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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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Friday, April 9, 2010

Isles Stumble on Special Night for Pens

Islanders 3: Penguins 7

Mellon Arena saw its last home game in the regular season played last night, and while Penguins greats were honored, the current team took care of business on the ice.

Sidney Crosby had four points last night as the Pens rolled over the Islanders, 7-3, to my chagrin. This was the first game I was able to see live in almost two months, and unfortunately it was a doozy. But then again, how was I to know when I innocently tuned into NHL Network...?

23 seconds into the first period, Pittsburgh got its scoring started; Brooks Orpik shot one that got past Martin Biron in a screen. Then Alex Goligoski scored on a power play. Matt Moulson got one back on the Isles' own man-advantage, on a heads-up shot by Mark Streit, and the Isles started to buzz but a bad giveaway and near-breakaway by Evgeni Malkin led to his 26th of the year. (Whoa... wait, Matt Moulson has more goals (28) than Evgeni Malkin?) Kyle Okposo cut the lead to 3-2 with a great shot through a screen for his 18th of the year. Then came a goal by Sidney Crosby- his 49th of the year, which he scored after Pascal Dupuis decided to play football on the ice and shove Jack Hillen out of the way. An interference call which the referee conveniently missed, of course. 4-2 Pens, end of the first.

The second opened with Dwayne Roloson in net, the Isles getting desperate and shooting from everywhere, and Marc-Andre Fleury being equal to the task. Not that some of the shots weren't easy ones to save- to the chest and center of the pads. Oh, and he did make a great save on Frans Nielsen with his glove as Nielsen had a wide open net... but something tells me that Frans could have definitely shot more to the far corner. Josh Bailey would make good with his 16th of the year, however. At 14:34, Crosby took a shot from the point that everyone at first thought was his 50th goal of the year; however, later the goal was given to ex-Isle Bill Guerin, whom the puck was deemed to have deflected off of. Either way, it's 5-3 at this point. (Can you tell by now that this game was high-scoring?) Then two minutes later, Tyler Kennedy gets one past Roli, 6-3. By now, I'm ready to bury my head under my sheets. The offense just couldn't finish anything, while the defense was hanging both goalies- Biron and Roloson- out to dry.

The third period saw only one more goal by Guerin to make it 7-3, but the damage was irreparable. The fans at Mellon Arena were certainly pleased. I couldn't say much of the same, but hey, that's the way it goes. I'll be out of town this weekend so I'll miss the last two games of the season, but stay tuned for my review of the team, player by player. You always hate to see a season end early, but at least we can salvage some kind of hope; after all, we're not at the very bottom of the league anymore.

Notes: Mark Streit had 2 assists... Bridgeport's leading scorer Greg Mauldin (51 pts, 74 games) made his NHL debut tonight. He played on the fourth line between Trevor Gillies and Tim Jackman... non-Isles related news: Raleigh, NC will be the site of the 2011 All-Star Game, so congrats to them!... also, much respect to the Penguins for some great years at Mellon Arena. Best of luck in their new building.

P.S. Last night was possibly the last home game ever for an American hockey star. Mike Modano may be hanging up the skates after 22 years in the NHL. From Minnesota to Dallas, Mo has given fans something to cheer about, and he certainly made a huge name for himself in the league with 557 goals and 1,359 points in his career. Last night was a perfect ending as well- he tied the game with the Anaheim Ducks in the third period and then went on to score the game-winning shootout goal. Best wishes to Modano in whatever he decides to do, and congrats on a wonderful career.

Also, another American-born player- Keith Tkachuk- announced that he is also retiring at the end of this season after 19 years in the league. He has 538 goals and 1,063 points in his career with the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Atlanta Thrashers and St. Louis Blues, and he will also be missed. Best wishes to him as well, and kudos for a great career in the league.

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