All you can say after the last two minutes of that game…
When the Canadiens got their third goal to cut the deficit to one, it seemed like the Quebecois woke up. The fans in the “Bleu Blanc and Rouge” started chanting louder and louder. I give their fans credit for making the trek down I-87 to Uniondale, but I was glad that Ricky stepped up in the last few minutes, making some strong stops, to preserve the much needed victory for the home side.
With no goals in the first period, a lot of fans were expecting a snore fest for the remainder of the game. However, the second period was exciting with 6 of the 7 goals scored. What was nice - was that they were receiving not only strong efforts, but getting a 5 on goal from the defense (Mark Streit), and output from the fourth line (Jay Pandolfo with a goal, Matt Martin with two assists and Josh Bailey with a helper), gave the Isles a quick 3-0 lead midway through the second period, giving the fans some joy of getting some free chili
However, the Habs would get two of their own in a 3 minute stretch cutting the lead to one. With Isles fans remembering tragic defeats at the hand of Les Habitants at the Coliseum in years past, John Tavares made a great pass to Matt Moulson who shot it from about 40 feet away, and sees it bounce off Montreal defenseman PK Subban, and trickle behind Peter Budaj, to give the Isles the 4-2 cushion heading to the locker room.
Rick DiPietro, who had to come in at the 7:55 mark of the first period, due to a groin injury suffered by Evgeni Nabakov, had to come in during a Montreal power play, and made some key stops. A couple of the goals that he let up – could have been avoided, but when he needed to stand up and get the job done – he did.
Nabakov will be evaluated today, but we are hearing that the signs point to him missing some time.
It was scary, but this is the type of game that can give the players, as well as the fans. something to hope for. The team had jump. The were winning the battles in the corners, the feet were moving, and they stood up to the pressure when needed to.
A new feature I am going to do when I recap games:
DUDE of the game
I am giving it tonight to Josh Bailey. To this viewer, this was the best game he has played all year. He was constantly shuffling his feet. He seemed to be at a different geat tonight. It was great to see the effort, and he created a great feed to Jay Pandolfo to get the second goal of the night. I was very impressed with him. This should be a great stepping stone for him. He has always kept a good attitude, and that should lead to better performances.
A honorable mention to Jay Pandolfo, for getting his 100th NHL goal last night. He is a journeyman – not know for his goal scoring prowess, but plays a strong two-way game and is a good PK man. He has not taken that many shots this year, and it was nice to finally see him get rewarded.
My BLAH award
This goes to the Game ops staff. You hear an announcement from the referee for a penalty that was called, but in some cases, you NEVER hear the PA announce the penalty. It has happened more than once (sometimes – a few times a game). To me – this is an unprofessional impression of how a game is run. Also – I know that Roger Luce is a laid back kind of guy, but I really feel that he needs to ‘amp’ up the volume a bit, and get the crowd into it more. I know that the “Power Play” may not be sponsored, but get some excitement into the announcement of it and get the fans up for it. Just my two cents.
Tomorrow night – the Isles honor #18, the original captain of the Islanders, Ed Westfall. An honor long overdue and well deserved. Westfall was such a class player on the ice, and despite the young talent coming up and defining the Islander team, Eddie was the solid player that gave the Islanders a respectful presence in the league. Fitting that his previous team, the Boston Bruins come to town, and I am sure the Isles want to seel revenge for the 6-2 whitewashing they took in Bean Town a week prior. Should be a great game.
I will be working in the press box, so if the internet connection is working, I will be giving updates during the game.
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