It was exactly the fast start out of the gate after the all star break they needed, but the New York Islanders came away out of Atlanta with a 4-1 win. This was also despite surrendering the first goal of the game again, and, perhaps, being out played at times in the opening period.
For the final forty minutes of the game, though, the Isles took it to the Thrashers. Travis Hamonic scored his first NHL career goal to tie the game in the second. Then, a minute apart, Kyle Okposo netted his first of the season and then PA Parenteau picked up his 13th, which was on the power play. In the third period, on a nice two on one break, Okposo received a pass from Michael Grabner to score his second of the game and the season.
Granted, with all the constant stops in the third period, it made for painfully broken and stop and go hockey. I think Howie Rose indicated there were 27 face-offs in the third period alone. However, this helped the Isles by not allowing the Thrashers to get any spark going and prevented their crowd from being pulled into the game. Okie’s goal pretty much took the wind out of Atlanta’s proverbial sails, and the Islanders played a nice trap to finish out the game.
Kevin Poulin made the start for the blue and orange and earned his 3rd win of the season. He stopped 25 of 26 shots, and, once again, got the job done. The Atlanta goal, which was scored by former Islander, Freddy Meyer, was on the fluky side and was not really one that could be considered Poulin’s fault.
Overall, it was exactly the kind of start the Islanders needed to kick the post-all star break off. It was 2 points in the standings, and a solid team effort. They out shot their opponents 33-26, and out played them throughout most of the game. Additionally, it was a fairly textbook road game, particularly in the third period in which they shut down the Thrasher offense completely.
Tonight, the Isles go to Pittsburgh. At this point, I don’t know if the Penguins are going to have Crosby, Malkin or Staal. Evgeni Malkin skated in practice the other day, but it remains to be seen if Pittsburgh will hold him out one more game for the extra rest against the Isles.