If you look back to my pre-game post last night, you may have noticed I called for the Islanders to break out offensively in this game. I don’t really have an explanation for my feeling, other than their inspired play as of late – but I completely called it. When a team is held to just 10 shots, they really don’t have much of a chance at getting in the game, especially when trailing after one period. And trail Atlanta did – in both goals (1-0 Islanders) and shots (20 for the Islanders and just 4 for Atlanta).
As the game would progress, the shot differential grew even more – 17-2 in the second period for a total of 37 to 6 and and 12-4 in the third for a total of 49 to 10. When I was heading down the runway towards room six (where the post game press conference is held), I heard the PA announcer state that the Islanders had set a new record for shots against – I will refer to Greg Logan’s story for the specifics:
The 10 shots against broke the franchise record of 11 set in Detroit on March 3, 1977; the 39-shot differential also was a franchise record, and the 49 shots represented their second season-high total in three games.
During the press conference, when head coach Ted Nolan was asked what he felt about the shot disparity and what he was most impressed in, he answered
“I think the 10 shots against. When you play an explosive team like Atlanta, to hold them to 10 shots is a great team effort. This was one of our best complete efforts since we’ve been here.”
The defense last night did an outstanding job taking their men wide and not allowing the opposition to generate any pressure on DiPietro – who at times looked extremely bored. On several occasions DiPietro would play the puck unnecessarily – and be called for two delay of game penalties for shooting the puck out of play. Another positive – the great play of the “big guy” line is continuing, Fedotenko had another goal last night – his fifth in five games and 13th on the season. That line cycles very well and gets things done in the dirty areas in front of the net, something that was missing for a large portion of the season. We also saw Bergenheim notch another goal, he made a strong move off the right side end boards and gained the slot for a great shot that beat Lehtonen glove side. Satan had the Islanders first goal off a nifty feed from Park behind the goal line that caught Lehtonen out of position and Bergeron had a point blast on a 5-on-3 power play that was just as beautiful.
There weren’t many negatives about this game and you can’t really count the power play goal the Islanders let in in the waning minutes of the game as a negative because it was one of Atlanta’s only moments of pressure the entire game. It was a great play and not a weak shot in the slightest.
With the Islanders now in 12th place in the east and only 3 points out of a playoff spot – this has to be a time when the front office will have some difficult decisions to make with the trade deadline two weeks away.
To attempt something new, I wanted to add a poll to see what everyone feels that Snow will do now that the team has strung a few wins together. Will he add a few pieces to try to augment the scoring or will he sell off a few pending UFA’s? You be the judge!