Islanders Tame The Wild


Al Montoya made 20 saves in his second consecutive start over incumbent Rick DiPietro and the Islanders made two first-period goals stick in a gritty 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
The Islanders created a lot of scoring chances in the first period, something that eluded them in their 2-0 season opening loss to the Florida Panthers Saturday Night.
Defensemen Andrew MacDonald tallied New York’s first goal of the 2011-12 season, on the power-play. Travis Hamonic let a booming shot go from the slot that rebounded off  Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom’s pads, MacDonald pounced on the rebound and blasted a shot that caromed of the left post and into the net.
The Islanders capitalized again nearly three minutes later on a hustle play by P.A Parenteau, as he was able to keep the puck deep in the wild zone. The puck ended up on Mark Streit’s stick. He faked a shot from the left circle and found a streaking Frans Nielsen who re-directed the puck over an outstretched Backstrom to double the Islanders lead to 2-0 at 11:45 of the first period.
The Islanders maintained a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. The Wild had two power plays in the first six minutes but were unable to muster any shots on the man advantage.
The Wild, outshot 10-2 in the first period and looking sluggish throughout, were the aggressors in the second period outshooting the Islanders 10-2 and holding most of the play in New York’s end. The Wild had a late 5 on 3 power play but Dany Heatley was stymied by Montoya on a wrap-around attempt in close to preserve the lead through two.
Montoya’s shutout bid was ended by Matt Cullen 1:13 into the third period on a wrist shot into the upper left corner, it was Cullen’s second goal in two games. The Wild continued to press, double shifting their top line of Healey, Mikko Koivu and Devin Setoguchi in search of a tying goal. A last ditch effort was made when Minnesota pulled Backstrom for an extra attacker with 1:30 left. The Islanders buckled down defensively and were able to hold off the Wild despite being outshot 19-5 in the final two periods.
News and Notes:
Travis Hamonic led the team in TOI(time on ice) with 23:16. Parenteau had the secondary assist on both Islanders goal. For the second straight year the Islanders held the Wild to only one goal on their home ice. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, served the first of his two game suspension for high-sticking Columbus Blue Jackets Matt Calvert in their season opener. The Islanders were outshot 21-14.  Attendance for the matinee was 11,278.
My Thoughts:
Great first 20 minutes, the Islanders controlled every aspect of the game and looked the hungrier, better club. The last 40 minutes they reverted into their Saturday shell. Al Montoya had another solid game in ‘net. He was able to control his rebounds and is looking more and more like a #1 every game he plays. I can single out a defensemen today. All six of them were fantastic. The Heatley line is a talented bunch and the d-men kept them off the scoresheet for 60 minutes. Tampa Bay is next on the schedule and they bring in an offensive juggernaut led by Martin St.Louis and Steven Stamkos. It will also be a homecoming for Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson who will make his first appearance back on the Island since being traded for Defensemen Ty Wishart. Tampa Bay will be a litmus test to see how the team competes against a top tier club. We will have the all the action, pre and post game, on Thursday.
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Rob McGowan's picture

The first twenty was the best play from the Isles for the game. They have to find a way to get more offensive output for a full 60 minutes. A total of 14 shots is horrible, and it's not encouraging after seeing how they struggled to get shots and offense in the first game as well. It's time for the Isles to dig deep and get ready for a serious opponent in the Tampa Bay Lightning. And on a side note, I hope Jack Capuano continues to go with Al Montoya.