Mile High Meltdown - Avalanche Roll Past Islanders In Overtime

For 38 minutes, you had a glimpse of what could be for the New York Islanders.

 

Josh Bailey, Brian Rolston, and Michael Grabner all had goals. The Isles were up 3-0 and cruising to an easy two points.

 

A 5 on 3 advantage, and power play goal for the Colorado Avalanche later.. Game on.

 

The Avalanche erased a three goal second period deficit and stunned the Isles’ 4-3 in overtime Thursday night.

 

Paul Stastny got the Avalanche off the snide scoring a power play goal with 21 seconds left in the second period to cut the deficit to 3-1. Milan Hejduk brought his team to within a goal 6:07 into the third. Colorado continued to pressure and were rewarded when defensemen Jan Hejda completed the comeback with a slap shot from the point that took a slight deflection off of Isles defensemen Mike Mottau’s stick and squeezed past Al Montoya’s (47 Saves) left shoulder to tie the game at 3.

 

The Avalanche were constantly in front of Montoya trying to find any lose pucks. Daniel Winnik was overzealous in his pursuit of the puck and ran into Montoya, netting the Islanders a crucial power play with under two minutes left in regulation. The Islanders pressed hard for a winner, and Grabner nearly scored with under a second left, but his last ditch effort was stopped by J.S Geiger (30 Saves) and both teams earned a point.

 

The Avalanche were the hungrier team in the overtime session and were given a huge opportunity when Montoya ‘raised’ his stick and came into contact with David Jones. The refs called a high stick penalty and gave the Avalanche a 4-on-3 advantage in overtime. After Montoya made two great saves on Hedjuk, Kyle Quincey took a shot from the point that beat Montoya and the Avalanche stole the victory from the jaws of sure defeat.

 

Bailey got the Islanders going in the first on the power play tapping in a Mark Streit slap pass special for his first goal of the 2011-12 campaign. Brian Rolston scored 34 seconds into the second period on a twisted wrist shot that beat Giguere clean. Matt Martin saucered a pass to Grabner 7:26 later and gave the Islanders a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead.

 

Montoya got his first start since starting against the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road. He had a season high 47 saves, many of them fantastic. 

 

Madonia Minute

 

I had to re-write my entire piece after watching the last 25 minutes of the game.

 

For 38 minutes, I saw a playoff team on the ice. The last 25, I saw a tired lottery team that allowed an absolutely terrible team to take the game from them.

 

You can’t allow those kind of teams to think they have any chance of winning. They let the foot off the accelerator, and when  the Avalanche passed them, they couldn’t back up to speed. If you let up for even a second in this league, you will get hurt. The scoreboard was the most painful thing about tonight.

 

People will say the altitude was an issue. They are professional athletes, not 300 pound Monday-Morning Quarterbacks. The lacked a killer instinct;  the game was the Islander’s to lose.. did they ever.

 

Al Montoya looked solid in goal but he needs to control easy rebounds on shots from the point. The first goal is avoided if he controls the puck on a harmless slap shot from the point. The team definitely plays with more confidence in front of him then Ricky. Al should be in goal Sunday against an explosive Vancouver team that has struggled out of the gates.

 

Josh Bailey got the 900 pound monkey off his back scoring his first goal of the year. He had his best game of the season tonight. His forecheck and puck possession were superb and he created scoring opportunities for his line mates. He will be hamstrung offensively playing with defensive minded players like Jay Pandolfo, but if he brings the same emotion to each game, the results will be positive.

 

A concern for the Islanders is toughness. In recent games, opponents have taken liberties against our top players and tonight our goaltender. The game was decided on a high stick against the goaltender... in overtime! You play 4-on-4 in overtime, why is David Jones even near Montoya at that point in the game. Teams have realized that the Islanders are highly skilled but not a physical unit. All Montoya is looking to do is keep people away from his crease. It might be time for Michael Haley to return to the big club. Matt Martin has become too important to this team to sit in the penalty box for 17 minutes a game. Haley gives you an offensive spark in spurts and a bonafide enforcer. He is not a liablity on the ice like Trevor Gillies is and can fill a similar role. Seeing opponents taking free runs at our goalies and top forwards is frustrating. If i have to see Steve Staios attempt to fight again...

 

It’s disheartening having two games this season decided by the officials. The San Jose game hurts more because of how good a game the team played. Tonight hurts because the Avalanche gave up during the second period. For almost two minutes the Islanders controlled the puck in the Avalanche zone, even strength! There was no atmosphere in the building and everything was looking up. NHL teams score 5-on-3 and 4-on-3 in overtime; staying out of the box is paramount for this team. 

 

Sunday night will be a stern test for the Islanders. Vancouver fans and a media as a whole have zero respect for us. This is an easy two points for them and we should just roll over. The Islanders play the Canucks tough in Vancouver and I expect nothing less from them Sunday. This loss will sting for a while, but Sunday can go a long way to putting the result in the past.

 

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