Well, Mike Myers (aka Austin Powers) was a happy man tonight.
I definitely was not.
The 2-0 lead of the Islanders was slowly eradicated with much assistance to the lack of calls by the officiating, which not only brought the Maple Leafs back into the game, and in the end, giving the visitors the winning goal in overtime, for a 4-3 victory at the Nassau Coliseum.
I am prefacing the next few paragraphs by simply stating that I, for the most part, am quite objective when it comes to giving the officiating the benefit of the doubt. I know that are not only human, but due to the pace of the game, they can not see everything going on.
However, looking at the stats that stand out on the official score sheet – it seems that the Maple Leafs had no penalty minutes in the two games against the Islanders.
Let me repeat that…
NO PENALTIES IN THE TWO GAMES.
How can that be?
No penalties in 120+ minutes of hockey. And we all know that the Maple Leafs are not innocent children, that’s for sure.
For anyone that did not see the game, the Leafs initiated a number of incidents where the Islander players were either cut, checked from behind, or hurt in some way, shape or form, with the overwhelmingly majority of them in front one of the two individuals, and of course, no call. The only calls made in the game, was on Travis Hamonic getting an extra two for holding on a roughing incident with Phil Kessel of the Leafs, that to all of us together in the press box could not believe that the Islander that did not initiated the play got the extra two.
The players and coaches after the game were pretty quiet about the officiating, but this was a game that an a example needs to be sent to the league. This was utterly a one-sided affair and anyone that does not have a interest in this game, would say the same thing. If you are not a Leafs or Isles fan – you should look at the game, and see the incidents. Judge for yourself. Mike Hosenfrantz and Brian Pochmara should be disciplined for their total lack of discipline and professionalism on the ice, and should be made an example of what not to do, as a professional NHL official.
But we all know, that will not happen. The NHL reviews the officiating of each game, and a potential playoff job could be on the line. But as fans, we all know that this is not the right way. We have seen officiating in other sports play a role in some bad things. Like the imperfect perfect game, for the pitcher in Detroit, whose chance to get 27 outs in a row was spoiled by an umpire totally blowing a sure out call. No discipline came to him either. So – we just have to live with the fact that officiating cost the Islanders two points tonight, and that totally sucks!
As far as the game was concerned, the Isles played a much better game than last night. The matchups were a little better, and of course, JT was JT. His game has not only gone up a level, it has gone up two. He has done things that only the best playmakers have shown. His 20th goal will start another streak.
Al Montoya played a decent game in his first time back since the concussion that he suffered in Winnipeg just over a month ago. He kept the team in the game, making some strong saves.
Josh Bailey scored a beautiful goal, short-handed in the second period, while Hamonic was on the double minor. Matt Martin and Bailey skated in on a two-on-one and Martin made a great pass to Bailey who came in front and put it past Jonas Gustavsson to give the Isles at that time, a 2-0 lead.
Clark MacArthur scored with just under two minutes left in the second period to put Toronto on the board. With just under two minutes into the third period, Jake Gardiner wristed a shot past Al Montoya with a Toronto player on top of him, to knot the score at two. That goal was Gardiner’s first as a NHL player.
The score remained deadlocked until three plus minutes left in the game, when Mihail Grabovski had a shot deflect off Milan Jurcina’s stick and knuckled past Montoya to give Toronto the lead. Mike Myers left the game, feeling that his “BUDS” would have the victory.
However, the Islanders were not finished.
With the goalie on the bench, and six skaters the puck came to PA Parenteau, thanks to a lucky bounce off the boards, and was able to come across to the front of the net, and push it past Gustavsson to even the score with just under 13 seconds remaining in the game. Finally, the Isles caught a break, and the announced crowd of 10,888 erupted almost as loud as the 2001-02 playoff series.
But when the Isles had a great chance to end the game, they were caught in a three-on-one going the other way. Grabovski sent a pass to MacArthur, who threw the puck to an empty net. Despite a fantastic save by Montoya, that almost looked like he took the game away from Toronto, the glove was actually over the line, and gave the visitors the 4-3 victory.
Instead of the Islanders getting to NHL 500 with two wins in the last two games before the All-Star Break, the Isles are now three under, getting only one point out of four. They played well enough to win tonight, but unfortunately, two men were responsible for not giving the team the calls it deserved, and in my opinion, gave the visiting team the victory that it may not deserved, if the cards were dealt correctly. This is like a pair of sixes beating three of a kind.
Now – a break for the All-Star game is upon us. Five full days for 19 of the Islander players to rest, recharge, and get ready for the last 34 games of the season. I expect to see a similar situation from the Islander team that played about as well as any other team in the league. Maybe with some professional officiating, remember that there are two teams out there, just maybe some pucks can bounce our way once in a while.
I know that I am frustrated, but it just stinks.
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