Pardon the pun, but boy did the Islanders really Capital-ize last night! Another win and more importantly another comeback marked the Islanders fifth consecutive win and 6th consecutive game in which the Islanders gained points. Granted, the game didn’t start out as anyone would have hoped, but the team was really holding their own from the first face off. The cycle was good, puck support was good – defense, OUTSTANDING! I don’t think there was a single Islanders fan who wasn’t praising the play of Radek Martinek and Freddy Meyer last night. The pair kept Alexandre the Great off the board, even though he had several great chances. Speaking of great play, how about Rick DiPietro? Ricky was flat out standing on his head at times last night. Blistering shot by Kozlov, no problem. Dangling Semin – piece of cake! Ovechkin doing his best Jordan impression – not a chance! Whatever the Capitals threw at the net after their two goals, it didn’t matter – DiPietro or the goal posts and crossbar kept out of the net.
The goals for the Islanders were timely – after allowing Washington to score twice in the first period, the team came out fired up in the second. As Bill Guerin was exiting the penalty box at just over 10 minutes remaining – he was fed cutting through the neutral zone and found himself in a one on one battle with a Caps defender. He broke in on Kolzig and got a shot off, got his own rebound (gloving it down mind you) and found Satan streaking to the net. Kolzig was playing a second Guerin shot (as was the defense) and Satan deposited the puck backhand, top shelf. The strong play would benefit the Islanders the remainder of the second and continue into the third. More strong play would keep the Isles in the offensive zone throughout the third and eventually big Josef Vasicek would fire a sharp angle shot off Kolzig and into the net to tie the game at two! Sometimes, I always say you never know what will happen when you just throw it at the net – and this is exactly why. Luck and skill go hand in hand sometimes!
The Islanders would keep the game tied and get through overtime despite several chances by Washington to get the extra point. Into the shootout – Kozlov, Ovechkin and Semin would be denied by DiPietro as would Park, Satan by Kolzig. Mike Comrie would beat Kolzig between the pads on a nifty move to secure the victory for the Islanders. It was the perfect ending for what was a great game all around by the Islanders.
The win moved the Islanders into sole posession of 10th place in the eastern conference and would move them ONE POINT behind three teams tied with 66 points:
6. Rangers 68 pts
7. Boston 66 pts
8. Philadelphia 66 pts
9. Buffalo 66 pts
10. Islanders 65 pts
It would also bring them within one point of 4th place in the Atlantic division – so a win tonight against the basement dwelling (albeit talented and still dangerous) Tampa Bay Lightning would be HUGE!
Simon in for Tambellini
Tonight’s game also marks the end of Chris Simon’s record breaking 30-game suspension and he will be substituted into the lineup for Jeff Tambellini. Greg Logan had a great blog entry today with some interesting quotes.
Ted Nolan on why he chose to dress Simon tonight and if he feels it will alter the team chemistry:
“I’m not one of those superstitious guys that says, ‘Hey, we’ve got to keep the same lineup,’” Nolan said. “We want to make sure we have the best lineup on the ice on a given night.” Explaining his decision-making process, Nolan said, “. There would be a factor of someone not playing as well as we think and putting Chris back into that position to upgrade it.”
Hopefully for Nolan, Simon returning keeps players who keep taking liberties with players like Comeau from continuing the practice and doesn’t distract the team too much. If Simon plays well – he deserves to be in the lineup, I know there are a mess load of opinions on this matter and will touch on them later in the week.
As far as the rest of the team, they need to continue doing exactly what they have been doing in order to keep this winning trend alive. So far, it has been working and working well. All recent signs point to Garth Snow being more of a buyer than a seller as was originally projected due to this streak, so it should make the time between now and Tuesday’s trade deadline even more interesting. In my opinion, that’s fine – as I will be at the Coliseum ALL DAY Tuesday keeping you guys abreast to all the latest trade news and rumblings as it happens.
Lastly, I am on my way out the door – I can’t attend the game tonight because I had a forgotten we had tickets to Linkin Park at the Garden tonight. Should be a great show as always, I wont even be the only blogger there – Dan who runs the New York Rangers blog Pucks on Broadway will also be there (our significant others work together) so at least there will be SOME hockey talk!
Also, thanks to The View from Section 317 for the hilarious picture of Simon – if I remember correctly, it was from the Sports Illustrated article he was featured in right before his second major suspension in two seasons. Really bad timing by S.I. and Si.