Isles trending upward with 5-1 victory over Bolts

The Islanders gave up their only goal on the first shot.  The seventh time this season that New York has done that in their 25 games.  That is an average that a baseball player could nearly have.

Not what a hockey team wants.

But did that let the Isles down?

Hell no.

Three goals for the Islanders before the end of the first frame, propelled the team to the decisive 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Overall, it was an extremely solid game for the Islanders, who were almost masterful in all three zones, and had contributions from all four lines.

Al Montoya, after giving up the first goal to Martin St. Louis, settled down and stopped all 23 shots that would face him afterwards.  He was solid, and gave the team ample time to clear pucks in front of hi

John Tavares, goalless in his last 13, finally got himself off the schneid with a great snap shot to level the game at 1.  Although his streak nearly lasted over a month, he is just about averaging a point per game this season, with an assist later on in the game.

The second goal came on a great job my Matt Martin, crashing in front of the crease, making extreme havoc, and causing the second goal of the night to go in.  Tim Wallace, just called up from Bridgeport, scored his first point of the season, assisting on the Martin goal.

Just about 90 seconds later, with only 5.5 seconds left in the period, Milan Jurcina got his first on the power play as a result of a grat tic-tac-toe play with Mark Streit and Frans Nielsen, to give the home team a two goal advantage.

The second period produced no goals, but there were five power play opportunities that did not materialize in goals; three of those were for the Isles.  However, the Isles were buzzing, skates constantly moving back and fro, winning battles in the corners, and making the hits.  Wallace had 7 to lead the game, and Martin had 4.

The person that I was most impressed with last night was Josh Bailey.  To me – this was his BEST game of the season.  He was brilliant with his puck handling, and always seemed to be in the right position every time.  He led the Isles in PK time with 4:30 – showing us that Coach Jack Capuano has the confidence in Bailey to get the job done, and you can easily see his comfort level rising.

Then we hit the third period, for the historic goal for a young 22 year old from Sweden.  David Ullstrom, on a drop pass from Bailey, slapped one that hit Matthieu Garon, and flew past him into the net for his first National Hockey League goal.  That made the score 4-1.  Matt Moulson added one on the power play, the Isles second PP goal of the night, to make the score 5-1.  That was Moulson’s 5th straight game with a goal, and his team leading 14th on the year.

This was one of the more ‘perfect’ 60 minute games of the season, and the Isles should be damn proud of it.  Especially when it was done without Andrew MacDonald, Nino Niederreiter and Michael Grabner.  The Isles await the Chicago Blackhawks for a re-match of last week’s encounter.

Until then – you have one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the New York Islanders; yes, the New York Islanders, on a serious roll right now.  Hope it stays.