Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Prodigal Son Returns

Post Game:
PA Parenteau sat in his stall and waited for the reporters who were busy crowded around John Tavares and then Josh Bailey. He sat shaking the sweat off his head that wicked through his long hair.

With points in three straight games he said it feels great. (That seemed to be the general feeling in the room.) "I think we're playing some better hockey. We have some injured players back (um, Eaton?). And you can tell we're playing with a lot more confidence and are a lot more stable back there."

They weren't very stable in the first period as the Bolts out shot them by a wide margin and they spent a good amount of time on the Penalty Kill. Jack Capuano admitted they didn't play well at all in the first and were lucky to get out of there with just one goal given up.

I asked PA if Jack had said anything on the bench after he seemed to be exceptionally upset with Milan Jurcina's untimely interference penalty. "No. He didn't say anything. Any time someone takes a penalty like that that, you have to have your team mate's back. You know, that's what you do and that's what we did tonight."

After that I expected PA to ride the bench for a good portion of the game, but he didn't. He actually played a total of 19:11 while Trevor Gillies, who usually plays about 3:30 per game played only 1:57 and sat in the box for only 4 minutes.

This was not a hard hitting game in some ways. While you would have expected Zenon Konopka to dance with someone from his old team, he didn't. Neither did Gillies. Perhaps that was because Steve Downie was not in the line-up or Jack felt it unnecessary to send that message he had in the previous game. The Islanders doubled the Bolts hit total, 26 - 13 while the Bolts came very close to doubling the Isles shot total, 35-28. Most of those Tampa shots were in the first period. Thanks to Dwayne Roloson, only one of those 35 shots went in.

PA may have scored the game tying goal, but it was John Tavares that netted the game winner. When I asked PA about John, his answer was simple. "He played a great game, he's John Tavares. He's got a lot of skills."

On a team that is struggling, those skills need to shine more often.

The Isles will take those two points and this added shot of confidence to New Jersey tomorrow where they face the struggling even more Devils. Maybe Lou is really looking for that number one draft pick for 2011.

The sign at the glass reads Welcome Home Josh Bailey. He skated out onto the ice to Cinderella Man. Eaton is also playing tonight. Matt Martin sits out serving his suspension and Bruno is a healthy scratch along with Jack Hillen.

But Josh's homecoming party is being crashed by the Bolts. Three power plays in the first period put the Lightning ahead 1-0 on a goal by returning Ryan Malone. The shots on goal are an uneven 3 - 15 and the turnovers and errors have Jack Capuano reeling on the bench. The camera caught him yelling a few expletives when Jucina took a foolish penalty by pushing a bolt into Roloson and his net. He was called for interference. Luckily there was no goal on that power play or Milan might not see the ice again tonight.

Start of the second and with Nate Thompson in the box for hooking the Islanders doubled their shot total to -- six. Jon Sim had a great shift but still nothing went in the net. The Isles put the puck on net, but there are no #DanEllisProblems so far tonight keeping it out.

Matt Moulson took a puck to the foot in front of

Josh Bailey had his best effort of the night skating down the ice alone towards Ellis. some pretty moves but Victor Hedman, the the draft pick I really wanted is called for hooking Josh as he got to the net. Isles on a power play with their shot totals now at 9 to the Bolts 21. It would have been great to see Josh get a goal in this game, his first back.

With 24 seconds left on Hedman's penalty, JT takes a hooking penalty to put the teams at even strength for just a few seconds. St. Louis skates around with the puck while his team sets up taking time off their man advantage. They don't seem to care.

Stamkos easily skates up the side boards, but the puck comes back toward Ellis. And once again, Scott Allen's PK works. Things would have been GREAT had it not been for JT taking a penalty for high sticking. Have a seat in the box AGAIN JT.

Islanders back on the penalty kill and probably tired with only 7:36 left of the second and shots at 9 - 21.
Both #91s stand in the face off circle, but one is sent out only to be replaced by -- Josh Bailey.

By the time there was less than a minute left of the 2nd period, JT does what he does best: make passes from behind the net. One went right to PA Parentau who managed to get it behind Dan Ellis at an angle.

The two teams head to the dressing room tied at 1 which is amazing since the shots on goal are so uneven.

With the start of the third, Matt Moulson gets an excellent chance on a breakaway but can't get it past Ellis. There is a scuffle in the crease and they head to the overhead as the call is no goal.

Trevor Gillies takes a roughing call that puts the Isles back on the PK. Amazingly the Isles get two short handed chances and just as the penalty expires Nielsen gets a shot off a PA pass coming down the far boards, but Ellis stops them again. He's been in position all night

JT plays human puck as he has a hard time stopping himself from entering Ellis' crease and is forced even further in by Moore. If he was a puck that would have been their second goal. He wasn't.

My friend in Tampa, Dr. David Lubin, emails me that he's never seen Ellis make these types of stops. I wish he wasn't. It's frustrating to watch the Isles get so many chances and be robbed by Ellis.

On the other end of the ice, our 41-yr old goalie robbed Moore with a glove save.

Rob Schremp dippsey doodles with the puck but then loses it in the pass. Luckily, he regained it.

Andy MacDonald has shown off his best assets by being able to keep the puck in the Bolts zone and breaking up plays in front of Rolie. Nice work.

Grabner again was close to scoring but he was robbed by Ellis -- again. Who IS this guy?

Both goalies playing well, there is now 1:15 left and still tied at one. I would so like to see Josh Bailey score the winning goal the way he has recently in Bridgeport. The Isles continue to turn over the puck in their own zone. and the clock ticks down to zero and the teams go to overtime and the Isles get a point.

Points in three straight games is more than they have in a long time.

Wiz from a great pass shoots from his knees at a tough angle and misses the net by five feet. The puck ends up on the side of Roli's net and amazingly does not go in. 3:01 left of OT and this is nerve wracking.

Grabner with some fancy skating fans on the shot by Ellis' crease. 2:04 left. And Joht Tavares sneaks the puck passed Ellis' with Moulson in front of the net who did not get an assist.

Isles win.
All is right with the world.

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