I have witnessed leads being blown on too many nights with the aIl anders over the years as a fan. For some reason, they tend to stand out in my mind more often than not.
This one was, oddly enough, a bit more unexpected for me. Sometimes, you can “feel” it coming. It’s like the Isles are playing Russian Roulet, and it’s just a matter of time before the bullet is fired. Perhaps it was because of the way Anders Nilsson was playing goal, but I could not have foreseen the collapse within 15 seconds.
When John Tavares scored midway through the 3rd period, I really believed that his goal could very much hold up. Nilsson was stopping everything, and I think if the Devils were shooting Pellets at him, he would have been able to stop them. It was, perhaps, a foolish feeling to get as a fan, but I really felt comfortable with the 1 goal lead.But, alas, that goal did not hold up. In fact, before I could finish taking two sips of my hot chocolate, the Islanders were suddenly trailing 2-1. And, what in the heck was PA Parenteau thinking? Frankly, there are stupid penalties and there are …. STUPID penalties. That was purely STUPID.
Anders Nilsson deserved a much better fate. The guy stopped 33 of 35 shots, and some of those shots led to spectacular saves by the big Swede. Of the team, I felt bad the most for him, as he played more than well enough to earn a victory.
Nevertheless, since I have not been able to write of late, here are some collected “blind observations” from recent games. I have had to drop some as they were game specific that I had intended to post after the last few games;
• OK, I’m tired of the Devils. The NHL has to do something about the scheduling. Does anyone actually look over these things after they are created and say, “Gee, now this is dumb. Three games straight against the same team during the regular season?”
• Take 2, offense, offense, my kingdom for some offense. Three goals in the last 3 games. That’s just not going to cut it. Where did the scoring go? Somehow, this team was able to score goals last season from a fairly balanced compliment. This season, it’s mainly been 1 or 2 goals a game. If the top line doesn’t score, the Isles are unable to win most nights. When the season is over, I believe this is an area that will definitely stand out when it’s reviewed.
• Micheal Haley should remain up with the team. I think having him and Matt Martin in the lineup is the kind of effort and toughness the rest of the team can learn from and, perhaps, be inspired by. Haley just brings it. The hitting is one thing and so is the fighting, but it’s just the energy and the intensity that has won me over. If he had managed to beat Hedberg during his break away, it would have been the icing on the cake for him. If there was a way to bottle his spirit and distribute it to the rest of the team, the Islanders would be in the top 8 at this point in the season.
• Put Josh Bailey back on the wing. There are 5 good centers right now. Bailey has proven that he can score on the wing. The Isles need goals every night. To me, it just seems logical that he should be playing on the wing to help the team produce badly needed scoring.
• David Ullstrom is another favorite. The goals and scoring might not have come, but the effort is there, and it’s just a matter of time before it does come.
• I must agree with Gary. To be blunt, these last few games have pretty much put an end to all hope for a playoff run. The inconsistency and lack of scoring has simply led to lost points. Other teams seem to be finding their juice and really making the 7 and 8 spot a dog fight. The Islanders could have been in that mix. For some reason, they have not been able to put it together when it has been needed the most.
• I know Bridgeport is in the midst of their own battle for playoff position, but I think it’s time to keep bringing up the kids. At this point, it’s time to see what the defense can bring. I think we are seeing some bright spots up front for the future for sure. The signing of Mike Halmo, btw, was a nice snag by Garth Snow.
Let’s hope there is a 60 minute effort tonight against the Rangers. A victory at the Garden would, at least, salvage my hockey weekend for me ….
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