Isles Work Hard, but only Earn 1 Point in Carolina

By John Panarese

The Isles played a good, hard forty minute game in Raleigh last night.  The fought back from a 1-0 deficit on a Jeff Skinner goal to take a 2-1 lead with goals from Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner, but they couldn’t hold the lead.

Carolina tied the game late in the third period  after coming out strong and taking it to the Islanders.  Erik Cole knotted up the contest with 4:37 left in the game, and then at the 3:58 mark of overtime, Joni Pitkanen won it for the Hurricanes.

The Isles out shot Carolina 37-35, and out played them through forty minutes of the game.  Unfortunately, once again, with all the hard work, they still fell short in the end.  Somehow, they have to find a way to hold on to these types of games, especially when they are big ones for them.  It is a character building process, and, hopefully, the strong efforts will convert into 2 point nights for the boys through experience.  It doesn’t need to be said that at this stage of the season, hard work is simply not enough all of the time.

Al Montoya made 32 of 35 saves, but Cam Ward stopped 35 of 37 shots, including several break away opportunities for the Islanders.  The Canes surely showed that they aren’t out of the run for that 8 spot in the Eastern Conference yet.

Congratulations to Frans Nielsen as well.  With his goal and assist, he now has 10 goals and 30 assists for 40 points on the season, which is a career high for him.

Michael Grabner scored his 29th goal and also had an assist in the game.  What a great story the 23 year old is writing for himself.  I don’t know if he’ll win top honors as rookie of the season, but he certainly should be among the guys to be considered.

Tonight, the Islanders continue their 3 game road trip in Sunrise.  Will we see Ricky in net tonight, or will Jack Capuano stick with Montoya?

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