February 15, 2012

Isles Shutdown Jets

The Islanders couldn't quite get the job done Sunday afternoon, leaving everyone a bit subdued with the team embarking on a very difficult two game road trip in Winnipeg and St. Louis.

The Jets had a solid home record, and were eight games over .500 and one over on the season overall.

With the Isles ailing, and going into a small, but always packed and really loud MTS Center, many of us feared the worst.

Then, P.A. Parenteau and Evgeni Nabokov happened.

Both lead their team to a HUGE victory, as Nabokov made 37 saves and Parenteau finished with a goal (the game winner) and an assist. The Islanders moved to within two points of Winnipeg, and six points in on Toronto with two games in hand. The Maple Leafs fell 5-1 on the Calgary Flames Tuesday night.

When the Isles were down 1-0, it was Matt Moulson who got them on the board and helped to take some of the momentum away from the Jets. Moulson ensured his 3rd straight year with at least 25 goals, and it couldn't have come at a more crucial point.

While on the surface it appears that any playoff hopes were essentially killed with the inability to defeat Florida, the Islanders sure are resilient and proved that they can in fact beat some of these teams they are chasing, on the road at least. Ironically, it is at home where they have had problems with these teams.

Winnipeg was clearly frustrated after this one, and the players had the looks on their faces that told it all. They were looks that have become all to familiar to Isles fans these past few weeks. But this time, it was the Islanders who were victorious in a huge game.

The win was especially important because it comes at a time when the Islanders really can only afford to lose one regulation game a week for the remainder of the season. Most people have already penciled in a loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (they're 24-3-4 at home!) so the loss to the Panthers Sunday was especially frustrating.

With games in hand, and some remaining against those they are chasing the best the Isles can really do is take care of themselves. The other games will play out the way they will, and we can only hope there are no three point games.

Should the Islanders be able to steal a victory in St. Louis, they could potentially be sitting pretty. Thursday will be a statement game if there ever was one.



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