Islanders finally feel at home
On Wednesday night the New York Islanders returned home from a seven game road trip that spanned out over thirteen days. The road trip had it's ups and downs for the "Isles" but they returned home with a mission accomplished. Scott Gordon wanted to have the club return home at or above .500 from the trip, and the team did just that returning 3-2-2.
The first game back was a game that seemed to have a bit of fatigue catch up with the team as they went from playing two very solid periods of hockey to disappearing in the third period. It's been stated time and time again that the team needs to complete a sixty minute game, and on Wednesday against the Flyers they failed to do such. Martin Biron was great between the pipes for the Isles. His cross ice competition, Brian Boucher of the Philadelphia Flyers, was just a tad better.
The "battle of the back-ups" game against the Flyers was a game that the Islanders should of been the team that came out on top with two points. Unfortunately, Scott Hartnell found a puck in front of Martin Biron at 14:33 of the third, which was the icing on the cake for this game. The Islanders came out flat in the third, and with the game tied at 1, this was a recipe for doom. In a game that the Flyers had no business winning, they did 2-1. Brian Boucher made sure to steal the victory, almost all on his own, and let down the home crowd.
After an eventful first period, it looked as if the Islanders were going to dominate. Martin Biron and the Isles were on fire right from the start. Trent Hunter put a John Tavares pass into the back of the net at 8:05 of the 1st on a powerplay courtesy of Scott Hartnell's poor judgment leading to a roughing penalty.
Brian Boucher was the story for the Flyers from that point forward as the Islanders were unable to get anything past him the rest of the night. Martin Biron turned aside twenty-six shots and had control of the puck most of the game until the last minute of the second period where Mike Richards was able to beat him on a Claude Giroux pass across the slot for a power play goal to tie the game at 1.
This was the momentum that the Isles could not give up. It carried into the thrid period and the rest is history.
We jump ahead to today's tilt against the defending Staney Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguings.
Although the Isles came out the way they did against Philadelphia, it was a tough battle for the two points today as they found a way to defeat the Penguins 3-2 in their first come from behind win of the season.
Josh Bailey opened the scoring at 9:05 of the first period. Although the Islanders out-shot the Penguins 9-7, the Penguins were able to tie the game up late in the period thanks to an Evgeni Malkin goal.
Matt Cooke was the lone goal scorer in the second. The Islanders were called for back to back penalties during the period, and again this season were able to shut down the offense and kill off the 5 on 3. This kept the game close as the Penguins took a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Down a goal heading into the third period, the Islanders were able to find a way to out score the Penguins. Sean Bergenheim tied the game at 2 early in the third period, giving the Islanders the momentum that would carry them through the period. At 13:48 of the thrid period, calder trophy candidate and rookie phenom John Tavares gave the Isles the lead, which was all that was needed to take down the Penguins.
Sidney Crosby was held scoreless and was a minus-2 rating on the day.
Dwayne Roloson finished the day with 19 saves on 21 shots, but was key when he needed to be. Aside from Tavares, he has been quite the story this season for the Islanders. Garth Snow, currently, looks like a very intellegent individual with this free agent signing. If the Islanders continue to make a push for the playoffs, one of the main reasons is Roloson.
The home crowd was pleased, as the home team was able to come back and take down the defending cup champs.
Andy Sutton will be sideline with an injury and the Islanders re-called Andrew MacDonald from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers immediately after the completion of today's game. MacDonal will fill in again this year, and has not played bad at all.
Rick DiPietro (no timeline for a return) is practicing with the team. A conditioning stint in the AHL with Bridgeport is on the horizon, but there is no timetable as to when anything other then practices will commence for Rick.