Saturday, November 1, 2008

11/1/08: Canadiens 5, Islanders 4; DiPietro Out 4-6 Weeks After Knee Surgery

Shattering defeat.

4:41 Hard pass from the point redirected through Danis. Habs lead 5-4. A nightmare third period for the Isles. The momentum has shifted so much that this could 8-4.

5:54 Just too much pressure, too much back on the heels, too much inability to clear the puck. Habs tie it 4-4.

10:05 Plekanec and Kostitsyn (Andrei) work a nice play to cut the lead once more. Isles lead 4-3.

12:12 Plekanec hammers home a loose puck in front. The noise from the visiting crowd is impressive. Gordon takes his time out. Time for the Isles to tighten things up. 4-2 Isles.

14:20 Danis has looked very sharp since midway through the first period. He just gloved a long shot that bounced through traffic on the way in. Nice tracking.

14:57 Danis stops a hard point shot from Markov and gobbles up the short rebound before any damage can be done. Pushing and shoving follow the whistle for the second consecutive time.

15:30 Good stop by Danis on Higgins as he tried to stuff it in.

15:40 Pock goes off for tripping. He's not happy about the call.

16:35 Nice defensive play by Skinner, removing his man from the puck along the boards to relieve some pressure.

19:19 Streit to the box. Let's see if the Isles can stay disciplined in this period, keep skating hard, and make it difficult for the Canadiens to get back in this.

20:00 I initially had Nielsen with the third goal, but it was announced as Guerin. The scoresheet does now list Nielsen as having scored both the third and fourth goals, his first two of the season.


2nd Intermission: I was in the middle of writing some between periods analysis when a blitz of t-shirts and the ensuing mayhem rendered my keyboard and touchpad inoperable. So, to sum up quickly, great stuff from the Islanders through two. They're doing everything they need to do to be successful, firing on all cylinders in the process. They're limiting access to the Canadiens' offensive zone, and limiting the shots when the Habs do get in and control the puck. Danis has faced 16 shots. Most importantly, the Isles are capitalizing on the scoring chances they've generated. It's great to see Okposo getting an extended look on the first line.

1:40 I guess a USA! USA! chant is never inappropriate.

2:08 Park and Bergenheim with the assists on the Nielsen goal.

3:17 Nielsen takes the cross-ice feed, waits on Price and then roofs it. Isles lead 4-1.

5:32 We have an international incident in the stands behind us.

5:32 Good kill. Danis stood tall when called upon, ending with a mad scramble in front.

7:43 Isles will be shorthanded for the first time. Pock goes off.

8:08 Isles continue to pour on the pressure and get chances.

13:10 Sutton with a good chance but his stick explodes. Could have won the hammer throw with the distance the blade went.

16:06 Kovalev to the box for hooking. Good pressure in the second minute of the power play, but no conversion. Isles 2-4 with the man advantage.

18:01 Fritz goes toe to toe with Laraque at center ice. Fritz handles himself extremely well and gets in a number of good shots while taking minimal damage.

18:20 Hunter slides it across to Weight, who finds Guerin in front for the redirection. Power play goal, Isles lead 3-1.

19:03 Tanguay with a delay of game penalty. Isles go to their third power play.

19:29 Park tests Price with a hard, sharp-angle shot from the near boards but Price corrals it.


1st Intermission: Scott Gordon mixed up some lines during the first period. We saw Okposo replace Bergenheim on the first line with Guerin and Weight. Bergenheim joined a line with Comrie and Sim. Hilbert saw double duty playing with Nielsen and Hunter and then with Thompson and Park as Fritz's minutes were limited.

Some first period stats: Isles won 9 of 13 faceoffs (69%) and outshot Montreal 14-9. Streit (7:48) and Weight (7:09) led the way in ice time. Only Fritz saw fewer than 4 minutes.

2:17 Hooking penalty to Latendresse. Comrie started out with Guerin and Hunter and then stayed on with Okposo and Sim. Hilbert, Park, and Thompson close out the period.

5:11 Trent Hunter is the Sharp Islanders Player of the Month for October.

5:11 Another wrister from the left dot by Hunter gives Price some trouble, but he holds on.

7:33 Jon Sim launches a wrister from the top of the left circle that beats Price to give the Isles a 2-1 lead. Assists to Hunter and Nielsen.

8:08 Danis stones Koivu on a mini break from the blue line.

11:05 Fritz nearly converted a redirection in front and then tried to bat the loose puck in. No dice.

14:00 Sutton rang the right post.

16:13 Streit just unloaded from the point to tie the game, 1-1. Assists to Comrie and Weight. That's a power play goal.

17:21 Markov takes a holding penalty. Isles 1st unit included Nielsen at first, but he was replaced by Comrie.

17:57 Isles give up another early one. Kovalev streaking down the middle takes a feed from down low and beats Danis. This building is not nearly full, but it is incredibly loud. MTL leads 1-0.

18:45 First line of Weight centering Guerin and Bergenheim is intact. Campoli with Gervais.

20:00 It's gametime after rousing dual anthems. The building is electric. The Isles will start with Thompson, Park, Hilbert, Skinner, and Sutton.

It's Third Jersey Throwback Night at Nassau Coliseum as the Islanders take on the Montreal Canadiens. There's a strong Habs contingent in the building already. Currently, there are more Habs sweaters here than new Islanders thirds, but let's give it a little time. Visitors from out of town are more likely to arrive early.

Perhaps in recognition of the new retro look, we're being treated to a medley of Bee Gees hits. It is occasionally being shouted over by a "Go Habs Go!" vs. "Let's Go Islanders!" chant war. Loudville is doing its best to drown out the competition. One thing that hasn't changed since the 70s: records (or in this case, CDs) can still skip. So much for the Bee Gees. But the disco ball is still going strong.

Tom Liodice paid a visit to the Blog Box from high above earlier. It was nice to catch up with him in person. Check Tom out on The Tiger Track and later on with the official game recap.

Not to belabor the point about the strong Canadiens contingent, but there is A LOT of French being spoken in the concourse right now.

There goes a spanking new Mark Streit Islanders third jersey on a fan.

And here come the Islanders looking splendid in royal blue. This is the color of this franchise. A full time return cannot come soon enough.

BREAKING NEWS: Just received a press release from the Islanders. Rick DiPietro had arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus injury in his knee. He will be out 4-6 weeks.

So far tonight I'm joined in the Blog Box by Greg and Brian who are here on an internship from Farmingdale State College as part of the school's Blog Box sponsorship. Doug from Isles Official's Outlook is here now as well.

As Tom reported earlier, Yann Danis is in the net tonight to take on his old club.

When tonight's live game blog begins, new entries will appear at the top of the entry. I'm going to try to streamline things a little tonight--fewer entries so I don't have my head buried in the keyboard. Also, time stamps will refer to time remaining in the period.

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