Another game, another loss for the New York Islanders. In a game that was not as close as the final score may indicate (6-4), the Isles were largely outplayed by the Philadelphia Flyers last night. The only real positive to come out of last night’s loss to the was the long-awaited re-emergence of the Islanders testicular fortitude.
After only four fights over the first forty games of the season, the New York Islanders exchanged fists on three separate occasions in last night’s loss to the Flyers. After being severely outworked over their last three games, the Isles said enough of this. Except instead of using their mouths, they let their hands do the all the talking.
Round 1 – Shane Prince vs. Travis Konecny
After two quick jabs and a big right hook from Prince, Konecny gets in a few right hands of his own. After trading a couple of blows apiece while circling, Konecny takes Prince down to the ice in the most gentlemanly way imaginable; by his neck. Stay classy, Philadelphia.
Round 2 – Josh Bailey vs. Sean Couturier
In the matchup that no one who follows the New York Islanders ever saw coming, Josh Bailey dropped the gloves with the Flyers Sean Couturier. Off of the faceoff, after the Islanders made it a 5-4 game with a little over five minutes left in the 3rd period, Couturier unloaded an obviously intentional head shot onto a passing Anders Lee.
Josh Bailey immediately came to the defense of his linemate. Scott Mayfield (who signed a five-year contract extension with the Islanders yesterday) tried to intervene but it appeared JB was intent on retaliating for the dirty hit on Lee. And off they went…
The fight begins with Couturier landing a punishing right jab to Bailey’s left cheekbone and two more powerful rights to Bailey’s jaw and ear. At that point, they simultaneously traded right hooks a la the final scene of Rocky II. JB squeaks in one more right jab and down to the ice they go.
Considering the score and how late in the game it was, a boxscore reader would probably find the timing of the fight odd. But taking into consideration Couturier’s blatant attempt to injure Lee with an elbow to his head, the timing seemed just right to me.
Final Round – Battle Royale
With just over a minute left in the 3rd period and the Flyers leading 5-4. The New York Islanders pulled Thomas Greiss to give themselves a man-advantage down by a goal. When Dennis Seidenberg sends the puck into the corner a chase ensues. That’s when Andrew Ladd trips Andrew MacDonald, drawing a fate-sealing penalty for the Islanders.
As the puck is being cleared out of the Flyers zone, Ladd cross-checks Scott Laughton and the melee officially begins. Jordan Eberle is going at it with Laughton as Nick Leddy tangles with Wayne Simmonds.
Ladd and MacDonald are also having themselves a dust-up when, right on cue, we see John Tavares and Robert Hägg slow dancing away from the real action. JT is obviously a lover and not a fighter.
After the dust settled, in addition to the penalties levied on Ladd and the bevy of amateur pugilists, Cal Clutterbuck and Simmonds both received misconduct penalties for jawing at each other in front of the Isles bench.
Where does this leave the New York Islanders?
It was certainly nice to see the New York Islanders show some true signs of life. After a three-game stretch in which they were outscored 15-4, the Isles had finally come to the point where something had to be done. Measures had to be taken in order to restore this team’s grit as well as their confidence level.
Hopefully, the bruised knuckles the New York Islanders woke up to this morning were not acquired in vain. One must hope that they can build some momentum off of this “moral victory”. If the Isles can salvage any positives out of the current funk they’ve been in and turn things around, they undoubtedly have time to save their season.