Friday, November 27, 2009

Isles Impressive in 3-2 Win Over Pens: Live Blog DOA; Quick Hit with Moulson

Today's live blog is brought to you on tape delay. See why below. I decided to carry on as though I were live anyway because I needed the practice. As for the value of still posting it nine hours later? Well, I'll leave that to you to decide. I know I always appreciate the opportunity to go back and see the game through someone else's eyes whether or not I've already seen it myself.

In other news, I finally got the chance to talk to Matt Moulson this afternoon, although only under the chaotic circumstances of an open locker room with victory music blaring and players scrambling to pack their equipment for a quick turnaround tomorrow in New Jersey.

I had a more extensive interview planned out, and maybe I can get back to that one day because I'm really interested in hearing what he has to say about playing at an Ivy League school, playing in the ECAC, what the exact events were that brought him to the Islanders, and more. But given that we were just over 24 hours away from his alma mater, with his brother Chris on the roster, facing off at Madison Square Garden, I just went right for the most pressing issues:

Will he have a chance to get to the Garden Saturday night to see Cornell take on BU?
I'm not sure, I think so. As of now, yeah.

Does he talk to his brother about breaking into Cornell's starting lineup and what advice might he be giving him (Chris Moulson did see action in Cornell's 6-0 win over Brown on 11/14)?
Yeah, I talk to him. I try to talk almost every day to him. He's working hard. Hopefully he'll get a chance and I think he's probably a better player than me, so, hopefully he just needs a chance and he'll get in there and do well.

Is he (Matt) still in touch with his college coach, Mike Schafer?
Yeah, I talk to him every now and then. Talk to him and e-mail.

What kind of contributions did Coach Schafer make to his development as a player?
I learned how to play solid both ways when I was there and the importance of working hard and discipline. A lot of discipline.

What does he think about so many other Cornellians such as Byron Bitz, Ryan O'Byrne, Douglas Murray, Ryan Vesce and last year Mike Iggulden all contributing or better at the NHL level?
Yeah, I think it's good for the program. Guys have done well out there. Hopefully we can keep it going.

Moulson also shared with me that his mom made the trip into New York and said, "I'm sure I'll be over there (at the Garden)."


One thing that I forgot to mention to Matt Moulson was that Chris's bio page at cornellbigred.com still says that Matt plays for Manchester. Let's get someone on that!


I just want to thank Matt for taking the time to answer some slightly unusual questions--unusual, at least, for a post-game following a big win over the conference leader. And based on his scouting report, maybe Garth Snow, Ryan Jankowski, and the staff should keep an eye open for another Moulson.


And, now, for your time-traveling entertainment...

Plausibly Live Blog 11/27/09: Islanders 3, Penguins 2

Good afternoon and welcome to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Today the 9-9-7 Islanders host the 17-8-0 (how pure) defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time this season. The first meeting was a 4-3 shootout loss for the Islander in their first game of the season on October 3rd.

It's very Pittsburghy here today at the Coliseum, but that's something we've grown accustomed to when a division/geographic rival comes calling and good seats are easy to come by.

Today's first jumpout stat of the day: John Tavares leads all rookies in points, goals, and power play goals. That's the way it was supposed to be, and it's so satisfying to see things play out that way. Tavares does need to watch out for James van Riemsdyk of the Flyers who sits only two points back while playing in six fewer games.

Rule #1 of live blogging: Never show up for a game with a laptop you're bringing the first time. You might have connectivity problems that prevent you from delivering on your promised first live blog of the season. Sigh.

From here, we'll be covering this one more traditionally, or as that most annoying of creatures, the "plausibly" live blog.

This one got off to a rousing start with Tim Jackman and Derek Engelland squaring off at center ice just 13 seconds into the game. This fight had legs with both combatants standing tall to the fight's conclusion. Jackman had the stronger reserve and the better leverage at the end, scoring the decision.

Post-fight, the Islanders opened up the game strong on offense with both the Bergenheim-Nielsen-Okposo and Moulson-Tavares-Hunter lines generating good scoring chances in the opening 90 seconds. Nice passing among the first threesome ending with an Okposo shot, but he was unable to cash in.

If you're going to face a 4-on-4 with the Penguins, do it with Malkin in the box. 2:55 in, the Pens star and Andy SUtton went off for coincidental minors: the Paul Stewart special, two for hooking, two for diving.

12:45 left in wide open first period, Sean Bergenheim sent a wrister just wide from the off-wing raising a chours of oohs from the crowd.

Dwayne Roloson has looked a split-second late on a couple of shots, but a post and some off-target shooting have kept this one scoreless. He did get a shoulder on a tough Sergei Gonchar shot earier in the period.

The Islanders opened the scoring with 10:55 left in the first. A Mark Streit slapper from the left point sat on the doorstep for Josh Bailey to slam home before Brent Johnson could close the open side. Freddy Meyer had the secondary assist.

The first Islanders power play went by the boards with only a post hit by Jon Sim raising the excitement level in the building. I'd like to see Matt Moulson back on that first unit.

