Isles Fall Short as Kessel is the Difference Maker

By John Panarese

I have to confess I was afraid of a bit of a let down last night in Toronto.  Despite the “emotional” value to the game after their previous meeting at home, it was the third game in 4 nights, and the Islanders have been playing a lot of games of late.  Additionally, there are the Flyers and Capitals ahead of us for meetings on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

All in all, after their recent, impressive level of play, this one fell short as the Maple Leafs beat the Isles 2-1.  To me, there were a bit too many turn overs and few too quality chances in the offensive end.  Not that James Reimer didn’t come up big for the Leafs in a few instances, but with the offensive output we have been getting, I thought the Isles would have pumped more shots on net.  Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to have it offensively and were pretty flat at times, especially early in the game.  They also gave up the first goal of the game again.

Between the pipes for the Islanders, Al Montoya deserved a much better fate.  The guy really did keep his team in the game and from early on, he came up with several terrific saves.  Phil Kessel, however, with about 5 minutes left in the game, broke a 1-1 tie to get the game winner passed Montoya.  It didn’t help that Milan Jurcina left the game with a groin injury 3 shifts into the game and Travis Hamonic received a 10 minute misconduct in the third period either.  However, the lack of offense was really the biggest problem for the Isles, who only got a goal on the power play from Matt Moulson.  One lucky bounce or a more sustained effort in the offensive zone, and it could have been different.

It’s going to happen, though.  This is, of course, a young team, and every night is not necessarily going to be their “A game”.  The Leafs were certainly beatable, but we have them again in two weeks at home.  They will just have to get back to keeping to the game plan and putting out a sixty minute effort, as they have been doing of late.

Next up, it’s the Flyers in Philadelphia on Thursday and then home to face the Capitals.  These will be real tests for the Isles.  They can ill afford to not come to the rink with fire, intensity and consistency.

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