Friday, November 26, 2010

Rick & Sim In, Hunter Out Isles WIN vs. Devils 11/26/10

And so it begins.
Rick gets the nod again, for good reason. He has been playing well. Jon Sim has been recalled to replaced injured Trent Hunter who is out with a knee injury suffered on Wednesday.

Sadly Rick won't be able to face off against Marty Brodeur as he is scratched along with Jamie Langenbrunner and Matthew Corrente for the Devils.

This game has significance as it could tie the longest Islanders losing streak or break it. I'm opting for the second one.

With 1:41 left of the third Jack calls a time out. There is an empty Devils net at the other end of the ice and an extra Devils attacker. Joensuu passes to Martin but he can't get a shot off into the empty net. The Isles keep the puck in the nuetral zone until it is forced back in where Rick has to make one final save.

Let's Go Islanders.

With three quick whistles in the first few seconds, the Islanders are the first on the board with a goal by Jesse Joensuu at 1:32 with an assist by Frans and Grabner.

That's how you start the game!

The Islanders have the first power play of the afternoon as David Clarkson heads to the box for interference. But they are spending way too much time chasing the puck out of their own zone. Nothing comes of it. They are still without a power play goal in almost 30 chances.

Colin White seems to have it out for anyone in a blue sweater. But sadly it was Bruno Gervais that answered the bell after White's hit on Parenteau. Let's talk about uneven penalties again, shall we. Bruno gets 2 for instigating, five for fighting and a ten minute misconduct while White gets 5 for fighting and 5 for boarding. The Islanders will have a short power play as Bruno headed to the dressing room with only 8 minutes left of the first.

Johan Hedberg is called for tripping early in the second with the Islanders out shooting them at 15 to 5 in front of an announced attendance of 10,897. Kovalchuk gets to sit in the box for their goalie.

With nine seconds left of the power play, Blake Comeau takes a goaltender interference penalty and the Islanders are on the PK for 1:20. Still no goals on the power play. Something isn't clicking.

With a pass from Blake Comeau to Rob Schremp, Rob manages to get the puck behind Hedberg from the far left corner. Or as Brad Kurtzberg, from, likes to call it "Schremp's Office

The shots on goal are 19 - 12 in the Islanders favor, but the hits are a staggering 21 to 9 in favor of the Isles.

With 1:41 left of the second, the clang off the post scared me but didn't go in behind Rick. Jon Sim has been doing everything that Jon Sim does naturally, but Mark Eaton has made some excellent defensive plays to keep the away from the net.

One minute remaining in the second and the Islanders manage to withstand a flurry of activity in their own zone and head to the dressing room still up by two. If they can hold the Devils off for another twenty minutes, the streak will be broken and a new day will dawn for the team.

The third begins and with four minutes gone, the shots are now in the Devils favor at 20 to 19. The Islanders defenders have done an excellent job keeping the puck away from DiPietro by giving themselves up to block. While Rick has made some excellent saves, none have been of the caliber of Wednesdays, that caused a DiPi chant -- until now when Mattias Tedenby takes a point blank shot at Rick and there is no rebound.

The third period has been all Devils. I've been watching without typing when Brad Kurtzberg notices I'm turning blue. "Breathe Dee." And I exhale as they break to clean the ice.

Reese takes an interference penalty at 10:04 and the PK is back to work. This is a turning point for the roster. If they can get past this, it will prove how much they really want it

And just as I said that, James Wisniewski takes a highsticking penalty for clipping Tedenby in the face with a high stick. Drawing blood, he gets four minutes. And the Isles are killing off a five on three penalty before they are only down one man. The game is on their sticks. Can they hold the lead?

Rick DiPietro does his best impression of Billy Smith clearing Clarkson out of his crease over and over again. With one rebound at the side of the net in a dangerous position, the Isles still manage to kill off the five on three followed by the five on four. Maybe they do want it as much as the fans who are now cheering "Let's Go Islanders!"

The Devils called a time out and left their net empty when they returned to the ice. With an extra Devils attacker on the ice it became a tense situation. The Islanders managed to keep the puck in the nuetral zone but couldn't manage to get it in the empty net. It didn't matter. With the clock ticking down the last two minutes, then one minute of the game, it was clear that the streakwould be broken. The Islanders would win this game 2 - 0 and Rick DiPietro would once again earn a shut out against the NJ Devils.

After the on ice celebration in net, Deb Placey spoke with Rick on the ice. He addressed the fans and thanked them for all their support during this terrible losing streak. He meant every word. The fans that were behind him today are the ones that mean the most to him.

In the dressing room he talked about this only being one game. And while he and everyone else was glad it was a win, they know there is plenty of work to be done.

"Four points in three games. It's a start." Matt Moulson told me before heading off. Rick told a another reporter with just this win, there was no way they should start getting cocky.

They won't. But they needed a good place to start. Today was day one.

Coach Jack Capuano with his first NHL win has a reason to smile and gets a few days to plot and plan before facing the dreaded Rangers in home and home games Thursday and Friday.

Locker room quotes to follow.

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