Islanders Skate To First Road Win!
The Prudential Center was as loud as it had been the entire night. The New Jersey Devils just tied the game at 3 with 2 seconds remaining in regulation.
Or did they?
After a league review in Toronto, it was determined that Zach Parise’s skate directed the puck into the net and the goal was overturned.
Two seconds, and some unprintable words said to the referees later, the New York Islanders had their first road win of the year by a score of 3-2.
Michael Grabner had the game winning goal for the Isles shorthanded in the third period. He was able to poke the puck away from Ilya Kovalchuk and snapped it past a surprised Martin Brodeur, who never looked set to save the shot.
The Islanders started the scoring at 11:28 of the 1st period. Matt Moulson scored his seventh goal of the season. Adam Larsson tied the game at 1-1 after P.A Parenteau moments earlier was robbed in close by Brodeur. Josh Bailey gave the islanders a 2-1 advantage with his second goal of the year, both coming on the road. He also committed the only penalty of the period.
Both teams did not convert any power play opportunities.
The Devils were able to tie the game at 2 after a turnover from Mike Mottau, Adam Henrique came in alone against Montoya and slid the puck into the net. After the turnover Mottau didn’t see another shift. Josh Bailey committed a hooking penalty which indirectly lead to Grabner’s game winner.
Ilya Kovalcuk had an assist on Larsson’s goal, but took a very immature penalty with his team down a goal late in the third period for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. He was still upset about a possible high-stick from John Tavares that went unpunished.
Both teams had 26 shots on goal, fortunately for the Islanders their never was a 27th.
The Islanders were the better team in both games and were truly unlucky to only win one. Johan Hedberg was the reason they were unable to score Friday. He was absolutely fantastic positionally and rarely gave up poor rebounds. He is also really strong in the shootout which is why Grabner trying to make a move instead of picking a corner and trying to beat him clean wast truly surprising.
For today’s game, the Ullstrom, Bailey, and Rolston line did a lot of great things. Bailey scored a tremendous goal and was solid on the penalty kill. He does need to stay out of the box, but his game is improving and his confidence is starting to increase. Brian Rolston played with an edge against his former team. He was a +1 and was constantly in the play; he looked like Martin has looked this season, with the exception of the amounts of hits. Martin, on the other hand, is handcuffed playing on a line with a penalty killer specialist Pandolfo and someone playing a physical role with Haley. Martin is at his best when he is flying around getting his hits and playing with a edge. A regression from Martin isn’t worth the 5-7 minutes Haley will play here.
As far as guys that need to play, Montoya needs to be this teams' starting goaltender. He is playing to a 9.30 save percentage and a 2.23 goals against. The team plays with far more confidence in front of Montoya than Dipitero. It’s time to do what’s best for the franchise both short and long term. The Islanders look to have their goal of the present and future in Montoya and he has earned the number one spot.
Another burning question is where is Nino? Apparently he was able to tweet something about his current status.(which the powers that be in the organization have since deleted). He stated something to the effect of not knowing why he isn’t playing right now. Continuing to scratch him will do nothing for his growth. The question I have is would another year in juniors/AHL hurt? He is only 19 years old and dealing with expectations as well as countless 'what if' situations and scenarios. If the NHL is where Nino is supposed to be then he has to play. The pace, skill, emotion of the game is higher then anything he will experience in Juniors. Something needs to happen soon. It’s not fair to the fan base and more importantly to the player. They have already had countless issues in developing talent and they need to stop adding to the list. Is Nino the missing piece? The simple answer is.....I don’t know.
The road trip continues for the Islanders against the Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars. Getting the first win out of the way was crucial early in this trip. Buffalo boasts a strong offensive unit, but goaltending without Miller is inexperienced. Isles fans also get to see what could have been with Christian Ehrhoff. Chicago is a different team in their home building and poses the most difficult game on the trip. Dallas has been a real surprise thus far in a self proclaimed rebuilding season. Kari Lehtonen is finally living up to his second overall pick status in 2002. Another tough game but their defense is suspect at times and opportunities will be there.
Three Stars of the week
- 3. Kyle Okposo- Scored his first two goals of the season against Philadelphia on Wednesday and has shown a real spark since returning to the lineup. It looks as though the wake up call was heard loud and clear.
- 2. Michael Grabner- If he could convert even 30% of the chances he creates, he would lead the league in goals. He had the game winning goal today and 5 solid scoring opportunities. He also looks to have gained some of his 2010-11 speed that has been lacking.
- 1. Al Montoya- It was said earlier but he needs to be the number 1 guy on the Island. Numbers don’t lie and his number dwarf anything DP has put up. If his numbers end at the end of the year around where they are, he will be getting a big pay day, hopefully from the Islanders.
Big set of games coming up! The Checking Line will have everything covered pre and post game and everything in between!