December 4, 2011

Moulson, Islanders Win Texas Shootout with Stars; NYI FYI Sunday

The scene was set up pretty nicely for this to be a very high scoring game: Rick DiPietro vs. Andrew Raycroft. If you were an offensive player, neither goalie disappointed you.

The Islanders were able to jump out to a 3-0 lead into the second period, before it all came crashing down on them thanks in large part to DiPietro. He gave up three goals in the span of about two minutes to bring the game even.

But the Islanders continued to do what they did on Friday night in Chicago, and fought adversity. Matt Moulson got the lead back, DiPietro lost it again. Moulson once again had to get it back, and DiPietro would leave the game with a groin injury.

DiPietro had an awkward moment in the second period where he went down in the butterfly and then didn't get up right away. Then, on the next play he fell along the right post with Steve Ott behind the net. It was pretty clear that DiPietro was laboring.

Enter Al Montoya, who as we've now come to expect, came in and shut the door, preserving the Isles 5-4 win and Matt Moulson's flawless performance.

Aside from the goals, Moulson has been playing really well in all areas of the ice. Last night, he prevented a couple of odd man rushes by hustling back on defense. The fact that he wasn't just cherry picking, but was able to score four goals is quite the feat. John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau did a fantastic job of setting him up all night.

Defensively, the Isles were slightly better than they had been but for much of the first half of the game kept Dallas to the outside. Many of their shots were right into the chest of DiPietro. But a couple of breakdowns lead to goals, some DiPietro couldn't do anything about and others that were just soft.

DiPietro wasn't the only player to leave with an injury. Milan Jurcina had a shoulder issue that caused him to miss a few shifts. Michael Grabner left in the 3rd with a groin issue after a failed breakaway attempt and never returned. Nino Niederreiter was hit by Mark Fistric, who left his feet and came dangerously close to the head area. While no penalty was called on the play, I'd expect Fistric to get a call from Brendan Shanahan. Niederreiter clearly had a concussion, as he could barely get up and was unable to walk off under his own power. We can only hope it's not a serious one, as Niederreiter looked like he was coming around during that Chicago game and was only 11 seconds into this one.

The fact that the Islanders came out of this road trip with seven of a possible eight points is huge. Words cannot describe that. Both Sean and I had this pegged as a likely week of Hell for them, and yet here they are showing the resiliency that they had at the end of last season. To go on the road and do this is fantastic. To hold on and win the games by a margin of one is even better still. Talk about confidence boosters.

There is still a lot of work to be done here, no doubt. But for a team that's been pretty miserable on the road, and in scoring goals, this entire trip was huge. They got the first goal of every game of the trip, which for a team that has become accustomed to slow starts is - you guessed it, huge. At any rate, this is a start. They now need to return home and figure out ways to win those games too. As Jack Capuano said a few weeks back, "you need to win the home games if you expect to make the playoffs."

He's absolutely right. It's great that the Isles went out on the road, and had a huge confidence booster. Now, come home and do it and get people excited once again.

NYI FYI Sunday, 11 AM: As always, Sean and I will be back to bantering about the Isles - and with some good stuff to talk about too. You can catch us live by watching on uStream. Be sure to participate in the discussion by using the chat room through the site.

For those who can't watch the live show, no need to worry. You can listen to the recording through the uStream site later as well.

Unfortunately, there will be no podcast. For those who are not aware and missed Sean's post last week, MyPodcast went out of business and closed their website as of Thursday, December 1st. We hope to be able to find an alternative for podcast hosting, but for now there's been no luck. Check out Sean's post for more details on how we move forward.


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