The good news was that the New York Islanders still got a point out of the game, be it the “loser” point. The bad news was they lost the second point and blew a 3-1 lead.
Granted that they were lucky to even have been leading in the game after the first period, as Buffalo certainly had the better of the play, out shooting the Isles 17-9 and generally out playing them. However, a pair of goals from Frans Nielsen sandwiched around a Josh Bailey shorthanded goal gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead after the opening frame.
Both teams played better in the second period defensively, but the Islanders gave up a goal late in the period. At least, they had seemed to find their legs, and tightened up their game compared to the first stanza. It was just a shame that they couldn’t get any other goals, which was the same problem in the final period.
In the third period, the Sabres, again, dominated the play. It was really one of those frustrating situations in which you sat there feeling that the game was going to be tied. I don’t know why, but it just seemed inevitable to me. The Islanders didn’t attack, and began to play the game mainly in their end of the ice. It was an accident waiting to happen.
Well, Buffalo got the equalizer it halfway through the period. All of a sudden, the 3-1 lead had evaporate, and it seemed like both teams were trying to play for the single point. Although the Islanders picked up their game in the overtime, which was helped by a Sabre too many men on the ice penalty, they couldn’t find a way to win the game. The Islanders outshot the Sabres 9-1 in that five minute span, yet the game still went to the shootout. Unfortunately, PA Parenteau and Frans Nielsen could not beat Ryan Miller, while Al Montoya gave up 2 goals to give Buffalo the win.
As some “of my blind observations” from the game;
• You just can’t blow 3-1 leads, especially in a game in which you were not playing well to start. As I have said, these points are critical, and 1 point lost is a BIG point.
• Losing Travis Hamonic for 2 weeks was probably just as big of a loss in the game. He has been the Islanders best defenseman, in my opinion, and he’s not easily going to be replaced. Guys are going to have to step up.
• It was good to see Matt Martin answer the bell for sure. However, why didn’t Patrick Koleta receive an instigation penalty? He made it clear at the start of the second period that he wanted to fight Martin, and Martin smartly refuse the first efforts. Koleta followed and hacked at Martin until he got Martin to go.
• Al Montoya showed that he hadn’t played much over the last two months. I don’t believe the “Big Cubano” from early in the season would have lost that game. He didn’t look particularly good in the shootout.
• Its a double-edged sword. It’s now five straight goals that have not been scored by the first line. However, it’s two games in which the first line has not had any points.
• It was great to see Frans Nielsen get 2 goals. He seemed to have his legs and looked like the Frans of last season. Now, if we can get Grabner to start putting the puck in the net.
• Evgeni Nabokov cannot be traded. That is simply a reality right now. No matter how you slice it, the Islanders are going to have to ride him.
• Talk about sacrificing the body. I’m sure Matt Moulson and Matt Martin were two sore guys the next morning. Moulson took, at least, 2 shots of of his legs, while Martin was staggered by a shot during a PK in the second period.
Next up, the Islanders visit the city of Brotherly Love again. Hopefully, the can repeat the magic from their last game there. without a doubt, after losing to the Devils and Rangers back to back, the Flyers are probably not going to come out a happy bunch of boys. The Isles will have to shake the dust from the last game and play a game like they did the last time they beat the Flyers.
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