What the Devil happened?

By John Panarese

OK, a bad play on words, but the question is not too far off the mark. The Islanders decided to only play 20 minutes of last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, losing 4-2 when it was all over. Rick DiPietro certainly did not play badly and he didn’t deserve to end up with the loss.

After being outplayed in the first by the Devils and trailing 1-0 on a Jamie Langenbrunner goal, Colin White took a major penalty in the second by boarding Sean Bergenheim, which, by the way, should result in a 2 game suspension if the powers that be follow any consistency and logic “used” in dishing out Andy Sutton’s punishment. On the ensuing 5 minute power play, the Isles scored twice. Kyle Okposo netted his 11th of the season after John Tavares flubbed on an intended pass to Doug Weight that went to Kyle who shot it passed Marty Brodeur. Then, Bryce Salvador ended up unintentionally deflecting in a Jack Hillen shot to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. The Islanders out shot the Devils 14 to 1 in the second period and completely controlled the game. The only Devil shot was a Zach Parise goal that deflected off of Freddy Meyer’s skate passed Ricky in the closing minute of that period.

Unfortunately, instead of coming out to play an inspired third period, the Isles let the Devils regain control of the game. Salvador made up for his deflected goal by getting a shot from the point by Ricky, which, according to Billy Jaffe, might have “skipped” on the way in. Jersey nailed the game down with Pariese’s second goal of the game after the Islanders pulled DiPietro for the extra attacker.

Obviously, as has been mentioned many times this season, the ups and downs are going to occur with a young, developing squad. It is, though, frustrating from the fan’s perspective, especially when you are in the midst of a playoff birth fight and 52 games into the season. Kyle Okposo made the comment between the first and second periods that he didn’t think the team had come to play. Well, perhaps he challenged or inspired them to wake up in the second period. It’s just too bad that they collectively forgot that there was still 20 minutes left to finish the job. Once again, 2 valuable points were squandered.