March 10, 2013

Isles Extend Home Points Streak to 5

The Islanders gave fans more hope to build on with a convincing 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon to give them a 5-game points streak at home, and put themselves one point out in the playoff picture with 23 games remaining.

Frans Nielsen pressured Karl Alzner into misplaying a puck and then went off on a 2-on-1 break, feeding the puck to Josh Bailey who would lift it just over a sprawling Philipp Grubauer that would open the scoring for the Isles. The goal came during one of the few moments in the game where the Caps had good sustained pressure but could not capitalize, and the Islanders were able to finally get the puck out and score a goal of their own to get momentum into their favor.

Once again, the Isles came out hard and played pretty physically and that is a great sign. It's no secret this team has been playing at their best when they played physical and they showed that at times here.

Of course, despite the solid play the Islanders had some moments of weaker play, and a penalty to Radek Martinek resulted shortly after in a goal for Mathieu Perreault. But here, Travis Hamonic had the bad luck. Despite the right idea of trying to get to the open area of the crease to bail his goaltender out he couldn't get turned around in time and the puck ricocheted off his skate and into the net after Perreault blindly threw it there. An upset Hamonic looked around in disbelief as his struggles continued.

Some nice back and forth play resulted and the Caps and Isles exchanged chances, the Caps looking like they were reborn after the ping-pong goal. But a lazy Alex Ovechkin would turn over the puck to Colin McDonald who sprung Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas on a nice rush, which ended with a beautiful wrister by Cizikas.

The Caps would tie the game early in the third with the Isles playing sloppy hockey to start, but they would settle down and and answer with three goals of their own - four if you count Matt Moulson's goal on the powerplay that came during what would essentially amount to practice time after it was determined that John Tavares's 2nd goal of the game did in fact hit the camera before bouncing out oddly. A Frans Nielsen shorthanded goal would seal the deal for the Isles, leaving a very large crowd satisfied.

Give a lot of credit to Evgeni Nabokov who stopped some really nice chances. There were plenty of pucks that went wide from both teams, but Nabokov really made some phenomenal saves, especially with the pads. There were several close calls but he shut the door.

The Islanders needed some positive vibes coming out of that game against the Rangers and they got it in a big way. Now it's back on the road, where the team has been pretty good so far this year. They'll play a Pittsburgh team on Sunday night that is looking very strong right now, and much better than the last time the Isles faced them in Pittsburgh early on in the season.

NYI FYI Sunday Evening: Changing it up a bit, Sean and I will be on live tonight at 5:30 PM. We'll talk about the Isles week that was, including how they made us and our predictions look foolish for the week.

You can catch us live through uStream, and participate in the chatroom or call us through Skype to give us your thoughts and questions. For those who can't catch us live, you'll be able to look for the podcast.

- Chris

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