Well another phenomenal weekend in the Islanders world has come and gone.
On Saturday we were witness to the destruction of another west coast team, the St. Louis Blues.
The game started with a highlight reel goal by John Tavares (1G, 1A-2 Points) breaking his 9 game goal slump. Mark my words, that will be a top 10 finalist when they vote for the best goals of the season by any player in the league. Then P.A (1G, 1A-2 points) added one to finish off the first period.
The second period was light, A-Mac (2G, 2 points) added his first of 2 goals on the night, he had 3 in 2 games. Matt Martin (1A-1 Point) had a nice scuffle with Blues enforcer BJ Crombeen quickly into the 2nd period. Hoping for a momentum shift they sent BJ out and Matty held his own once again and quickly showed the Blues that this is a brand new Islanders team and nothing could stop their momentum.
The third period is where things got really exciting. The Isles only had 2 goals that period but A-Mac added his second of the night, 3rd in 2 games but the real news was Michael Grabner (1G, 1A-2 Points) finally breaking his 8 game goal drought and taking the lead in rookie scoring with his 26th of the season. He reached 40 points on the year. He is now 4th in the NHL among rookies in total points. There are only 9 points between him and the overall leader, Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Overall the Islanders had 9 guys on the point sheet for the night.
Today (Sunday) the Islanders squared off against the HOTTEST team in the NHL, The NJ Devils. Coming in to todays game the Devils were 19-2-2 in their last 23 games. After todays victory they are officially 7 points out of a playoff spot in the East.
Today was a defensive battle from start to finish. Al Montoya was HUGE once again. His counter part Martin Brodeur also played a huge game.
The game was scoreless after the first period. I was following Isles fans on Twitter during the game and everyone was frustrated with the lack of offense in the first. I was having a blast watching these 2 teams battle on D.
Early in the 2nd period Brian Rolston gave NJ the lead with a power play goal. Once again Kovy got his name on the scoring sheet. He has been one of the most dominant players in the league in recent weeks. Just when it seemed like the score was going to end with a 1-0 win for the Devils, Josh Bailey continued his hot play adding his own power play goal to tie the game going into the 3rd. Kyle Okposo who played tremendously the entire game added an assist on that goal as did PA.
Once again early in the 3rd Kovy picked up ANOTHER goal, this time even strength. Let it be known that if it wasn't for the amazing play of Al Montoya, Kovy may have had a 2 or 3 goal night.
Not to be outdone with only a couple of minutes remaining, Blake Comeau tied the game at 2 with an awesome shot. That goal was unassisted.
The Isles played amazing solid hockey in OT and eventually lost in the shootout. Not bad for a team that trailed a couple of times in the game to the hottest team in hockey.
Is it me or do these guys get better with every game they play together?
The Islanders only trail the Devils by 4 points after todays game. While making the playoffs seems like a long shot, there is still that possibility if they continue this hot play.
It seems like every game these guys improve and every game someone else is contributing to their victories. After a streaky start Josh Bailey has been playing extremely well and Blake Comeau, also a very streaky player, has been on fire. I also want to mentioned how impressed I am with the overall play of Matt Martin. He is proving every game that he is so much more than a fighter. Another year or two and he too will be on that list of 20+ goal scorers.
I love what we have developing here. I don't think we will need too much in the off season if these guys keep developing at their current pace. EL NINO has been lighting it up at an unreal pace in Portland. If he continues to grow and we can get him a roster spot next season who knows where we will be at this time next season.
On Tuesday we have another home game against Toronto, another surging team fighting to make the playoffs. Friday we play the always dangerous Bruins again at home. I am curious to see how this team responds after their last meetings with each of the 2 teams I just mentioned. It should be a VERY interesting week here in Islanders country. I have my tickets secured for Fridays battle. I won't be able to make Tuesdays game but you can count on me watching and reporting back to all of you!
I wanna quickly thank everyone for their continued support for my blog and for spreading the word to other Islanders fans. You keep stopping by and I will keep writing for you.
Stay dry LI, see you Tuesday.
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