December 27, 2010

Isles Win 3rd Straight During Blizzard

The Islanders tried to have Sunday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens postponed, but Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman denied the request. Their reasoning was that the NHL has a rule that if the two teams are in the city where the game is being played, then the game can proceed as planned.

Quite frankly, that is a really stupid rule and on a night where the NFL cancelled their Sunday night game in Philadelphia, the league came off looking rather foolish between the games on Long Island and in New Jersey.

The NY Post's Larry Brooks voiced his displeasure on Twitter, and I agree with him here. There really was no point to have these games, but the NHL went ahead with them anyway. As a result, 3,136 came out to see the Islanders win in convincing fashion over the Canadiens by a score of 4-1. Those who had tickets to the game, even if they showed up, are given the opportunity to exchange them for another game of their choosing. That's a excellent move on the Islanders part, and the decision was made a lot quicker than last years. Good stuff from the organization right there.

I shouldn't say that they won in convincing fashion because of how they were outplayed in the 2nd period. But, the effort in the 1st and 3rd periods were similar to that of the ones against Tampa and New Jersey, which is what we said on the podcast they needed to have. Montreal had some power-play opportunities, which obviously helped the shot total in their favor but the Islanders had a major power-play in the 3rd, which later became a 5-on-3. The Islanders were able to use that to their advantage and grew their lead to 4-0.

The story of the game was Dwayne Roloson once again. He made 38 saves, and was incredibly quick and so sound positionally. When the Canadiens out shot the Isles 16-7 in that 2nd period, Roloson stopped every one. Even though the Islanders effort was pretty solid, when they had a couple of lulls throughout Roloson let them know loud and clear that he had their backs. In 10 of his 18 starts this season, Roli has given up two goals or less. He has now won his last three starts, giving up one goal in each of those games.

Michael Grabner had a really nice game of his own. His rush on the Islanders 2nd goal tells you why he is here. I can't even remember the last time we saw a player who could go that fast from a standstill, but he used his speed to create a breakaway that looked unlikely and made some excellent moves to fake out Carey Price and give the Isles the 2-0 lead. We've seen some great stuff out of Grabner this year and hopefully he can keep it up.

Speaking of the good stuff, Blake Comeau has been showing us some as well. He has quietly been racking up some points in the month of December, mostly due to his pairing up with the red hot Rob Schremp. The two of them have found some chemistry this month and it was Schremp with a very nice pass to Comeau to open the scoring for the Isles. They need to keep that up, and there's no reason to think they won't. Their efforts have been unbelievable lately, and Schremp wore the hard hat after the game. A huge part of this is trying to out-work your opponent to get chances, and both are doing so lately.

If there was one thing I didn't understand it was using the line of Matt Martin, Zenon Konopka and Jon Sim on the power-play a few times during the game. I wouldn't have cared too much in the dying seconds of the game if Jack Capuano hadn't already put them out there a few times earlier. I know he mentioned a couple of weeks ago that if they continued to struggle with the man advantage he would consider putting a whole new unit of five out there, but that's not what many people had in mind. How about putting someone like Grabner there? The fact that he hasn't already is really a sin.

But in the end, the Islanders scored twice on eight chances on the power-play and won their 4th of their last five games. They go right back at it Monday night against the Rangers. No word yet on who will be starting in net, but I would imagine that news will come down within the next couple of hours.

If you haven't already done so, please be sure to check out our latest podcast here.


No comments: