New York Islanders Snap Three Game Skid

By James McDermott

The New York Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in a shootout tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

They weren’t facing a team that is in direct contact with them in the standing, they allowed a division rival to earn a point, and they didn’t post a ROW result; yet, this may have been the most crucial win the Islanders have had all season. That is NOT hyperbole, ladies and gentlemen.

The Isles needed a win desperately. They had lost three straight and had lost their place atop the Metropolitan division. All of that was erased with two vital points tonight.

For much of the game the Isles were not the better team. They allowed the Flyers to dictate the pace of play for the majority of the first two periods. Philly jumped out to a two goal lead behind goals by Nick Schultz and Chris VandeVelde, but the Isles turned it on late in the second period and evened the scored with Mikhail Grabovski and Cal Clutterbuck lighting the lamp.

A major factor for the momentum change in this game was the play of goaltenders. Jaroslav Halak allowed two goals on his first eight shots faced, while Steve Mason looked unbeatable for the first half of this game, making many remarkable saves, most notable a beauty to deny Josh Bailey on the doorstep. The roles reversed however as Halak ratcheted up his game and made two or three tremendous saves to keep the Isles comeback alive, none more importantly than a breakaway save in the dying seconds of overtime, forcing a shootout.

Frans Nielsen did what Frans Nielsen does in the shootout, converting on his patented backhand move to open things up, but the team would fail to convert another attempt until Clutterbuck snapped in the game winner in the seventh round.

This win did come with its share of pain and sacrifice from Islanders players. Matt Martin suffered a broken nose in a fight with Ryan White only 2:11 into the game, Johnny Boychuk took a puck to the knee that forced him to be carried off in the second, but he did return for the third, and Halak took a puck up high that shook him up, but he didn’t miss any time.

The Isles travel next to Boston to face the Bruins in game two of a three game road trip.

As always I encourage you to tell me how you saw the game in the comments.