Thursday, February 28, 2008

2/28/08: Islanders 5, Thrashers 4, OT

Congrats to Rob Davison on collecting his first point as an Islander (and his first point this season). Davison connected on a longball to Mike Comrie, who skated in from the blue line and then muscled the puck through Kari Lehtonen to give the Isles a 1-0 lead. For you Uniwatchers, the Isles’ newest defenseman was playing with no laces in his collar. And Davison's top under-garment looks like a Space Lizard uniform. I haven't seen an Islanders player wearing anything similar. I say protective scales for everyone!

I find it very odd that no one seems to know for sure how many players make up the Core of the Four. The list published by the Islanders definitely has 17 player names. (I've counted it at least ten times now.) For some reason, the number 16 keeps popping up. I've seen it in newspaper articles, heard it on game broadcasts, and one of the honorees even mentioned the group of 16 on the NHL's XM channel today. It's not that big of a deal, but it is odd. Looks like it's time to go to the Media Guide again.

After 20 minutes of tonight's game in Atlanta, I was mind-writing about how pleasantly surprised I was to see the Islanders dictating the play against a wounded team. My fear going in was that these must-have two points would be fumbled away and would have to be made up as part of some near-impossible winning streak against better teams. So the 2-0, and then 3-0, lead defied expectations. Now I'm sitting here wondering how the team could look so complacent in the second period. Another shorthanded goal, albeit a penalty shot. Including the penalty shot, the Isles have taken 4 penalties while playing with the man advantage. I also wasn't thrilled to see DiPietro give up a goal to Zhitnik on a shot that Rick had a clear view of. Maybe it was just a mental lapse or a wrong guess (left the post too soon), but his play continues to lack the sharpness it had before the All-Star break. Whether it's physical or mental, it's worrisome.

In his debut for Minnesota, Chris Simon received 7:42 of ice time, all at even strength, skated 13 shifts, and registered one hit, one shot, and a -1.

Early in the third, the Islanders are 0-5 on the power play with under 5:00 of man-advantage time.

Berard just chipped the puck into Comrie from the blue line and Comrie hit the top-right corner to put the Isles back in front 4-3.

This wasn't intended to be a live blog, but since I was writing while watching the game, it might as well be!

Originally, I was going to call this post "Atlanta Nuggets" and then make a joke about how Carmelo Anthony isn't actually being relocated to Georgia. But this way, if no one thinks it's amusing, there's really not all that much riding on it.

Rick is starting to make some big plays now. But the pressure on him has caused the Isles to take a penalty with just over 7:00 remaining in the third. Perhaps that's preferable to receiving a power play.

Successful kill. DiPietro stood tall, and held his position, the couple of times he was called on during that PK.

Holik given too much room, wrists one by DiPietro from the slot to tie the game 4-4 with 1:22 left in the third. Replays show that the puck glanced off of Davison's skate on the way in. Billy Jaffe argues that DiPietro would have been better positioned to handle the deflection had he challenged the shooter more. While there's no guarantee, it's a good observation.

In overtime, Joe Vasicek picks off a bad pass by Ken Klee behind the net and feeds Trent Hunter in front for the game winner. You know how there are high-scoring football games where they say that whichever team has the ball last will win? In this contest, the team that made the last poor play lost. Good finish by Hunter, though. Bank the two points and get out of town. There's no credit for style anymore.

That was a telling answer by Ted Nolan in the postgame when he was asked by Greg Logan whether DiPietro is playing with an injury. Nolan all but confirmed that his goalie is far from 100%.


islesblogger said...

Ricky was slightly out of position and a half step slower than usual all night tonight.

The team really picked up the slack and got things done - thankfully Witt will be back this weekend.

What's up Ken!?!

Kenneth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Islanders Outsider said...

Hey there, Mike! I guess we just give them credit for a good first and an adequate third! What do you think? Does Nolan drag Rick out of the net and give Dubie a game this weekend? I know Rick thinks he's playing out the string, but your assessment of his play tonight suggests that it's time to give him a day off. It's going to be intense the rest of the way.

Islanders Outsider said...

I guess Ted pretty much answered that question.

ken d. said...

My co-blogger and I were e-mailing back and forth all day about whether it makes sense to sign a new backup for Rick in the off-season. We both agreed that Rick needs to play ~55 games a years instead of ~75. He is taking too much of the load and would be sharper with more rest. We disagree on who that backup should be.

We have great hockey conversations between noon and 5 PM most days. Do we put any of it on the blog? Of course not.

NYIsles1/IslesTigers said...


DiPietro suffered a loss in his family.


Joyce said...

Howie said last night that the 17th member of the Core of the Four is Al Arbour.