninth-place Philadelphia, and with the way they're playing, it's going to take everything they have to catch up. All in all, this was a baffling game, and one that the Islanders were lucky to keep in hand after losing a commanding lead.
Next up is a game at home on Tuesday, against a very hot Detroit Red Wings team which, despite going 5-1-1 in their last seven, is still fighting for a playoff spot themselves. Who would have thought? Though it's East vs. West, this should be an interesting matchup- and one I'll be hoping to see the Isles win. Seeing as somehow they manage to show up against better teams every so often, maybe Tuesday night shall see some of the same.
LET'S GO ISLANDERS!
Notes: Congrats to captain Doug Weight, who played in his 1200th game last night at Jobing.com arena. Last year, he'd scored his 1000th and 1001st points in the same building... Brendan Witt was a healthy scratch this game, making room for Freddy Meyer on the roster. Witt has been struggling all season and is a -18... Bailey now has points in six straight games.
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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, January 10, 2010
Islanders 5: Coyotes 4 (SO)