Ricky gets his first home win in over a year

By John Panarese

With Rick DiPietro getting the start against the Buffalo Sabers, the Isles won the game 3-2 in a shoot out. Ricky stopped 31 of 33 shots, and earned his first win on Coliseum ice since December 26 of 2008. Although he wasn’t seriously “tested”, he still had to make some solid stops, especially in the third period, and he closed the deal in the 8th round of the shoot out after Trent Hunter fired a wrist shot passed Ryan miller and Patrick Kaleta missed his chance to send the shoot out any further.

The Islanders took a 1-0 lead on John Tavares’s 17th goal of the season in the 1st period. It was JT’s first goal in 11 games and second in 16, and it came off of a rebound from a Kyle Okposo shot. Then, the Islanders briefly went up 2-0 in the second on Sean Bergenheim’s 5th goal of the season, which was a nice deflection of an Andrew MacDonald slap shot. Mike Grier, however, got Buffalo on the board 21 seconds after Bergie’s goal on a deflection of his own of a Tim Connolly shot.

Richard Park would have put the Isles up 3-1 in the third, but after beating Ryan Miller, the goal was waved off because it was claimed Andy sutton had “interfered” with Miller’s ability to play the puck. According to Howie and Billy, though, as much as Sutton’s foot might have partially crossed the blue paint, it was felt that he did not impede or interfere with Miller’s ability to make a save. Nevertheless, the call on the ice was the law, and Drew Stafford ended up tying the game a bit later by putting in a rebound from a Chris Butler shot. After no one was able to finish the game in the overtime, it went to the shoot out and all the way to the 8th round.

Overall, especially with a 21 shot 2nd period effort, the Islanders played another impressive game. The Sabers have been playing well themselves, so this was not an “easy” victory by any stretch of the imagination. In the third period, Buffalo played quite well, collecting, I believe, 15 shots on Ricky that period. This, to me, with Ricky playing so well, is a great sign for the New York Islanders, who, at the moment, hold the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.