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Good evening everyone, happy happy Monday!

Checking in live from the top of Section 201 at the Coliseum from the Blog Box where we will once again be live blogging the game.

Tonight’s game features the Florida Panthers who are tied in points (31) with the Islanders, but have one more loss which would give the Islanders a tie breaker should the season end tonight.

This is another important contest for the Islanders, as the Eastern Conference is log jammed with team struggling for wins and points. The Islanders are nestled right in the thick of things, currently sitting in 9th place but can finish the night off in 8th with a win.

Your Islanders scratches, Jeff Tambellini, Sean Bergenheim and Andrew MacDonald. Andy Sutton and Jack Hillen are both back in action for the Isles tonight.

For a preview of the game, as always head on over to the Islanders website.

First Period

7:09pm Islanders win the opening draw, Florida pushes it into the Isles zone and they generate some pressure low and move goal line out.
7:11pm Islanders had the puck in the Panthers zone for a clip, generated a shot and then the Panthers took it back down to Roloson. Brendan Witt made a bad play behind the net and gave it right to their point man which forced Roloson to make a stop. One of the many reasons that Witt is -19.
7:15pm Not much going either way here, the Islanders still only have one shot registered, yet somehow the Panthers have managed 4.
7:17pm Big Andy Sutton just made his presence felt early, lining up a Florida player for a big hit, although whomever it was sidestepped most of it.
7:21pm Brendan Witt continues his atrocious play in his own zone, giving up the puck twice and getting bailed out by a hand pass.
7:24pm Islanders missing the net just about every time they get into the zone. We are discussing Okposo’s overuse of his one stickhandling deke and how he should just SHOOT the puck. Right?
7:28pm Sutton just showed Rostislav Olesz how to throw the body in the NHL – he put him down hard at center ice.
7:32pm Islanders finally coming alive here with sustained pressure deep in the Panthers zone. Shots now 6-5 Panthers.
7:33pm As I say that Mark Streit turns the puck over at the blueline and gifts a breakaway to Michal Repik and the Cats take a 1-0 lead.
7:39pm Islanders are trying way too hard, they are utilizing stretch passes in their breakout, which isn’t working in their favor.
7:40pm Stretch passes = no skating and no speed.

And that is the end of the period, thank god.

The Panthers completely owned the Islanders in that period, they out skated, out hustled, out shot, out scored and just out worked the Islanders. The Isles were using stretch passes to try to jump out past the Panthers in the neutral zone and once in their zone were shooting from low percentage areas. Like always, if the Islanders play THEIR style of game they can beat anyone and that holds true tonight also. Hopefully Scott Gordon gives them all an earful and we see them come out with some jump for the second frame.

Second Period

8:00pm Second period starts like the first, with the Panthers winning the opening draw. They promptly iced the puck and the draw is deep in the offensive zone.
8:03pm Okposo dishes to Witt two times in the offensive zone, which in and of itself is offensive – I digress, he did his job and what Gordon wants by putting it on the net and leaving a big juicy rebound for Nielsen.
8:06pm On a seemingly innocent shot, Horton squeezed one past Roloson. Panthers lead 2-0
8:08pm Maybe Jesse Joensuu will talk to me tonight about his goals and his goal – as he scored off a nice pass from Hunter and Shremp.
8:11pm With that assist, Shremp now has points in three straight games. Can the end of the Jeff Tambellini era be nigh?
8:15pm A rarity tonight, the Islanders have iced the puck. Josh Bailey gave chase, but came up a step or two short.
8:21pm I am loving this Hunter, Shremp, Joensuu line. They are working hard and making the little things happen in the oh-zone.
8:22pm Panthers are going to be down a man, possibly for four minutes. Let’s see. Nope, Allen two for a crosscheck. Islanders power play.
8:24pm Streit’s second turnover of the game and his second gift breakaway – this time shorthanded. 3-1 Panthers.
8:32pm So far the only bright spot is the play of Trent Hunter, Rob Shremp and Jesse Joensuu.
8:33pm Shremp emphatically calling for the puck in the slot, oozing confidence takes a slapshot that gets deflected out of play. I am growing into a big Shremp fan with his solid play as of late.

And that is the end of the second period.

In some ways this period was a vast improvement, in others much, much worse. All of a sudden the Islanders have been victimized with turnovers and the Panthers have capitalized twice. Rob Shremp and Jesse Joensuu continue to impress though, so it numbs the pain of the rest of the teams bad play. Let’s see what happens in the third period.

Third Period

8:54pm Well, the Islanders lost the opening draw and the Panthers march in and score a seemingly easy tick-tac-toe fourth goal taking the Islanders completely out of the game for the duration. Not a way to come out strong guys.
8:56pm And….now it’s 5-1 a mere 42 seconds later.
8:57pm Martin Biron now in net for the Islanders
9:05pm Comeau and Sim with penalties on the same play – 6-1 Panthers and the Isles are still down a man.
9:06pm I am debating not even going downstairs tonight.
9:15pm Islanders power play – YAY
9:18pm Isles did nothing on the power play, maybe one shot – now they are shorthanded – Hunter for hooking

Heading down stairs to see the fireworks. Final score 7-1

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