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Hockey is back!

Even though it never really went anywhere, it sort of shifted into full on Olympic mode/mania!

Not much has changed here in Islanders country, unless you consider Mark Streit coming home medal-less, head coach Scott Gordon returning with a silver medal in tow for assistant-coaching Team USA to second place in the round robin, the trade today of Andy Sutton to the Ottawa Senators for a second round selection in 2010 and two minor league trades – something…. Oh, lest I forget the re-re-re-shutdown of DiPietro. Time frame, unknown.

In any case, Sutton – thanks for everything you have done here on Long Island. I hope your stay up in Ottawa is only temporary and we will see you retake your office at the near blue line pounding opposing player to oblivion as always – back HERE on Long Island come 2010/11.

And before I forget, congratulations goes out to Team USA for winning Silver this past weekend in Vancouver!

Moving on, Dustin Kohn has been recalled from Bridgeport to take the place of Andy Sutton (I hope he realizes the size of the shoes he has to fill here on out). Jack Hillen may be making his return tonight, Roloson and Biron are back as your goalie tandem with DiPietro’s shutdown.

Scratches: Sean Bergenheim, Jeff Tambellini and Rick DiPietro

Islanders are only six points out of a playoff spot and are looking to make up some lost ground. This should be an interesting night for sure.

Curious about the Bergenheim scratch, does that mean his days as a New York Islander are near an end? One never knows this time of year.

First Period

7:10pm Islanders lose the opening draw, Hawks came in and got the first shot on goal right off the draw pretty much.
7:12pm Roloson looks strong early, making a stick save low after a flurry in front. Islanders have not shown much life, this is all Hawks so far – 5 shots already for them.
7:15pm Jack Hillen out on this shift with a full cage, had a scoring chance. That whole sequence is a testament to his toughness.
7:17pm Doug Weight engaged in a lengthy discussion with one of the referee’s – likely about off ice stuff, just my guess.
7:25pm Dangerous situation for Roloson, Byfuglien’s skate came up towards his head as he crashed into the crease. Luckily, nothing came out of it.
7:27pm Roloson makes a glove save but the puck squirted back out at a sharp angle and onto Campbell’s stick – 1-0 Hawks.
7:30pm Despite being out shot by a wide margin, Hawks turnover leads to a Comeau goal 1-1
7:31pm And now the Islanders are shorthanded, Park to the box for a judo-chop to a stick, slashing.
7:33pm Comeau’s 10th of the season, assisted by Schremp, that’s three straight games with a goal for him.
7:34pm Hawks convert on the gift wrapped power play. You feel shame Richard Park.
7:36pm Shot count: 21-5 in favor of Chicago
7:42pm Final minute of the period.

Well, that went as well as we could’ve hoped I suppose. The lack of Sutton is clearly evident as the Blackhawks are just going to the crease every single time they can. They have also gotten just about every shot through, perhaps the move was miscalculated some – especially given Garth’s comment today stating they still plan on making a playoff push.

The Islanders are being outplayed in every facet, which could partly be caused by the long layoff….but more so because the Hawks are a much better club. Shot count after one period is 22-9. The Islanders started to come back later in the first, but if they want to save face and earn those points they need a much better effort in the second. That’s kind of obvious though, you don’t need me to tell you that much.

Second Period

8:01pm And we are underway.
8:04pm Comeau ties it up with his second of the game and it’s aallllll tied.
8:05pm And now it’s 3-2 Islanders…
8:06pm Hawks just yanked Niemi and put in Huet.
8:07pm Comeau from Schremp and Streit on the 2nd goal.
8:08pm Third Islanders goal belongs to Jon Sim from Park and Kohn.
8:11pm Park streaks down the near boards and fires a laser that beats Huet to make it 4-2. Assists go to Moulson and MacDonald.
8:17pm It’s important to note here (I am dizzy with the way this game has gone this period, I digress) – This is Comeau’s second consecutive two goal game and he has 5 goals in three.
8:21pm The game has slowed down a pace here, I wouldn’t expect the scoring to continue at the pace that it has. Shots are 26-17 Hawks.
8:23pm Islanders are going to be a man down, Park off for tripping.
8:27pm Great penalty kill by the Islanders, at the heart of it all – Comeau and Okposo
8:28pm Sometimes I think these Islanders players THINK and even BELIEVE they are better players then they really are, they make passes that shouldn’t be made and think it will work. Keep it simple, stupid.
8:34pm Final minute of the period
8:37pm Comeau completes his FIRST CAREER HAT TRICK to make it 5-2. Delay of game here as the staff cleans up all the hats and giveaway thrown on to the ice. 6 goals in 3 games now for Comeau! He is on FIRE! Assists go to Streit and MacDonald.

Wow. What a period.

Bit of trivia, when was the last Isles four goal period? I sure don’t know.

That was just about as good of a period (offensively) as I have seen all season long. Defensively I would hope they come out sharp as a tack in the third and really prevent any last bit of momentum that the Hawks can muster. A three goal cushion is big going into the final twenty, but it’s not enough for them to sit back and play it safe against the likes of Kane and Toews.

Blake Comeau 3, Islanders 2 – Hawks 2

Shot count, Hawks 30 – Isles 10

This should be fun.

Third Period

8:58pm Islanders won the opening draw cleanly.
9:00pm Scoring change on the Islanders fourth goal – second assist changed to Weight.
9:00pm Roloson just made a HUGE stop. Jackman with a scoring chance right after.
9:04pm Blackhawks were putting on a clinic for the Isles, had them pinned in the zone without being able to clear the puck for about two minutes with a constant cycle – Roloson was forced to make a few stops.
9:05pm Okposo drives to the net with a power move and makes an attempt to go around Huet, Tavares crashed the net for the rebound that was covered quickly.
9:08pm Roloson is making save after save and getting very lucky in the process – Hossa snapped a stick on a beauty of a scoring chance.
9:10pm Blackhawks thought they scored, it was waved off due to goaltender interference. Another lucky break, look for the Hawks to pressure even more now that they have weakened the Isles perimeter….so to speak.
9:15pm Roloson just stopped Hossa at the doorstep – he is playing outstanding tonight.
9:23pm Islanders are going to be shorthanded for half of the remaining 4:39 here in the third – Okposo is in the box for holding.
9:25pm Just like that, Hawks score on the power play just like they did on the last one – on a play generated from behind the Islanders net that caught Rolloson out of position.
9:28pm Shot count now Hawks 41 – Isles 23
9:32pm Huet was pulled for the empty net, Hunter had a layup and hit the post.
9:33pm Huet back in net for the second time as the draw was deep in Chicago’s zone.

Islanders win 5-2, this game represents what the Islanders need to do here through the stretch – hard work and timely goal scoring from everywhere. It was a well deserved two points, great game.

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