December 17, 2010

Isles Defeat Ducks to Snap 6 Game Losing Streak

Prior to the game against the Ducks, the Islanders received some good news as they learned that both Radek Martinek and Milan Jurcina would be returning from injury for the game. Jurcina had been out since October 29th with the injured hamstring, while Martinek had missed the last couple of games after taking that Zdeno Chara slap shot off of his left wrist last week.

Jurcina only played just over 13 minutes in this one, but he did block two shots and throw four hits. I thought he played well given the fact that he was coming off of a major injury. It certainly was nice to have him back. Martinek, meanwhile, was his typical self - a very stead presence on defense. He also once again jumped in on the offense a couple of times, something that he has been doing more of lately. He's a very good skater and has a heck of a slap shot so if he gets more power-play time he could be deadly.

The real star of the defense for this one was Andrew MacDonald. Those of you who watched the telecast heard Howie Rose and Butch Goring rave about him constantly, while those of you who attended saw that he was selected as the game's 2nd star. He blocked eight shots last night and threw a couple of hits. Those of you who have been checking in with us regularly may have seen a trend coming from recent posts where we have a daily mention of MacDonald's play and this is exactly why. He's been absolutely amazing, and it's great to see that he has not regressed from what he was last year, but rather improved exponentially. This is why he is wearing an 'A' on his sweater.

Rick DiPietro, the games 1st star, played well. Sure, there were some things I didn't like but for the most part he stayed in his net. He fell a couple of times, and flopped around but at the very least he did it in the crease. He didn't have to make any spectacular saves, but there were enough chances where he had to work for his 30 saves. Good game from him after a couple of off ones.

The Islanders got three goals in 1:39 after not scoring in the previous 77 minutes, all in the 1st period. P.A. Parenteau and Blake Comeau scored two of them, continuing their recent trend of getting on the score sheet. I still don't agree with Parenteau getting 1st line minutes, but we won't go into that for now. They had good games.

One thing that is still alarming, win aside, is that when the Ducks got their first goal from Joffrey Lupul, Rose pointed out that we had to beware of the tide turning. That is exactly what happened from that point on. The Ducks continued to to press, and even though they were down by two they came out of the 2nd intermission fired up and it showed. The way they controlled the puck for the first few minutes of the 3rd looked like an Anaheim power-play, and the game the Islanders were playing earlier on was getting away from them. The Isles went into a collapsing defense mode, and quite often all five Isles players were stationed right in front of DiPietro, which is a bad position to be in when you are facing so many skilled players who can find holes and are deadly from the slot area.

It was showing signs of a team, and even a coach as one follower in Twitter pointed out, that are scared of losing and slightly inexperienced. It's not a great way to handle the adversity. But at the very least, they held on for the win and DiPietro made some key saves in the 3rd.

The Isles prevented themselves from going to an all-time organizational record of .500 for the first time in 33 years, as statistician Eric Hornick pointed out to us.

On a personal note, I wanted to give a shout out to all of those who following along with us. Last night on Twitter we hit the 200 follower mark, and it's something we're very appreciative of. We hope that you all continue to spread the word.

The Isles take on the Coyotes next, and I'll be in the press box for that one.

I may have some additional comments to post in this space, so be sure to check back.

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