Friday, December 31, 2010

(Not So) Happy New Year In Detroit

I'm sure they didn't expect it. The hapless Islanders and their lack of points came into the Joe and spoiled the party -- again. It seems that no matter what the standings, the Islanders seem to play well against the Detroit Red Wings.

They weren't taken lightly, as evidenced by the first period. The Red Wings notched 12 shots on Dwayne Roloson. Granted, the Islanders had to kill off two penalties early in the first period. But it seemed for sure, this would be an ugly game. Especially when Franzen made it 1 - 0 at 11:52 of the first. That's when big angry man turned to me and said "This is going to be a 7 - 0 game."

"No." I assured him. "Not if the same team that showed up on Wednesday shows up tonight."

And oddly, and almost unexpectedly, that's exactly what happened. Out shot and out skated, the Islanders managed to find a way to win. Just like good teams do.

Now, I had prayed as much as I could and offered up a sacrifice (of four lobsters) to the hockey Gods to get Matt Moulson a goal to end his drought. I watched him intently cheering him in. Then something strange happened. A Red Wing clipped the puck after a MacDonald shot was redirected by Matt Moulson. At first it was credited to John Tavares who was parked by the net. However, review after review showed a redirect by Moulson and then a tip in by a Redwin stick. Tough break for the Red Wings, lucky break for Matt Moulson who had been goal-less since December 16th.

John Tavares, who probably knew he didn't actually touch that puck into the net decided to make sure he had one of his own and scored at 19:57 of the first. That really didn't sit well with the Red Wings.

They thought they would score and even things up when Jon Sin was sent to the box for goaltender interference. They didn't expect Scott Allen's PK unit to be able to hold them off, but they did.

It wasn't until 15:13 of the second that Bridgeport call-up Jesse Joensuu made it 3 - 1 and it became evident that the same Islanders that had defeated the Penguins were actually back on the ice. All of a sudden it didn't matter that Radek Martinek was on the IR (retroactive to 12/22) or that Jack Hillen was home with his new born baby. Once again the Islanders defenders came up big. So much bigger than you would have expected. It was another game where Travis Hamonic was proving he belongs and that Andy MacDonald showed why he was missed do desperately when he was out.

The Dynasty era die-hard Islander fan in my house mumbled, "Don't get too excited. The Red Wings will tie it up." Tsk Tsk oh ye of little faith, but at 19:51 of the second Filppula brought it within one.

The Islanders lead was quickly fading and my husband's prediction was getting closer. Meanwhile, I have to say that Dwayne Roloson was having fits with the referees who failed to call interference penalties on Red Wings who were in his net and keeping him from doing what he was there to do - stop the puck. While Roli was trying to make his case, the officials wanted no part of it.

It was pretty obvious if the Islanders wanted to win this game, they would have to do it without relying on the benefit of the doubt from the officials. The Islanders were called for five penalties. All of which they managed to kill off. But mid way through the third, a call up tied the game for Detroit on a goal he will never forget. Yep, some fresh faced kid named Tatar made it 3 - 3 and the Islanders had to work hard as hell just to keep the Wings from scoring and taking two points.

The game became nerve wracking and even Roloson, usually solid as a rock, bobbled the puck in his crease. Every moment counted. And then the buzzer sounded and the Islanders were assured at least a single point.

During overtime, it was pretty obvious that the officials were not watching the game the same way everyone else was. Blake Comeau was called for the slightest of an infraction and the Islanders were down a man in overtime.

Once again, the PK came up beyond huge. And then the hockey Gods smiled on the NY Islanders and the Red Wings were actually called for a penalty. There was a little wasting time with the puck to wind down the clock to get the Isles on a man advantage, basically being SMART with the puck, and then John Tavares batted the puck out of the air to control it, looked for an opportunity and found PA Parenteau who shot from one knee and ended the game.

It was a 4 - 3 Over time win for those hapless Islanders. The same team that has given Red Wings fits over and over again. Tonight, it was a repeat performance capped off by an ex-NY Ranger.

For that I'd like to say this: Hey Glen Sather, thanks for giving up on PA. I think he's found a niche here.

And to Matt Moulson; Hey, I told you you'd score tonight. I didn't say it would be fair or pretty but you're on the score sheet. Next one is all you!

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