Islanders Weather Storm and Hold Off Hurricanes
By Eric Bordin
Boy these Islanders sure like to provide excitement. Even games that look like blowouts can be turned into nail biters.
That’s just what happened tonight.
The Isles came out of the gate like a house on fire. Before the 8 minute mark of the 1st period, the Islanders had a 4-0 lead. If you’re thinking Kyle Okposo or Michael Grabner were involved, you’d be incorrect.
The scoring came from the grinders this evening. Some of the last guys you think of when it come to the Isles getting out to a big lead.
Colin McDonald scored twice, along with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck. It was starting to look like Vancouver all over again. Could the Islanders put up seven goals in a period one more time?
Well, not so fast. The Isles never seem to make it easy. Defense and goaltending haven’t exactly been their strong points.
You know what they say about those dreaded four goal leads. Oh, wait, that’s the 2 goal lead. No one says anything about losing a four goal lead. Why? It’s awfully tough to do. Well, even with a four goal lead, they certainly made it interesting.
After the Islanders jumped out to an early four goal lead, having taken the first 10 shots of the game, Carolina woke up. The Canes struck back with two of their own, and with just under five minutes left in the 1st, we had a two goal game.
Although the 1st period would end with the score 4-2, the fun didn’t end there. With the Isles on the PK for Delay of Game, the Canes struck once more. Alexander Semin sneaked one inside the post past an extremely shaky Anders Nilsson to make it 4-3.
The game would stay that way until the 4:03 mark of the 2nd. Matt Martin took a pass from Ryan Strome behind the net and he beat Anton Khudobin, who relieved starting goalie Cam Ward after the third goal.
But, the 2 goal lead would be short lived. Just 22 seconds later Nathan Gerbe beat Nilsson from a very odd angle and we were locked in a one goal game again.
The Isles would once again enter the third period with their worst nemesis; a lead. We know how things have gone lately in the third for the Islanders.
Fortunately, things were different tonight.
There were a few shots exchanged back and forth in the final minutes, but there was no sustained pressure by either team. After having fans pretty much resigned to the fact the game would be lost somehow, the Islanders actually did hang on for the 5-4 victory and proved the doubters wrong.
Next year starts now for the Islanders and every team building win is a step in the right direction. This is two wins in a row for the Isles, and a great way to build some swagger for the 2014-15 campaign.
- The Isles are now 13-4-1 in their last 18 road games.
- Nilsson looked ordinary and has not done a thing to give the Isles any hope of him playing with the big club next year. He apparently knows it too. After the game he said “I have to thank the guys for that one. I have to do a better job of not ending up on my ass so easy.”
- Kyle Okposo looked a little shaken up after a collision in the third. He appears to be fine.
- Johan Sundstrom took his first NHL penalty
- Kevin Czuczman got his first NHL point; an assist on Matt Martin‘s 1st period tally.
- Colin McDonald had 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist), he was a +4, and named the 1st star.
- Cal Clutterbuck now has 11 goals on the season. Nino Niederreiter has 12.