The third period of Thursday’s game was truthfully tough to swallow. With the number of games remaining and with every point a major need, the play of the Islanders seemed to sink faster than a coin in a bucket of water.
According to the coach, players were invisible. If you saw the film of the post game presser on TV, you can start to see veins reaching the surface and getting ready to explode.
After last night’s final two minutes, you can say that those bulges were getting larger.
For fifty-eight minutes, the Islanders looked like the better team. Although it was not a fire-powered display, the home team was playing the type of game that you expect to play against the Devils. They were winning puck battles and were making smart decisions in their own zone. Anders Nilsson was again playing an outstanding game. His 6 foot 5 inch frame was quick and moved from side to side with ease. He took care of the angles well, and had some outstanding glove saves.
Johan Hedberg on the other side, was as brilliant as his fellow countryman. Save for save, Hedberg was standing on his head. As Capuano would say, the goaltenders were definitely the stars of the game. They both kept their teams in the game.
Finally near the half way point in the third, John Tavares got the Isles on the board. After a face-off win, Tavares got the puck back from his teammate and blasted a shot in the upper left side of the net over the right shoulder of Hedberg. For JT, this was his first point against the Devils this season. For the nearly 12 minutes or so that followed, it looked like the Isles were playing the type of game that would keep the lead secured. Although they were a little conservative, they were not holding back. Many of the nearly full house at the Coliseum would lead you to believe that two points would be coming to the home team.
Whoops, spoke too soon.
David Clarkson would get the Devils on the board when a push of the puck from the point would get past Nilsson to even the score.
OK – from the Islander fans view. OK, we will get them in OT. We can play our game, and get physical and get that extra point.
Someone forgot to give PA Parenteau the memo on not being sloppy with the physical play, as he shoved Bryce Salvador’s head against the boards behind the Devils net, causing a power play for the Devils only six seconds after the tying goal.
OK – once again from the Islander fan – we stopped the Devils in the three previous PK opportunities, just do it again and when it ends, we get to a 4 on 4 – and see whether the open ice gives an advantage to us.
Just a few seconds after the play began, Marek Zidlicky got a puck through traffic and quickly put the Devils on top to stay.
Fifteen seconds – two goals, and the lifeline of this team for playoff admission seems to be as far as away as another planet.
“I think I can have both of the goals,” Nilsson said to the media after the game. He also remarked that he lost the winner in the bodies in front of the net.
Regardless of that submission of guilt, it is the opinion of the writer, that discipline from the forward that is leading the team in assists is the one to blame. When you get to the point that the Islanders were in – the emotions needed to be in check. There was absolutely no reason for Parenteau to be that sloppy.
Any hopes that the Isles had to make an eighth place run was basically squashed by the lack in obtaining points over the last few days. Tonight – the Islanders, fresh of that disappointing loss, take on the Rangers at MSG. What will we see tonight? Hopefully for Islander fans, they take on the role as spoiler, and keep the Rangers close to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are as hot as a blue flame, and are winning this afternoon against Boston. The Rangers would only be two points ahead of Pittsburgh, and they play each other on Thursday.
Who will show up tonight? I hope not the same team for minutes 58 – 60 last night.
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