It is not the most perfect correlation – but it works. The streak is over.
I actually told Brad Kurtzberg from Inside Hockey that after his article on the breakdown of the 15 loss streak during the first season, he now has to write a piece on one game winning streaks in Uniondale. That will keep him busy for the next month or so….
Today’s game was a full 60 minute effort. There were stretches, according to coach Jack Capuano where the Devils stepped their play up, but overall, a solid effort all around.
But to a man – they are just thrilled to talk about other positive things, now that the streak has ended.
“The 5 on 3 kill was huge. It got energy in the building and we fed off the crowd and fed off each other”, said Islander goalie Rick DiPietro, who recorded his first shutout of the season with 29 saves. He made some spectacular stops and seemed to effectively stop any effort that the Devils tried to gain pressure on the Islanders defense.
My secret star of the game was Mark Eaton. He was not on the score sheet with any points. However, he was a +1, played a team high 27:04, and was simply fantastic in front of DP. Putting his body out there when DP got out of position, playing a solid stay-at-home defense that at times has been overlooked during the streak. He does his job in such a yeoman fashion, that you can easily forget that he is out there.
I was extremely impressed with the effort of Jesse Joensuu today. He is on his third go-around with the team, and I think that this is the time that he really needs to show why the Isles drafted him. He was physical, relentless, and in only 11:43 of ice time, was a +2 and scored the first goal on a great tic-tac-toe play with line mates Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner. The second star of today’s game said that it was “more important to get the shutout as opposed to being a star of the game.”
One major factor in the Islander victory was the hitting. The Isles outhit the Devils by a 31-14 advantage, with PA Parenteau leading the team with four. Parenteau, the victim of a Colin White hit, that the Devil player received a major for, was aided by Bruno Gervais, who received an instigator and misconduct for his defense of his teammate.
The Isles were under 50% on the faceoffs (31 for 68), but as usual, Zenon Konopka was 7 for 10. He is still in the top 10 in the league, and also at the top in penalty minutes. I am sure that Erik Hornick can’t find stats of that ever happening to a player ever in the NHL.
Rob Schremp scored on quite an impossible angle for the second goal. It was defintely a goal scorers goal, which hopefully will increase as his confidence increases.
For the Isles – the big key, was the kill of a four minute high-sticking double minor to James Wisniewski, preceeded by a Dylan Reese interference penalty. The Devils got some shots in, but the Isles defense was strong, getting the efforts from all of the killers to try and give DiPietro a clear view of the puck. They were smartly clearing the lanes and giving the body up as much as possible. It not only looked strong, but it got the crowd to a loud frenzy that we have not heard all year.
“It was nice to feel the energy in the building”, said Blake Comeau who assisted on the second goal, and played a solid two-way game. He attributed that to looking at film with Scott Allen, and tried to keep his focus on his two-way play.
Frans Nielsen had another great two-way game. He continues to impress without being flashy and bringing attention to himself. I just wish that he would gain the recognition that he surely deserves.
On the Devils side, I can see why their fans are having frustrations with their 100 million dollar man. In 21 minutes or so, he was a -1 with 4 shots on net, one shot missed, as well as one giveaway. To say that he was lackluster out there, would be a serious understatement. To be honest, I can honestly say that the Devils lineup reminded me of a line from the movie, Major League, when the construction worker was reading the Cleveland Indians line up in the paper and asked his friend, “Who are these f%&$#&ing guys?” I do not blame coach MacLean, but the loss of Zach Parise (not only an Islander killer, but the spark of this Devil team), has turned this team to a shadow of its former selves.
But to me – the misery is finished. The Islanders fought hard to erase the streak, and start a new one. Happier days are now in Islander Country. And I will end this post with a You Tube Video of a sold by ELO one of my favorite bands of all time. The song is called, “It’s Over”. Time to move on – and with five days between games, it is time to work on strategies for their next two games; a home and home matchup with the Rangers. By the way, the Isles are 2-0 in the Metro Mug Standings. Maybe 4-0 by next week? Hey – I can dream, can’t I?
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Have a hockey day folks!