Hockey From The Blind Side, Islanders Come Back to Beat The Hurricanes, My Observations
By John Panarese
I heard this game referred to as “the battle for last place in the Eastern Conference” by the boys of Hockey Central. Of course, as an Islander fan, this did get me a little indignant, to say the least.
Unfortunately, the game played like to sloppy teams. There were many mistakes made by both teams, and both Evgeni Nabokov and Cam Ward had to bail their respective teams out in many instances. Off the top of my head, I think that most of the goals scored by both teams in the New York Islanders 4-3 victory in the shootout came directly or indirectly from defensive mistakes.
The Isles got the opening goal of the game on the power play at the 3:40 mark on Matt Moulson’s 18th of the season, but Anthony Stewart quickly tied the game up for the Canes. Brandon Sutter put Carolina ahead 3:13 into the 2nd period, and for a time, to me, it started to look like one of those frustrating games the Isles have played where they just can’t seem to get themselves entirely back into the contest when they need to do so.
Frans Nielsen, fortunately, scored another power play goal for the Islanders to knot the game at 2, but Chad Larose scored what could have been a crushing goal at 15:46 of the 3rd to put his team back on top with a 3-2 lead. With a minute and a half left in regulation, however, John Tavares picked up his 3rd assist of the game, setting up Kyle Okposo to tie the game up again. This, in my opinion, might be one of the biggest goals the Isles have gotten this season thus far.
After no one scored in the overtime, the game went to the shootout. PA Parenteau started things off on a positive note for the Islanders with a nice goal, as he came in hard on Cam Ward and beat him with a quick shot, but Jussi Jokinen scored as the next shooter for Carolina. Frans Nielsen used his reliable backhand move to get the second goal of the shootout for the Isles, and Nabbie sealed the win for the blue and orange.
It was the first time the Islanders came back to win a game trailing while heading into the 3rd period. It wasn’t, by any means, a well-played or textbook kind of win, but at this point, it was still a critical 2 points in the standings. Battle for last place or not, it’s still early January folks.
As some “blind observations” that struck me from the game;
• I sound like a broken record by now, but John Tavares is continuing to show why he was drafted #1 overall in 2009. He nearly singlehandedly won the game for the Islanders in the overtime by driving to the net and not quitting on the puck until Cam Ward managed to stop his shot. He now has 34 points in 37 games, 13 goals and 21 assists.
• The power play scored 2 more goals. Again, getting goals with the extra man is ALWAYS a good thing in my book.
• Even playing sloppy at times, the Isles still came away with the 2 points. I will not take anything away from the Hurricanes either, as I feel their record is deceiving compared to the talent they do possess. Thus, it was a nice win for the Islanders.
• Matt Moulson’s 18th goal of the season. Not bad for a potential third line left winger on any other team, right?
• PA Parenteau has 7 goals and 25 assists on the year. That’s right. A total of 32 points on the season.
• Kyle Okposo continues to quietly pick up the points and score goals.
• Eric Staal might not be having a fantastic season, but that guy can dominate out there.
• Why does Chad Larose always seem to score against the Islanders. Is there a union headed by him and Ryan Malone?
• Lastly, though this has nothing to do with the game, John Tortorella is a jackass. I’m sorry, but you just don’t say stuff like that, no matter what you might be thinking. He’s lucky all he got was a 30K fine.
The Islanders travel to Anaheim and Phoenix Friday and Saturday. These are games they need to win. Both teams are currently not in the playoff picture either, and have not been playing well. These are 4 potential points the Isles have to earn.
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