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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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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Isles Take Care of Business

Red Wings 0: Islanders 6 (no, you don't have to adjust a thing)

Name a player who's won 6 of the last 8 Norris trophies and played over 1,300 NHL games.

Name another player who's won 2 Selke Awards for best defensive forward in the league, and 4 Lady Byng trophies for his gentlemanly play on the ice (though you wouldn't have guessed it last night)?

Hint: Both of them played for the other team.

Yet even with these illustrious achievements in their careers, neither Nicklas Lidstrom nor Pavel Datsyuk could help out the Red Wings, as the Islanders played what was perhaps their best, more complete effort this season- a full 60-minute game- to trounce Detroit, 6-0.

Rob Schremp with 2, Kyle Okposo, Mark Streit, Matt Moulson and Bruno Gervais all with one. These aren't names you hear all the time, not even Streit's, but no matter- they all played wonderfully, both individually and as a unit, and got two well-deserved points last night. It was both a shutout and a shootout, as the Isles outshot Detroit by a wide margin, and executed brilliant two-way play- sustaining a great forecheck and getting pucks past both Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood (who took Howard's place after it became 3-0), but also getting all five men back in the defensive zone and covering with aggressive, smart plays, supporting each other to get the puck out of the zone and not allowing the Red Wings to pepper Dwayne Roloson with shots. The defense was also jumping into the play on the forecheck, evident by Gervais and Streit each with a goal and a primary assist. Freddy Meyer also had an assist on Gervais' goal.

Roloson didn't have much to do, though he did make several key stops late in the game, but he definitely deserves his 24th career shutout after providing the Isles with excellent play and much-needed veteran presence for much of the season. He automatically got the #1 star of the game for the shutout, with Streit and Schremp getting the #2 and #3, respectively. And the defense in front of him was superb: not only were players like Andy Sutton and Jack Hillen making great plays, but forwards came back and helped out, alleviating the pressure the much-bigger Red Wings may have put on the D. Granted, this Red Wings team has been battered by injuries and isn't at the same standard as in years past, but they are still somewhat formidable, even outside of the playoff race, and full credit goes to the Isles for keeping that in mind and bringing their A game.

All in all, this was a great win, and one that the Islanders needed to stay close to the playoff picture. Next up: we'll have to wait until Saturday for the Isles to get back onto the ice, against the Sabres on Saturday night at home once more. The Sabres are not the same team they were last year; they're looking much better, so the Isles are going to have to find the same magic they had last night and use it against an Eastern Conference foe.


Notes: Streit now has 2 power-play goals in two games... Okposo has extended his goalscoring streak to four games... Josh Bailey now has a seven-game pointscoring streak (how about all these streaks, man? Love it)... Sean Bergenheim returned to the lineup after missing 18 games with a rib injury. He played on the fourth line with Jon Sim and Doug Weight and had 12:58 TOI and one shot... to make room for Bergie, Brendan Witt has been placed on IR with a lower body injury, and Nate Thompson was a scratch.

(EDIT: Lidstrom, not Backstrom. My bad. Too many Nicklas' in the NHL. :))

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