Howdy Islanders fans!
As the season slowly winds down here in a post trade deadline manner, our Islanders seem to be slipping deeper and deeper into a hole in several ways. The team has remained somewhat competitive, remaining in games and always having some chance, they just have not been able to finish well – which is something we have seen all season long.
Another area they are slipping, or should I say falling into – is regarding injuries. Last year the Islanders suffered a record breaking amount of man games lost to injury. Thankfully, that little gem earned us John Tavares. While the Islanders do not earn that awful statistical record this season, their health has suddenly become an issue.
Earlier this season it started with the annual loss of Radek Martinek, Rick DiPietro returned, left, and returned – only to leave again. Andrew MacDonald played outstanding, earned a four year extension and then two games later is lost for the remainder of the season with a broken foot. Trent Hunter seemed to be playing better and he is lost for a few weeks with an upper body injury. The one and only Rob Schremp who has earned praise by this blogger as well as others and countless media types was felled to a torn meniscus in his right knee in loss to Philly this week.
Tough break, pardon the pun.
Tonight, the Islanders are set to face off against a rare opponent in the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are hot on the road, with a record of 18-10-4 but they are still out the outside of the playoff picture in the west. They have not played since the weekend so they are rested and likely hungry for those two points.
Scratches for the Islanders: Rick DiPietro, Jeff Tambellini
Roloson (Change of plans apparently) Biron in net for the Isles and Mason in net for the Blues.
7:08pm And we are off, instant pressure off a faceoff win in the Blues zone.
7:10pm Gillies with a nice clean check in the Isles end
7:13pm Gervais and Biron miscommunicate and botch a pass, they both speak French. What’s the problem?
7:21pm What a boring game so far, at least Gillies and Kohn are making things interesting for us in their own end.
7:27pm Biron tested a few times this period, but nothing has really been a great scoring chance. Shot count is 7-3 in favor of the Blues. See how boring the game is?
7:36pm Gervais with a good defensive move along the crease to block a cross ice pass. Biron clamped down the glove because he had a clean look.
7:37pm Islanders power play, need to capitalize here, they are behind on shots.
7:38pm Weight with a nice shot walking into the slot and Mason with an even better glove save.
7:40pm Islanders catch Mason moving, Streit threw it from the point and Moulson with a redirection over Mason’s right shoulder. 1-0 and that is the end of the period.
Well, boring period aside the Islanders turned their man advantage into a goal, they generated pressure and got some extra shots on, but still trail 11-6.
There really wasn’t much momentum, but the Blues found themselves taking the puck to the Islanders net freely and were able to keep it deep. The second period could be anyone’s game, here is to hoping the goal lifts the Islanders and their energy when they emerge from their locker room.
7:58pm Blues carry the puck straight to Biron, where some contact ensues along with a scuffle.
8:03pm Biron makes a stop through traffic and the puck gets stuck in the feet of an Isles d-man, surprisingly they did not redirect it in and instead managed to clear the puck.
8:05pm Penalty on the Islanders, Jackman gets two for hooking.
8:07pm You knew it was coming the way that the Blues have been moving the puck – game all tied up 1-1 off a power play goal.
8:08pm Islanders going on the power play, high sticking
8:13pm Nothing going for the Isles on that man advantage. Nothing.
8:17pm Islanders short handed again, Sim for slashing. Biron makes two saves in the first 20 seconds of the penalty kill.
8:19pm Tripping call on the Blues, even up for a 1:05
8:22pm All penalties over, Nielsen had a glorious chance, Mason out waited him and then blocked the wraparound attempt.
8:27pm Islanders showing more intensity this period, they are shooting more, intercepting more passes and just generating a lot more offense. They clearly have stepped up the forecheck in this period.
8:30pm And with that, Weight is called for boarding – shorthanded. Final minute of the period.
Much better period all around, which is evident in the shot count – 21-17 in favor of the Blues. Score is tied, lots of penalties this period which lead to odd man opportunities per side, strong defensive play by each. Third period is up for grabs, pretty even match up through forty minutes of play.
8:55pm Sorry for the delayed start to the third, I got caught up with some friends. Islanders power play!
8:57pm Weight to Nielsen, denied. Bergenheim with a chance, also denied.
9:01pm Park with a bone headed offensive zone penalty, cross checking.
9:02pm First faceoff of the penalty kill and Gervais is injured. Needed to be helped to the runway to the room. I think he got hit with a shot.
9:12pm Tavares in the box, not happy about it. Decent kill thus far for the Isles, they are keeping them to the outside and allowing Biron to see everything.
9:16pm Good, no GREAT penalty kill late in the third.
9:22pm Late calls against the Isles game after game, why should tonight be any different? Park in the box with 1:40 remaining for high sticking.
And that’s the end of regulation. Islanders have to kill off 20 seconds of a power play going into overtime. Playing for that “loser” point once again tonight.
9:27pm Even strength, defensive zone draw.
9:28pm Draw is lost, by Park. Save Biron. Another draw to Marty’s left by Nielsen this time a win.
9:30pm Islanders power play, Nielsen was boarded. Pretty much the remainder of overtime, well there will be less than 30 seconds of time left after it expires.
I should have known this game was destined for a shootout.
And we are headed into the Skills Competition (as Howie Rose says).
Nielsen – NO GOAL
Oshie – GOAL
Moulson – NO GOAL
Boyes – GOAL