The Isles scored first tonight and on the power play no less. The curse seems to be broken. Power play was three for three, and Doug said they're just getting back to basics and getting pucks to the net. I think it's a little more than that.
"Puck responsibility is paramount." Assistant coach Doug Weight told MSG's Peter Ruttgaizer after the second period. "It's huge." They are very aware the damage the Canes can do. "They're big and have a great transition game. You have to get pucks deep and get them in good areas. If you give them 3 on 2s, they're going to score on the rush."
And they have. Even though the Isles scored first, it hasn't been easy. Rick has saved 18 of 20 shots and had some great saves and some bad moves. But that's Rick isn't it? We're used to it.
Matt Moulson's power play goal was a beauty. And it was a huge relief for Matt who has seen the net recently, but hasn't been rewarded.
Third period starts and Tlusty gets one right through the crease behind DiPietro less than a minute in. Rick was terribly out of position which threw everyone off. The Isles couldn't get the puck out of their zone. Even Butch is saying Rick is over handling the puck.
Jack Capuano yells at his squad to WAKE UP and they try, but Lady Luck isn't with them when Semin tosses a puck that bounces off Travis Hamonic, hits the cross bar and into Ricks net. Travis can't believe it. That is just bad luck.
John Tavares ends up with a hooking penalty, and Brent takes a diving penalty. A little four on four for two minutes. Gains nothing.
Back at five on five and Eric Staal was given a gift of a goal as the puck bounces off a few skates in Rick's crease with only 10:51 left. It was originally credited to Lubomir Visnovsky as his first goal as an Islander but later changed to Matt Moulson. The Canes lead 5 - 3.
Eric Staal called for tripping David Ullstrom back to the power play for the Isles. They have to tie it up here and almost do but a scrum in front of Ward's net with Matt Moulson in the middle of it. he loses his helmet and his cool. Very unlike Matt Moulson. No Lady Byng for you this year Matty boy.
Another Canes penalty gives the Isles their fourth power play goal to make it 5 - 4 Carolina. Power play was not as lucky this time.
Michael Grabner was robbed, but this time, not on a breakaway with a little more than three minutes left for the Isles to tie the game.
With the last three minutes getting crazy, Rick couldn't leave the net as he would have liked to. He didn't get to the bench for the extra skater until there was just 30 seconds left. But by then, the Canes were skating rings around a tired Isles squad and Tlusty scores the empty netter to make it a 6 - 4 Hurricane's win.
John Tavares was visibly despondent. He remained on the bench with his head in his hands. He couldn't believe it. But he didn't take it as badly as Travis Hamonic who smashed his stick on a railing in the tunnel.
Visnovsky definitely makes the Islanders better, but just not good enough. But then again, some of the Cane's six goals were flukes. Perhaps if Rick had quicker reflexes, he may have been able to save at least one of them. What killed the Isles was the 19 giveaways. Howie called that 'unfathomable.'
The Isles have been outscored by 11 goals 5 on 5. NJD have 19 points to the Isles 9. Once again, it's the view from the bottom of the standings.
Butchie told Howie, "...they're just not good enough in their own zone." Jack said the same thing in his post game interview.
"Not good enough. I thought some guys were soft tonight. We had some guys who played hard, we had some bad bounces. But we're the type of team that needs all 20 guys and we didn't have that tonight. They got a face off goal and a bounce that I don't even know how it went in. I don't think our 5 on 5 was real bad. Offensively it's not too good. It only gets magnified when you don't score 5 on 5. We have to find a way 5 on 5 to generate some offense. Our PP was good tonight but it's not going to be every night. Our players realized what we had to do and we generated some shots and we had some traffic and that's how you score some goals."
When Jack was asked about Rick back in the net, "I'm not going to comment on the goal tending."
Jack was asked if he'd be looking to "shake things up." He chucked, "I don't know how much you can shake up, but we'll look at some different line combinations for sure." While Jack said they have to be better at defending goals, how do you defend against luck? "You work harder. The harder you work the luckier you get. You can't get frustrated or down on one another. Adversity is something you go through in life and we're going through it. Lose five, win five. we have to maintain our focus."
Jack spoke with the players immediately after the game but would not divulge to Stan Fischler what he said. It's also very telling that he would not comment on the goal tending. Very.
In the locker room Rick DiPietro told Stan Fischler "I thought we played hard. Our power play worked hard but there were crazy bounces. Not the result we were looking for." Rick said he felt good and that it's "... a joy to be out there and playing."
Beet red and sweating, John Tavaras faced the cameras, "Things haven't gone our way. There's no other way to approach it. You have to work hard. There's a lot of hockey to be played and we have to keep going. We had some breakdowns but we did some good things. Mistakes are going to happen but it's how we respond. Try to keep battling back. It just didn't seem like it wanted to go in for us. We just have to keep our heads up."
And get pucks to the net.