After dropping the front end of the home and home against the Rangers on Thursday, the Isles went into MSG Friday night. It was, to me, a much better opening period and solid effort, but a not so good second period and a Ranger power play goal pretty much was all the blue shirts needed. The Isles played better in the third period, but they just could not get the equalizer. Jack Hillen came the closest, beating Lundqvist with a shot, but finding the cross bar. The Rangers added an empty net goal with 2 seconds left in the game to seal a 2-0 victory and sweep the 2 game set.
Then, yesterday afternoon, the Flyers came to the NVMC for what I thought was going to be a much more physical game. The Flyers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, as the Isles played a rather lack luster 20 minutes of hockey. There was no scoring in the second period, though the Islanders did look much better overall. Then, goals from John Sim and Frans Nielsen 36 seconds apart suddenly gave the Isles their first lead of the game. Unfortunately, a power play goal from Andreas Nodl tied the game up after Andrew McDonald blocked a shot and the puck went directly to Nodl before a defensive lapse then enabled Daniel Breare to put the game winner in at the 14:16 mark of the third period.
Dwayne Roloson started both the Ranger game and the Flyer games, and he didn’t deserve to lose either one. Additionally, in my opinion, horrible calls by the officials in both games directly led to goals. In the Ranger game, I believe it was John Sim getting a goaltender interference call after being shoved into Lundqvist by a Ranger d-man that led to the Ranger power play goal from Mark Staal. Then, on Sunday, Nodl’s goal came after Matt Moulson was given a ridiculous holding call n the offensive end. Of course, as the expression goes, good teams find ways to win and overcome adversity, but when you are not playing well, bad calls certainly don’t help.
Overall, to me, the boys simply have to keep going out there and plugging away. It’s not as if they are being blown out in games or stinking out the building. If a puck would bounce one way instead of another, or a guy was able to get to a loose puck a second faster, the Isles might have seen different outcomes in more than a few games. It’s a series of simple bad breaks, and one has to just keep playing through it.
Hopefully, Kyle Okposo will be returning to the lineup in the next few weeks. Granted one guy may not make a team, but Okposo’s presence and his impact in all areas of a game could be a big boost for the Islanders. For now, though, they just have to continue to work hard and try to play 3 full periods of solid, consistent hockey. This too shall pass.