Rock You Like A... Islanders 5 Hurricanes 2

Even a full-week off couldn’t slow down All-Star John Tavares.


Tavares scored two goals and had two assists as the New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2.


P.A Parenteau scored the 1st goal on the game in the 1st period on the power-play. It was his 11th goal of the season, 5th on the power-play. After having no power-play opportunities in their home-and-home vs Toronto before the break, they were awarded four consecutive man-advantages. The second-goal was scored by Matt Moulson, again on the power-play, for a 2-0 advantage going into the third period.


The ‘Canes cut their deficit in half at 3:16 as Brandon Sutter brought Carolina within a goal at 2-1. Only 3:40 later, the ‘Canes took advantage of their first power-play and tied the game at 2. Tim Brent was credited with the goal, which deflected off the skate of Matt Martin. It was only the second power-play goal yielded by the Islanders in their last 38 penalty kills.


The game was tied for only 41 seconds. ‘Canes goaltender Cam Ward made a mess of a clearing attempt behind his net, and Tavares’ put the Islanders ahead 3-2.


Kevin Poulin, called up from Bridgeport for a spot start, earned his first win of the season. He made 21 saves, some of them spectacular. 


Carolina pressed for the a tying goal, but Kyle Okposo and Tavares added insurance empty-net goals. 


In the month of January, the Islanders went 7-5-1 overall and 3-0-0 against the ‘Canes. 



Madonia Minute


I don’t know if the playoffs are realistic, or not. That being said, you have to win games against teams like Carolina if you are serious about pushing towards it.


It looked like an easy win going into the third period. The Hurricanes looked frustrated and their legs weren’t with them in the first 40 minutes. The Islanders, on the other hand, were all over the puck creating good chances on all four lines.


The first seven minutes of the third period was a complete 180. Carolina was quicker to the puck and created good chances because of it. The first goal was a fluke, but it only happens because Sutter wanted the puck in that spot. 


The second goal was more frustrating. They need to do a better job of clearing the crease. Tim Brent had all day behind the net to find an opening..Martins’ skate. Poulin should have a clear opportunity to control that puck, not be bumped and hit into by opposing players.


Poulin was steady in goal tonight. Coming of a major injury, he has made a lot of strides this season. He is their goalie of the future and with each passing game looks far more confident. Compare this to his last start against Nashville, you saw a goalie that was ready to play tonight and it showed.


I’m renewing my season tickets next season, if only, to watch John Tavares play hockey. He is tied for 3rd in scoring after his four point performance tonight. He has ‘it’. The future captain of this team no question. He may not have the pure scoring ability of Steven Stamkos or Evgeni Malkin, but his hands are nearing that level. His ability to find an open player is uncanny. Since Kyle Okposo was put on the 1st line, alongside Tavares, he looks like the player they thought the drafted with the 5th overall pick. Matt Moulson is on pace for another 30-35 goals and the chemistry between the players is among the league’s best. Line-for-line, the top line for the Islanders, is one of the most productive in the league. Getting some secondary scoring will help going forward, but Tavares is putting the team on his back, something a great player does.


Two crucial games this weekend. Friday is their first meeting this season against the Ottawa Senators. Another measuring stick against a team they have immense trouble with. Ottawa rolls out three solid lines and bring a physical punch. Expect Zenon Konopka to be extra amped against his former teammates. Don’t know if a fight will occur as the way the Islanders are constructed doesn’t allow for such hi-jinks, if their is a game where a fight can/should occur, it’s Friday. Ottawa is going through a tough stretch and their comfortable position in the playoffs is becoming less and less plush. Team Alfie will be looking for two points.


Saturday is a must win, especially if they can steal Friday’s game. Buffalo is a team on the schedule that you have to beat. Two wins against them already this season, the most recent was as passionate a game as i’ve seen all season. 30 odd games left, have to get two points here.


A brief word on the Brooklyn PRE-SEASON GAME!!!! Didn't they play a game in Kansas City a few seasons ago? They didn't end up in Missouri, I don't see them ending up in Brooklyn. The arena seats 14,500 for hockey, 504 less then the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. This isn't conducive for the league, and for the average fan. An arena with such a small capacity will likely price the normal fan out and fill the building with suits, a la MSG. Ever watch a Yankees playoff game? How many fans do you see behind home plate with a 3 piece suit on? How many with a Jeter Jersey?


As someone that is busting their hump to be able to afford season tickets next season for my wife and I, I cannot see myself being able to afford a likely increase of 30-50% in my seating locale. I know we need a new building, but at what cost? 


I think i'm going to write a elogated piece on the Brooklyn fiasco this weekend, be on the lookout for it.



Final Thought


Rhett Rakhshani made his season debut for the Islanders tonight. I thought he complimented Bailey and Martin well and was involved in the play. I would like a bigger sample set before passing full judgment, but from what I saw, Rolston continuing to sit in the press box would be fine with me. 


-John Madonia