We’re going to preface this with the note that I missed the first 15 minutes of the third period thanks to Cablevision. So if there’s a blank spot in my report, it’s cause there was a blank spot in the broadcast. “You can’t get that with phone company TV.”
Down 3-0 late in the third period at home, there was no quit in the Islanders. This was a game they needed to have and in the end — not necessarily all night — played like they knew that. With a bit under three minutes to go, Matt Moulson would score his 24th of the year (jeez, 24 already?) on the man advantage. It was an odd play with Moulson batting the puck out of the air and past Carey Price. After a review for high stick, the play would stand. It also ended a 170 minute scoring drought for the team that carried over three different games.
Less than a minute later, Mark Streit fired home a slapshot from the high slot giving life to the possibility of an improbable comeback. A frantic 113 seconds ensued but the Islanders were able to get only a couple significant chances coming from PA Parenteau, spending most of the time chasing the puck through the offensive and neutral zones. As time ticked down, Max Pacioretty completed his hatter for the Habs with .01 on the clock. The home broadcast ended with complaints and video evidence about a missed icing call with less than 30 seconds to go but that’s hardly the culprit when the team is in a three goal hole with only a couple minutes left.
The Islanders had some chances and directed more shots at the net than the Habs (65-58) but Carey Price was solid for 57 minutes before letting up a wacky goal and a Streit Blast. Evgeni Nabokov played well but not game-stealing well and didn’t get offensive help for the majority of the night. In a one goal game there are a lot of things that can make a difference and tonight goaltending was certainly one of them.
The team now finds itself getting knocked back down the Eastern Conference ladder a bit. The bottom of the standings are practically a game of musical chairs and after tonight’s game Montreal moved past the idle Sabres, losing Lightning and of course the Islanders. Ottawa was eighth heading into the night and won, but Toronto lost and takes over the 8th place spot. The Islanders only lose one point — back to 10 points back — but it could have been 8. It’s another step back and another hurdle placed in their path, albeit a small one.
– 2009 was a weird year, huh?
– Aaron Ness has looked good in the small sample size. He’s sort of like watching Jack Hillen on Red Bull.
– The biggest story to come out of this game nationally will certainly be Scott Gomez’s goal. Gomez scored the third and eventual game winner for Montreal, his first tally in more than a year. At long last, DidGomezScore.com emphatically says “Yes!”
The Isles have two matinees this weekend with LA in town on Saturday at 1pm and Florida Sunday at 3pm. With both the Panthers and Islanders having among the most games remaining in the conference, Sunday’s game will certainly be one of the games in hand both teams have giving it that much more significance.