UNIONDALE, NY— The New York Islanders have been eliminated from the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs with an overtime goal by Brooks Orpik at the 7:49 mark.
New York brought a fiery brand of hockey this evening, and played with as much love and passion as you could ask of a young club. Goals by John Tavares, Colin McDonald, and Michael Grabner were results and reflections of tenacious forechecking and a desire to win.
Pointless an exercise it is at this very moment to say that Evgeni Nabokov let in another set of soft goals, or if Frans Nielsen had lifted his stick just a few inches in the other direction, I’d be writing a completely different wrap up.
The Islanders owned the lead on two separate occasions last night, but two Penguins defensemen found their point shots in the back of New York’s net at critical moments of the game to cause the tie and eventual win.
Nothing to hang one’s head about if you’re the New York Islanders club and/or die-hard fan, for this season proved just how burgeoning and resilient this band of hockey players can and will be.
Do not doubt this team’s bright future: there’s no denying that the Islanders have arrived, and that John Tavares will only be that much more a threat to opposing teams, emerging as the premier forward in the entire NHL for years and years to come. No one is as valuable a player to his organization as this wonderfully talented young man. He deserves the Hart trophy. Hands down.
For the moment, let us enjoy the Sunday after, and by day’s end let us reflect upon the industrious and equally exciting season this team presented to its fans.
- Dupuis clips Casey Cizikas on the bottom of his chin, coming dangerously close to his throat; forced to leave the game in the first period
- Brain Strait unable to clear Nabokov’s initial save on a Sidney Crosby scoring attempting, and Jarome Iginla picks up the loose puck and scores the tying goal; the notch is in no way Nabby’s fault, but rather the defensive pair on the ice at the moment: poor backchecking
- Tying goal seemed to have cooled the Islanders’s shooting attempts as the period comes to a close; aggressive boardwork and skating prowess allow the Isles to still lay claim to the momentum
- The second period saw the Isles as the first team on the PP, and after several wonderful opportunities and an overall frenetic pace to this part of the Isles’s special teams, no goals come of all this effort
- Radek Martinek takes a cross-checking penalty at the 8:40 mark of the second
- Pascal Dupuis ties it up: able to outman Travis Hamonic, and the Penguins forward is able to score his 5th for the series off a strong pass by hemmed-in Joe Vitale; another goal due to a defensive flub; Nabokov looks sharp even though his defense isn’t
- Islanders had 3 SOG on their 2nd PP opportunity, but no goals
- Islanders with 1 SOG on their 3rd PP opportunity, but still cannot close out all their scoring chances
- Paul Martin scores the tying goal with 5 minutes left in the 3rd, as Frans Nielsen’s stick was in a compromising position and the shot from the point deflects off his stick and in the back of the net
- Islanders fail to close out the game in regulation and are forced to play overtime
- Regulation SOG favor the Isles by a whopping 35 to 19; credit Vokoun with a strong performance
- The Pittsburgh Penguins eliminate the Islanders in OT
- Frans Nielsen dresses for this evening’s contest, joined by Brock Nelson plays his first NHL playoff game
- Islanders start the matchup with a strong, physical presence, coupled with a jump to their skating, eventually forcing Dan Bylsma to take a timeout within minutes of the period to quell the initial momentum
- Evgeni Nabokov makes a key save early on Brendan Morrow that helps keep the Isles momentum going
- Islanders owning the Neutral Zone once again at the matchup’s onset: Penguins forced to chip and chase for most of the early part of the first period
- Islanders’s first line is relentless on the forecheck: Carkner keeping it deep, and the eventual puck cycling finds John Tavares in front of Tomas Vokoun, the Isles Hart finalist buries it in the net
- Matt Carkner playing some of his best hockey to date: keep pucks deep in the offensive zone, while being diligent on the backcheck, especially along the boards
- Brock Nelson also bringing a much needed edge to the Isles’s physical game: absorbing a check by Letang, only to see the Penguins play bounce off and fall to the ice—an unaffected Nelson skating away
- Islanders are rushing Vokoun’s area, disrupting his view of the point, and making the Penguins netminder pay for loose pucks and generous rebounds
- Islanders doing a good job of keeping Crosby to the outside, forcing him to take perimeter shots for most of the first period
- Michael Grabner finishes his check on Paul Martin deep in the offensive and is able to pass loose puck to Keith Aucoin who quickly shovels it to an open Colin McDonald, and the Isles winger gets his second of the postseason
- Isles finish the first period with 12 SOG to the Penguins 7
- Grabner opens the 2nd with a nifty shot from just past the blue line; Vokoun juggles the shot and quickly covers up the sloppy rebound
- Islanders get the first PP opportunity of the evening, showing tenacity and creativity, swarming Vokoun’s net
- Penguins get their first shot of the second period at the 8:26 mark
- Casey Cizikas creates a 2 on 1 SH attempt, and if not for a sprawling Evgeni Malkin, the Isles forward may very well have had a notch on the play
- Islanders’ PK unit excellent: 0 SOG for the Penguins on this PP opportunity
- Nabokov makes a late 2nd period save on Kunitz’s shot dead center in front of his crease, fed by Crosby from behind the net
- 28 to 13 SOG through 2 periods favoring the Islanders
- Islanders start the period with a beautiful goal by Michael Grabner, due to a Vokoun turnover capitalized by Keith Aucoin; taking the early period lead; Aucoin with his first 2 A game of the series
- Ken Daneyko says on MSG Hockey Night: “John Tavares is my pick for MVP”
- THE ISLANDER FANS SHOWED TREMENDOUS LOVE AND SUPPORT FOR THIS TEAM, AS THEY IMMEDIATELY CHANTED AND CHEERED ONCE THE GAME WAS OVER. THEY SHOWED THE BOYS THAT NO MATTER WHAT THE FANS, TOO, ARE BACK
- The save of the night: Tomas Vokoun on Radek Martinek late in the third.
- Matt Martin with some sobering commentary: “Not to sound cliché but we’re a family in here.” They played like a band of brothers.
- Those wondering whether or not John Tavares would ‘step up’ his game in the postseason needn’t wonder anymore: 3gs 2As 5pts in 6 games.
In the coming weeks we’ll have a detailed postseason summary, as well as player/team report cards, 2013 draft coverage, and all points in between.
So remember: EYESONISLES will continue bringing you all the news, reports, analysis, and opinions throughout the summer, as we count the days to September 21, as the New York Islanders faceoff against the New Jersey Devils at the Barclays for the first preseason game of the FULL 2013-2014 hockey season.
See you all very soon. Keep it here on EYESONISLES. And thank you. Thank you for all your support throughout this incredible season.
And to my brothers-in-arms, you guys made watching and writing about hockey absolutely amazing.