February 22, 2012

Isles Fall Short in Buffalo; Nabokov, Hamonic Return to Practice; Wallace Waived

The Buffalo Sabres have been playing some good hockey of late, and unfortunately it was the Islanders turn to go up against them.

While the Islanders played a much better game, and brought up the intensity a bit, they still were on the losing end in a tough 2-1 decision.

The Islanders gave up an early goal once again, this one 1:18 in to Tyler Myers. However, Kevin Poulin was able to calm down a bit after that, and made some nice saves. On the Sabres winning goal, which came from Thomas Vanek, Poulin's defense left him out to dry a bit.

The Islanders had 31 shots, and Ryan Miller was brilliant in stopping 30 of them. A number of chances the Islanders had came directly in front of the net, point blank. But Miller, who has really regained his form after early season consistency struggles followed by a concussion, stood tall.

The Islanders effort was a lot better than Monday afternoon, but the scoring was obviously still a problem. Despite Miller shutting the door, the Islanders were finally able to crack him with about five minutes left when P.A. Parenteau made a nice pass to Frans Nielsen, who was able to rifle a shot past Miller. It was Nielsen's 13th of the season.

It was unfortunate that the Isles comeback fell just short, and they had a few good chances in the closing minutes but were unable to beat Miller one more time. Doug Weight, who made his coaching debut filling in for the ill Jack Capuano seemed content with the way his team played despite coming out on the "short end" in what really was a crucial game.

The Islanders have to sit on this one for a bit longer than they've become used to in the past couple of weeks, before facing off with the Rangers on Friday night.

At practice on Wednesday, both Evgeni Nabokov and Travis Hamonic skated with the team. Tim Wallace was placed on waivers while Ty Wishart was returned to Bridgeport, which likely means that Hamonic is ready to return and the Isles have plans to call someone up.

We'll find out for sure on Thursday. Expect Wallace to clear, and return to the Sound Tigers where he can hopefully pick up where he left off when the Isles brought him up. He was scoring at a torrid pace for them, and with the Tigers having won 16 of their last 18 he can only help the push to the conferences top spot.



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