March 12, 2011

Resiliency at it's Finest as Isles Down Bruins

They always say those late goals at the end of the period can be killers. Generally, the Isles are usually on the receiving ends of having the momentum sucked out of them. On Friday night against the Boston Bruins however, it was the Islanders getting a late goal that completely shifted the game in their favor.

The Islanders had a very pedestrian effort against the Bruins for much of the first and second periods as the Bruins built a 2-0 lead on goals by Nathan Horton and, naturally, Zdeno Chara. The Isles appeared to have trouble containing the Bruins, and you saw numerous times why people have been including them in their Stanley Cup predictions since the summer.

With two seconds left in the second though, things changed. P.A. Parenteau, John Tavares and Matt Moulson had an excellent shift to keep the puck deep in the zone. Parenteau got the puck behind the net to Tavares, who made a no-look behind the back pass to Moulson who was left alone to the left of Tim Thomas. His quick shot surprised everyone and cut the lead to 2-1.

The Islanders came out hard in the 3rd, and didn't let off at all. They would end up controlling the play for much of the period. Michael Grabner would score to tie the game after picking up a rebound after a scramble in front of Thomas. His shot looked rather harmless, but all of the pushing and shoving in front of the net allowed the puck to slowly trickle in past Thomas.

Jack Hillen scored after a puck deflected in off of a Bruin and past Thomas. He tried his hardest to make the save, but when he realized where the puck was it was too late. It had already fluttered in, and the Isles were firing on all cylinders, feeding off of the crowd of 12,119.

Parenteau would get a goal of his own in an empty net. The puck never actually went in, but he was tripped up and taken down on a breakaway which is an automatic goal.

This was resiliency at it's finest. The Islanders battling back, against one of the top teams in the East it an excellent story for this crew.

Since December 16th, the Islanders and the Bruins are tied for the most points in the Conference. I don't need to beat a dead horse, but it's a shame what the outcomes were in the previous 21 to December 16th.

Al Montoya only faced 28 shots, and stopped 26 of them. He made some nice saves and continues to get better and better as time goes on. The Islanders threw 41 shots at Thomas. It was the first time since 1986 that the Islanders won back to back games after taking 40+ shots.

Moulson moved one goal away from getting his 2nd straight 30 goal season, while Grabner moved two away from that mark.

Blake Comeau had a really strong game, and made two really nice plays on penalty killing opportunities. Both times he dove to knock pucks out of the zone. He threw hits and skated hard all night, perhaps trying to get his first career 20 goal year under his belt. He has been playing fairly well in my opinion over the last few weeks, and it's great that he has kept that play up to show some consistency.

The Islanders get no rest as they take on the New Jersey Devils again on Saturday night. This should be another fun game, and another one that's been getting some notice from hockey pundits in the area. Neither team could care less about draft picks and want to win these games. It makes for some fun late season hockey among two teams that are unlikely to make the playoffs. But hey, we've been wrong before. As Captain2Man pointed out to us on Twitter last night:
you guys haven't been too great in predicting hockey games recently. That makes me happy.
It makes us happy too. Lets hope for another win in our own quest for a late season surge, as well as deliver a blow to the Devils hopes.


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