Friday, March 18, 2011

Heartbreak in Raleigh

*Okay, let me explain. I have not slept more than 4 hours for 12 days. Last night was the first night that Big Angry Man was back home. In all honesty, I slept through portions of this game. It's obvious from the first draft of this post game!!!

With Al Montoya facing Cam Ward in net in Raleigh*, anything could happen. And it did.

Jeff Skinner, in the race with Michael Grabner for Rookie of the Year, managed to put Atlanta on the board first with his 25th goal of the season. That didn't mean that Grabner did nothing in the first. Michael Grabner had two break-away chances that got Howie Rose and all Isles fans very excited. Both of which didn't get the Isles on the scoreboard.

It took a hard angle shot by Frans Nielsen banked off Ward's pad to put the Islanders even with the Hurricanes. It was a beautiful goal and Grabner earned an assist point on it.

But at 3:10 of the 1st, one of Grabner's NINE** shots for the night managed to go in the net for Grabner's 29th goal of the season. (One more closer to my winning that bet this season with Steve Carlson!)

The Islanders as a whole played well. There were no penalties called in the first period at all and only one during the second period on Michael Haley for interference. Carolina was hit with two penalties in the third period, but the Isles power play couldn't find a way to give them a safety net of another goal.

At that point, I heard Big Angry Man yell, "You're going to give them a way to tie up the game. You should have been able to score there boys." And as if he looked in a crystal ball, John Tavares' late period penalty in the third gave the Thrashers life that sealed the Isles fate.

Paul Maruice's squad desperately wanted the points. They need the points. And at 15:23, Eric Cole tied the game at two leaving the Islanders deflated. Especially Frans Nielsen. The Isles were badly out shot in the third 14 - 5. THAT'S how bad they wanted the win.

But the heartbreak in Raleigh actually came during the overtime segment when a slap shot by Joni Pitkanen banked off the post and behind Montoya who was stretched across the crease with glove in the air ready to stop it. He froze for a moment realizing he didn't have it in his glove. THERE was the heartbreak.

The only good thing about last night's game was there is no time to sulk over it. The Isles are in South Florida taking on the Panthers tonight in their second game of the week-end back-to-backs. Everyone is assuming Rick DiPietro will get the nod in net tonight.

I think it will be a good diversion for him. Besides the bad injury luck he has had, Rick also had to put down his dog this week after it was hit by a car. For anyone who has had to live with the loss of a family pet, you know what that is like.

Rick spoke openly about his last few weeks with both Newsday's Katie Strang and MSG's Rob Carlin. Check their twitter feeds and Ms. Strang's Newsday blog for details. I didn't know that Rick required metal plates in his face after Brett Johnson belted him. We'll just put that also on the list of why I'm not happy with the Pens goalie. Thank you.

Looking for another Grabner goal tonight so I can order my case of wine from Mr. Carlson in the morning. Now THAT would be SWEET!

**Yep, I got that one wrong too! Grabner had NINE shots on net.

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