The National Hockey League season is a long one. One that is filled with ups and downs along the way to a potential playoff spot and a chance to play for the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup.
Through this years first nine games, the incredibly consistently inconsistent New York Islanders had yet to discover that identity that carried them to the post-season and a surprising first round battle with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Could that have been re-discovered last night?
At Consol Energy Center, New York upended the Metropolitan division leading Penguins by a score of 4-3 in a gritty, come from behind win that has all the markings of that magical run.
Led by Frans Nielsen, Evgeni Nabokov, Thomas Hickey and [surprise,surprise!] Radek Martinek, two one goal deficits were erased with Josh Bailey netting with winner with under two minutes to play in the third period.
With nobody running away yet in the entire Eastern conference, this puts the Islanders just three points shy of the top spot.
Moving forward to this evening, another trap game presents itself for the team. Do the games against Buffalo and Carolina ring a bell? The Philadelphia Flyers come to town with a 2-7-0 record on the year, just barely defeating the New York Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. Their top player and captain, Claude Giroux, has yet to find the back of the net. In fact, in their first 9 games, the Flyers have only scored 13 goals.
The Islanders must turn up the intensity at home and push the pace against the Flyers, making Nassau Coliseum a tough place to play. Kevin Poulin is expected to get the start in goal and it will be interesting, without a morning skate, to see who comes out of the lineup for returning Michael Grabner, who has finished serving his two game suspension.
Keep it tuned right here for your pre-game report coming later from Joe Pantorno, followed by the post-game report, Snap Shots, from Rich Dias immediately following the game. I will be covering the game live from the press box in Long Island and you can follow my updates on Twitter, @tazman19.
In Case You Missed It
- Your post-game wrap from Pittsburgh from Rich Dias (EOI)
- The Post Gazette laments the ‘lazy’ Penguins (Post Gazette)
- Hockey in Brock Nelson’s blood (Newsday)
- Last night in GIF – Josh Bailey (IPB)
Two Minutes for Tweeting
— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) October 26, 2013
- Hornick’s always enjoyable skinny gives the low-down on a feel good win on the road.
Oh, gotta give credit to the best NY team in the NHL for beating the Pens on the road – #Isles
— (Atom) Anthony (@antdupree) October 26, 2013
- Best New York Team…..I like the ring of that. Music to my ears.
An ugly win, but great for overall team confidence and momentum. Need the same result against Philly tonight. #Isles
— Ken Dick (@RealKenDick) October 26, 2013
- Agree with Ken it was not the most brilliantly played hockey game but two points on the road in Pittsburgh could allow this team to get on a roll. Huge game, more than some might think, tonight awaits.
Isles 2nd and 3rd lines solidly above 50% in possession. #Isles first line solidly below despite shelteredness. Confident that wont continue
— garik16 (@garik16) October 26, 2013
- The Twitter king of advanced statistics, Garik, consistently brings you behind the boxscore after each Isles game. That first line has to awaken sooner or later. It’s just logical.
Around The NHL
- Columbus 5, Toronto 2
- Anaheim 2, Ottawa 1
- Buffalo 3, Florida 1
- Vancouver 3, St.Louis 2 (OT)
- Colorado 4, Carolina 2
Across The Sound
The Sound Tigers currently sit at 1-3-1 and in last place in the division. They return to the ice tonight for the start of a three game road trip as they take on the Crunch in Syracuse. Game begins at 7pm EST. They will then travel to Hartford on Wednesday and Worcester on Friday before returning home a week from today.
Ryan Strome paces the team in scoring with a goal and five assists in five games and Anders Nilsson is still struggling to find his game with an .860 save percentage in five starts.