One, Two, Three, Triple Deke - Ducks 4 Isles 2
The Ducks top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan had a coming out party Friday Night.
Unfortunately, it was at the New York Islanders expense.
Bobby Ryan had two goals and Ryan Getzlaf scored the go-ahead goal, his first in over a month, as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Islanders 4-2.
Ryan started the scoring at 14:18 of the second period only seconds after their first power play of the game ended. Matt Martin answered back under two minutes later tapping home a rebound to tie the game at one. It was his fifth goal of the season, tying his career high.
Kyle Okposo gave the Islanders a short-lived 2-1 lead early in the third period knocking home a rebound off a John Tavares shot. It was his sixth goal of the season and added to his four game point scoring streak.
It all went downhill from here.
Ryan took advantage of some poor power-play execution by the Islanders, as he fought off Andrew MacDonald before sliding the puck past Evgeni Nabokov to tie the game at 2. It was his second career short-handed goal and more importantly his second goal of the game. Corey Perry had the primary assist on the goal - it was his 400th career NHL point.
Three minutes later, Getzlaf took advantage of a miscommunication between Josh Bailey and Milan Jurcina and backhanded a shot over the right shoulder of a prone Nabokov to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead. It was only his third goal in his past 30 games.
Teemu Selanne pushed the lead to 4-2 at 17:06 scoring his 12th goal of the season.
Jonas Hiller made 19 saves, none of the them better then his stick save off a P.A Parenteau shot during a third period Islanders power-play. A possible turning point as the Islanders instead of leading 3-1 within a minute were tied 2-2.
Evgeni Nabokov made his seventh consecutive start in goal. He made 16 saves in the losing effort and is still two wins shy of 300 in his career.
The Islanders out shot Anaheim 21-20 and 8-3 in a scoreless first period.
Anaheim improves to 11-22-6, good for 14th place in the Western Conference. The Isles are now 14-18-6 and once again occupy the cellar in the Eastern Conference.
The playoffs for this team is a pipe dream, but a realistic one going into tonight’s game against District 5. The Isles were coming in on a three game winning streak playing a team that had their General Manager state that 95 percent of the team could be on the market. How Bobby Ryan is even a thought in their minds to be traded escapes me. He took a disinterested team on his back tonight and willed them to a win against a team pushing hard to get to .500.
The Isles tend to play down to the level of their competition and it cannot happen when you are chasing your entire Conference to possibly play some relevant games down the stretch. They were extremely lucky to steal two points against a woeful Hurricanes team the game prior and had a 2-1 lead in the third period against a dysfunctional team with really no identity.
You cannot play with the intensity of an All-Star game in a 2-1 game and expect to win at this level. The Ducks are still being paid and are professionals having a terrible season. Allowing Getzlaf and Ryan to basically have tea and crumpets in front of your goaltender is something that makes all the work of the past three games dissipate. You could also say it was unlucky that Parenteau didn’t score on the empty net in the third period when Hiller plucked his shot out of mid air with his stick. You can’t control bad breaks, but you can control allowing players to have carte blanche in front of your goaltender in the third period.
A tough break, full pun intended, for Marty Reasoner. He broke his right thumb and his Rocket Richard trophy bid will have to wait for 2012-13. I’m not in the organization and I don’t have the full scoop, but how they let Zenon Konopka walk to sign Reasoner is truly mind numbing. Konopka leads the league in penalties as per normal but he has been great up in Ottawa, a team very similar talent wise to the Isles and has helped them be one of the huge surprises in the league. I’m not advocating that a fourth line center would have made that much of a difference, but team first gel guys are difficult to find and he was one of them.
Matt Martin continues to impress game in game out. He has found a niche on the Isles and is truly deserving of the accolades he has been receiving. He tied his career high in goals tonight with five and recently has been drawing a lot of penalties from the other teams' enforcers. His work on the penalty kill alongside Josh Bailey has been fantastic. He is a piece to this puzzle going forward.
Evgeni Nabokov looked tired in the third period tonight. He has played great hockey during this stretch and unfortunately wasn’t really helped out by his team in the third period.The fourth goal that sealed the game for the Ducks he would have likely saved on another night. Anders Nilsson would be a good change of pace tomorrow in Phoenix against a truly average Coyotes club.
Tonight’s loss has the Isles at 14-18-6 through 38 games. A win in Phoenix would make it a winning road trip before coming home to four straight home games against strong oppositions. It was a difficult night for the Isles but at least they won’t have time to dwell on it.
My last concern is with the coaching. Jack Capuano is not the answer for this team going forward. You can’t come on TV after a game like tonight’s and say, "I thought we played pretty good" and placing the onus on how good the other guys were tonight. With all due respect to Ryan and Getzlaf, a lot of lower tier players could have done exactly the same thing with the amount of time and space they were given. You gave up a shorthanded goal, the lead and went a goal down in the span of 3:03 and come on live TV and sound so unbothered about the whole thing. John Tortorella meant exactly what he said about the refs after the Winter Classic; he recanted later but at least he cares enough to show passion. The Rangers would go through a wall for him. The Islanders don’t have that same leadership behind the bench. I know that he is a likely stop gap but this team could have been a playoff team this season in a well parodied Eastern Conference besides the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. You don’t see the effort from everyone game in and game out on this team. Too many passengers, not enough drivers.
Quick side note on the NHL; there will be no realignment for the 2012-13 season apparently. Instead of making drastic changes, why not move Columbus or Nashville to the East and put Winnipeg in the West? Problem solved. It’s a logistical nightmare for the league for another season and gives the Jets a huge advantage going forward, especially at home. Teams are traveling 2000-3000 miles to play a team in their division that normally would be within driving distance. Having Florida travel to Winnipeg three times a year for huge divisional games isn’t fair. Maybe the powers that be can rectify the alignment.
Every game going forward is a must win for the Islanders. Let's see how this team responds against a good hockey club tonight.