Hockey players are creatures of habit, especially goaltenders (which I am not) – so why not keep the witty post titles going? Yes, I know this post game recap is very, very post game. Truth be told, I felt horrible when I got home (flu anyone….) and was toying with this new laptop I bought myself today. It seems Windows Vista doesn’t really like wireless connections – took me a few hours of Windows updates in order to get a stable connection, but here I am. Regardless, that doesn’t concern you, eh? Onto the nitty gritty!
What a game last night! I sat through two periods of absolute garbage hockey, my assessment wasn’t really, the sole opinion, on those two periods either. I saw sloppy hockey for the first time in three games, there were lazy plays, poor passes and general – blech! I felt the Islanders were REALLY lucky to escape the first period in a scoreless tie, there were entirely too many penalties and the Isles didn’t capitalize on any of their chances because they simply didn’t generate enough. The Sharks were keeping the play in the Isles zone for a better part of those two periods as well. At one point of the first, Bergenheim appeared to have scored, but it was later waved off after determining that the Sharks had gained possession on a delayed penalty. Bergy was then cross checked and the Islanders were handed a 5-on-3 powerplay for a full two minutes – I referenced not seizing opportunity earlier, count that two man advantage as a wasted opportunity.
Early in the second period, the Sharks went up 1-0 and I felt the Isles were still in it but once Thornton made it 2-0 – all bets were off. Richard Park had a great chance at the doorstep, but would be stoned by Nabokov. Not 5 minutes later, Radek Martinek unleashed a howitzer (which he should utilize more often) that literally broke Nabokov’s mask and caused him to temporarily leave the game for repairs. The Islanders could not capitalize on this development either, having only 2 or 3 shots on an untested, cold goaltender. Nabokov would return in the third period after being stitched up, and would allow goals on the first two shots he would face. Andy Hilbert would sweep away the garbage and deposit a Bill Guerin rebound to make it 2-1 and 59 seconds later Mike Comrie would tie the game with this dazzling move:
I commented over on James Mirtle’s blog (as he posted the video with some commentary) on how Comrie may either continue to try his toe-drag move more now that he had some success, or he may even calm it down – who knows?
The hilarity wouldn’t end there – Freddy Meyer would make it 3-2 on a blast from the blueline that beat Nabokov glove side. Meyer would give the fans in attendance more than just a lead to cheer about, he secured free Wendys chili for everyone in attendance for the second home game in a row! The defense clamped down and kept the Sharks at bay (no pun intended there) and for the remainer of the period reversed their style of play to keep the lead. Blake Comeau would be boarded by Sharks d-man Murray around the 6 minute mark of the period and would draw a 5 minute major and a 10 minute game misconduct. The Islanders had a 5 minute power play, but you could tell they didn’t want to risk allowing the game to be tied. Eventually, the Sharks would pull Nabokov and the puck would nearly get past DiPietro had it not been for a lucky bounce and the post. On the very same play, Andy Sutton would take Jeremy Roenick into the boards and need to be helped off the ice – another blow to an already depleted offense.
In the end, the Islanders held onto the lead and won their fourth straight game and have now gotten points in their last 5 – a season high. However, this win hurt – literally. There are rumors running rampant tonight that the Islanders and Leafs are in discussions to bring back Islanders alumni Bryan McCabe – however details are sketchy so we will see how that turns out.