The Islanders need to pack their bags accept their fate and ready themselves for playoff hockey
First the Rangers did the New York Islanders a favor by defeating the Washington Capitals this afternoon. The final night of regulation play at the Nassau Coliseum had now grew a greater purpose then the doors closing after the NHL Tournament.
A win meant home ice advantage against their first round opponent the Washington Capitals. As the party developed in the parking lot and fans began to fill the Barn everyone knew there was more at stake than wanting to go out with a win.
The Isles came out to play as the packed house was the immediate sixth skater. The Columbus Blue Jackets who did not make the playoff cut came to be the spoiler and that they did, oh that they did.
The big picture here was not the back and forth play. It was a microscope of what this Islander team is going to do to its dedicated cup hungry fans. Tear our insides out with stress as we watch them take and lose leads. Just when you thought they were in control, the walls would collapse around them.
In whole, the Islanders blew two leads in the third and fell to the Jackets after Halak gave up the winning goal in the shootout portion of the game.
As Ron Burgundy would say “I am in a glass box of Emotion!” That is what the Islanders found themselves caught up in. The first blow was the usual with under ten seconds to go in the first they gave up a goal. Blow number one, especially after out shooting the Jackets 20-10 after the first period.
Second period put the crowed back into it after Kyle Okposo scored at 11:02. Then it was ultimate high to unbearable lows.
The Isles stormed out in the third scoring two unanswered goals. One from Eric Boulton and the second from John Tavares getting him on the scoring sheet as he Sidney Crosby and Jamie Benn were all in contention for the Art Ross title.
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The Islanders again were unable to hold on to the two goal lead allowing Columbus right back in as they netted two unanswered goals of their own to tie the game.
Nikolay Kulemin gave the Islanders the lead again as John Tavares collected his second point of the night. Unfortunately for JT, Benn had a big night of his own and took the scoring title.
To make matters worse with under two minutes to go in regulation Scott Hartnell found the back of the net through a crowed and again the Blue Jackets tied the game.
After the five-minute overtime with no goals the shootout was the deciding factor if the Isles will be at home or on the road against the Caps.
Tavares was the lone Islander to score. Columbus converted on their final two chances the last came from Cam Atkinson. After the shot hit the net the life was somewhat sucked out of the building.
Now the Isles will find themselves on the road against a red-hot Capital team.
Jaroslav Halak played well not as good as the previous night against the Penguins but good. The Islanders have to erase this past month and find themselves. They played solid, tough hockey the past two games, but their ability to hold the lead consistently fails them.
The Capitals will eat them up if they lower their guard at all. The PK was good but going up against the Caps is going to be an entire different beast.
The doors on the Coliseum have yet to close, Islander nation can only hold their breath and hope that the team does find their playoff gear in time and make a serious run and rock the Barn one last time.