Islanders Caught in the Storm: Blow Lead, Game to Hurricanes 4-2

Following a game in which the New York Islanders failed to protect a third period lead, took unnecessary penalties, could not get their power play going (again) and were not very impressive on defense, there should have been a sense of major disappointment in Islander Country.

Apparently, as long as the loss hurts the Rangers' playoff chances, this is an acceptable outcome. In fact, there are people I know of who were literally rooting for the Carolina Hurricanes tonight and, to be honest, it made me sick to my stomach.

Quite frankly, I don't buy it.

This is merely my opinion, but take it however you wish: If you're a fan of a team, you NEVER root against it. EVER.

If you think that tonight's sellout crowd of 16,000-plus at Nassau Coliseum showed up to watch their team choke, think again.

"But, if the Islanders lose, the Rangers might not make the postseason!"

Mazel Tov.

Even if the Blueshirts do in fact place in the top-eight, that should not be an issue of concern for Isles fans. Our crosstown rivals are likely looking at an early tournament exit and, honestly, if you're worried about the trash talk from fans about how their team made the playoffs and the Islanders didn't, relax.

The way the Isles are progressing, fans will have plenty to respond with, come next season. Rangers fans have been ridiculing the entire rebuilding process from the very beginning and they're in for quite a shock in 2011-2012.

As far as tonight's contest was concerned, this was a good outing that went sour, and fast.

Despite falling behind 1-0 off a goal by Jussi Jokinen, the Isles felt the need to continue the Finish scoring trend, getting on the board via Jesse Joensuu's excellent wrist shot, knotting the game at one-apiece.

John Tavares would tip a shot past Carolina goaltender Cam Ward for his team-leading 64th point of the season, putting the Isles ahead 2-1.

Carolina would score three unanswered goals in the final frame, sinking the Islanders and coming away with the victory.

Al Montoya would make 22 saves, but could not bail out his team. To be fair, two of the third period goals came off deflections and were therefore difficult to read.

Frans Nielsen, who did not dress as a precaution (smart move on the Isles' part), was the recipient of the Bob Nystrom Award for team dedication in 2010-2011. Nystrom presented it to him prior to the start of tonight's match-up.

Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter: @dfriedman_isles

Comments are welcome.