Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Isles Beat Tampa 5 - 2 on Slow Ice

“We’ve talked about that over the last couple of months, whether we’re down one or two goals, we’re finding a way to come back.” According to Jack Capuano, that’s the Islanders new game plan. Down by one early in the first on a blast by ex-Islander Nate Lawson, the Islanders found a way to not only come back, but keep everything out of their own net behind Al Montoya.

“Montoya was big tonight. He made a couple of big, big saves. Any time you get good goaltending, you have a chance to win hockey games.” Al has given them more than a chance as he is now 8-3-4 since being brought in from the AHL.

Jack Capuano called it getting some breaks against a “dangerous” team. My friend, Tampa Bay Lightning 7th Man winner, Dr. David Lubin, called it the worst game the Bolts had played. Which ever it was, luck or lack of effort, the Islanders ran over the Bolts and their star power 5 - 1 beating Dwayne Roloson four times while Michael Grabner scored his NHL Rookie leading 31st goal into an empty net on a short-handed chance.

@ItsCJYupp on Twitter asked @NYIslanders who was awarded the hard-hat last night in the dressing room. I’m thinking they may not travel with it, but if anyone should have worn it, I would vote for Matt Martin.

Martin, classified by some out-of-town sportswriters as a “knuckle dragger,” has proven he certainly can PLAY the game. Capuano moved Matt to the third line because “…. for us right now, we need secondary scoring. Our top two lines have been going pretty good, but we’re gonna need those guys down the stretch for sure.”

His promotion was awarded with a beautiful goal off a Jack Hillen pass that just seemed to energize everyone.

In Butch Goring’s post game remarks, he brought up the fact that the Islanders have been trying to prove they do belong in the NHL. Ever since Zenon Konopka barked at the Canadian media during practice that they shouldn’t be walking all over the Islanders. “We’re not doormats!,” the Islanders have been proving they belong in the National Hockey League. “You talk about respect? They can play, they’re confident in their ability and they want to get better. They haven’t given up yet and they want to be ready for next year.”

So while the Islanders playoff hopes for this season are slim, they are still not non-existent. And the Devils hopes are only slightly better. It will be interesting to see what will happen in these final eight games. Of course the biggest question will be how many games Rick DiPietro will start in this final stretch.

According to Capuano, Rick could have started him last night but chose to rest him. Look for Rick Thursday at the barn for sure. But Rick was just fine last night hanging on the side lines of the bench with the Islanders new part-time roadie -- Kevin Conolly. Not a bad gig for an actor from Long Island who is a life-long Isles fan.

See? You can only get these types of photos of you follow @JesseDEisenberg on Twitter.

When Rob Carlin asked Al Montoya how the win felt last night, he told him, “It feels great right now. Our goal this weekend was to come in and play our best hockey. I didn’t like that first goal that went in. But they fought for me and that made me want to play harder.”

Then he said something I didn’t know about the St. Pete Times Forum. “It was probably lucky that this is one of the slower ice in the league.” Hmmmm… Do the Bolts fans use that as an excuse sometimes?

“We knew they were going to come at us. This is a playoff hockey team. They want to play for the cup. They were getting power play after power play. Our PK was doing a great job all night. You shut down one of the best power play units in the league, that gives you a lot of momentum.”

Let’s see if that momentum can carry into Thursday night.


neilmairs said...

Watching the game and seeing how Al Montoya kept the Isles in it - again - I couldn't help wondering what's going through Nabakov's mind now. Think of how much he could be doing for his career if it was HIM backstopping this run. I'm curious what Garth will do with his contract next year, or what he'd do if Nabakov called and said "give me another chance"?

Also Dee I see you're being touted as the celebrity guest at the Doolin's meetup on Thursday. Makes me regret I'm in VA and can't make it, but maybe you can post the PR photos Friday AM?

Keep up the good work!

7th Woman said...

it seriously helps if I get the headlines right the first time. No doubt, I need more sleep than I get. & Thanks Neil! I do appreciate your support.