Post-Game Reaction 10.16.14 - Fish Sticks Anyone?

For the first time, in a long time, fish sticks don't sound that bad! And with the revival of the Stan Fischler Fisherman Jersey this past week, it seems only fitting that the Islanders drowned the Sharks in a Shootout spectacular that saw Captain Tavares bait Alex Stay-Lock with multiple hooks, lines and the eventual backhand sinker to seal the victory and keep the Islanders afloat in unbeaten waters.

Okay... Okay... No more puns! This is just such a surreal feeling that I'm sure still hasn't become a reality for most bottom-feeding (I promise last one) Isles fans over the last decade and beyond.

Last night was the first true test of will the Orange and Blue have faced this season as the scoreboards saw the Smurfs barely outlast the on-coming and motivated Hurricanes in a Shootout of their own.

The Isles came out flying, with Grabovski learning early that Stalock is a pretty darn solid goaltender along the ice, as he flashed a right pad save on the speedy center-turned winger during an early first period breakaway. 13 more shots and a few dandy saves by the opposing netminder capped off a seemingly dominant first period for our boys in the (sexy) stadium series sweaters. The defense was poised, letting very few opportunities towards Halak, who saw a few fluky goals sneak by him in the second period. One a virtual 5-4 as Tavares went down from a stinger to the foot, the other a screen shot from the point off a broken stick faceoff.

Down 2-1 going into the 3rd period, there was no buckle. The ensuing goals were almost poetic, as Bailey missed a near perfect opportunity in front of the net (deflecting the puck off Marco Mueller and over Stalock), only to soon after draw a penalty on Brent Burns as he was practicing his best reverse softball pitch of the puck out of play. Kyle okposo received a beautifully simple pass in the slot from the simpleton Frans Nielsen and buried it in the back of the net after missing a few glorious opportunities in the first including a post. 101 probably felt just as good as 100 for Kyle.

Then Bailey followed up his strong forechecking and defensive responsibilties (did I just say that?) with a sniper's goal on a turn around shot from the faceoff dot. I don'tlike making excuses for players, but Bailey has really stepped his game up the last few outings and earned his spot on that tenacious third line along side Nielsen and Nikolay "The Body" Kulemin.

Hertl the Turtle snuck on farside high on Halak, who probably asked his teammates to let him redeem his save percentage towards the end of the game, as he stood on his head for 2 or 3 minutes as the Sharks tasted the blood in the water and put the Slovak netminder to the test.

After a back and forth OT, we moved on to the shootout. Thankfully we aren't NJ, and have had some success. Halak did his part, turning away 4 of 5 including some heavy hitters in Pavelski, Hertl, Burns and Jumbo Joe. After Frans sent his Backhander of Judgement sky high, KO decided to come in the clutch once more, picking the corner he wanted all game long.

Then came the Captain. "O Captain, my Captain!!!" JT took a stride in and while he seemed to have lost a step at first with the puck skipping, he slowed the game down and pulled about 16,234 moves before finally deciding to backhand the biscuit into the basket.

It's a beautiful sight to fall asleep with your team atop the league standings and your Captain in sole first place on the leaderboards. It will be even better to see how the handle the pressure of their first possible 5-0 start versus the Penguins on Saturday Night!

As always you can catch me on Twitter, ranting, raving and having a good ole time with #Islesnation by following @PrayIslesBattle

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