6:31 the Islanders get their first test on the penalty kill against Malkin, Crosby, and Bill Guerin. The first good scoring chance, however, goes to Okposo who had plenty of time to set up a shot from the right circle but couldn't beat Johnson.

Roloson looking sharper during the kill, stopping a hard shot with traffic in front.

Okay, so far this has been kind of a hybrid live blog/notes for later entry. From here on, we're going full-bore delayed live blog...

3:12 Park looks short-side top corner from the bottom of the left circle and gets a piece of the iron. On an earlier shift, he and Thompson each went high and wide on shots from a similar spot.

2:36 Malkin rushes down the right wing and shovels a sharp-angle backhnd off of Roloson's body and into the net. Tied 1-1.

SECOND PERIOD

20:00 4th line starts the second period for the Isles.

18:50 Gritty work and strong moves by Okposo to keep the puck in the offensive zone.

18:05 Nearly a highlight reel goal by Tavares but his chip from in close after a nifty deke goes just over the top.

16:37 Isles to the power play.

16:32 Hooking call on Hunter evens up the man power.

16:01 Thompson goes hard to the net to follow up on a Park shot but can't knock the rebound past Johnson.

15:05 Good effort by Gervais to clean up in front of his own net, but he goes off the ice favoring one foot.

14:10 Tambellini throws his weight around with a nice hit along the end boards in the offensive zone.

12:48 Too much rebound left by Roloson + not enough defense covering the front of the net = easy goal for Matt Cooke. Pens lead 2-1.

10:15 The 4th line displays excellent puck control in the offensive zone, but their hard work is offset by an inability to get off anything close to a dangerous shot.

9:15 Bergenheim's low, hard wrister rebounds toward Nielsen but Johnson beats him to the loose puck.

6:41 Hillen takes a borderline interference call along the boards just inside the defensive zone.

6:00 Park comes in shorthanded with some room but his wrist shot goes well wide.

5:36 Potential game-changing moment as Andy Sutton takes a double minor for highsticking. Pittsburgh will start with 55 seconds of 5-on-3 time.

4:30 Hillen comes out of the box and gathers in the puck at the blue line to come in on a breakaway. He got Johnson to go down, but couldn't get the puck by him into the open net. Rebound to Nielsen who also misses the open net from a sharp angle.

1:36 Isles kill off the Sutton penalties to the delight of the home fans. Let's see if the Isles can use this as their own game-changing moment.

1:10 Okposo back on a line with Tavares with Moulson.

0:20 That puts Bergenheim, Nielsen, and Hunter together for the final shift.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00 4th line out again to defend against Dupuis-Malkin-Fedotenko.

19:30 Attempted wraparound and subsequent rebound attempt by the Pens comes much closer to being a goal than it should have.

18:57 New lines remain in effect here at the start of the second.

18:36 Bergenheim, probably the Isles best forward tonight, rips a wrister from the left dot past Johnson. Tied 2-2. Assists to Nielsen and Hunter.

17:50 Thompson gets called for boarding. Staal takes on Thompson, who takes his time before fully engaging. No clear winner except for the Isles as Staal picks up an Instigator penalty and is gone for virtually the rest of regulation. Both get fighting majors, so Thompson will sit for seven.

14:30 Good sustained pressure by the top line. Hard, low shot from the point by Gervais results in the desired rebound. No goal, but the shift results in a bench minor to Pittsburgh. Isles to the power play.

13:30 Nielsen, Bailey, and Hunter out first with Streit and Okposo at the points.

13:00 Now it's Tavares and Moulson up front with Sim parking himself in front of the net.

12:35 Hunter, Nielsen, and Tavares will get the last man-up shift. Bergenheim had been out there for the faceoff but was called back. If the Isles get another power play, maybe Bergenheim or Tambellini get a shift.

11:23 It seems like the Islanders are causing a lot of problems in front of Johnson but since Bailey's goal just haven't been able to capitalize.

6:12 The new (old) top line comes through. Meyer wrists one in from the point with Moulson screening. Tavares pounces on the rebound and Johnson has no chance to stop him. Isles lead 3-2. Okposo with the second assist.

5:07 Prediction: the Islanders will be shorthanded before this period ends.

4:05 Third line wants in...nearly increases the lead but Sim is stopped twice, once by Johnson sliding across the goal line to get back in position.

2:10 Isles doing a good job keeping pressure on the Pens and moving forward.

0:00 Impressive third period by the Isles and a really good win over a dangerous team. Isles win 3-2.

1 comment:

Okposo Island said...

You did well for a guy allotted only 90 seconds. Moulson's story is easily the best under-reported one of this year's team. Note the crush to talk to Tavares; not so much for MM.

As I was trying to convey earlier, Iceworks is the place for unrestricted and semi-private access to players. Too bad it's such a schlep for you. All I can offer is to meet you for lunch, as I'm 5 minutes away from Syosset if I am stopped at all red lights.

And, yes, I like to read others' takes on games, even if I saw it on my own.