Getting all 4 points would have been a real bonus, but 3 out of 4 surely is not a bad thing. The Islanders certainly had a great showing at home over the weekend, beating the Blues 5-2 on Saturday and losing to the Devils in the shootout on Sunday 3-2.
Saturday’s game was a pretty decisive victory. From start to end, the Isles did what they had to do. The Blues have been struggling, the the Islanders took advantage of that fact. They had a 2-0 and 3-0 lead after the first and second periods, and despite Saint Louis getting 2 goals in the third, it still was not close.
And how about Andrew MacDonald? He was just a post away from getting a hat trick on the day, something that has not occurred with an Islander defenseman for 29 years since Dennis Potvin accomplished it. A-Mac was particularly impressive on his second goal, breaking in alone and looking more like a forward than a back-liner in scoring on the backhand.
It was also good to see Michael Grabner pick up his 26th goal, as well as PA Parenteau get back on the board with a goal. John Tavares tied his career high with his 24th goal, which was a highlight reel effort. Overall, it was just a solid game, and a pretty good, consistent sixty minutes of hockey.
On Sunday, well, the Isles gave the hottest team in the NHL a run for their money. The Islanders came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to eventually tie the game late in the third. Josh Bailey netted his 10th, and Blake Comeau’s career high 18th goal was the BIG one that sent the game into overtime and the eventual shootout. Milan Jurcina returned to the lineup, and it was good to have “the Juice” back again.
Al Montoya particularly shined in the shootout, as far as I am concerned. Yes, Brian Rolston got the game winner, but Montoya matched Marty Brodeur quite well beyond the three initial shooters. The guy has nothing to hang his head over from that effort. He made big saves throughout the game, and continues to look strong and solid in net for the Isles.
To me, despite the “loss” on Sunday, it was still a “statement” weekend for the Islanders. They are picking up points in the standings, and they continue to improve and play well. As Howie Rose and Butch Goring pointed out, it is particularly the level of play of the “core guys” that has been the best sign for the team. Tavares and company mature and become better and better with each game. That’s all we can ask for from this young group of guys, as the “development” continues.
Tonight, the Maple Leafs come into town. They have been on a bit of a roll themselves. It would be nice for the Islanders to cool off James Reimer and company and avenge the last few efforts against them.
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