If Nicholas Cage had been involved, it would have been gone in sixty seconds. On Long Island tonight the Islanders did him better, their one-goal lead over the Devils vanishing in less than fifteen seconds (how’s that for an unexpected lede?). Leading with two minutes to go in the third period thanks to a John Tavares’ goal, the Islanders let one and then two points slip away in front of the home crowd. First it was David Clarkson squeezing one by Anders Nilsson short side, then almost instantly PA Parenteau took a bad penalty, with the sequence being capped by a goal off the ensuing face off.
The loss spoiled a great night for a few Islander players, one being Anders Nilsson who ended up with 33 saves in a losing performance. He was especially impressive during a 15-save second period and ends his week with two solid performances against a playoff bound team.
Another bright spot was Micheal Haley, called up to bring grit and an edge due to the absence of Matt Martin, missing the game with the flu. He recorded four hits including a big one on Adam Larsson that Howie Rose anticipated surprisingly well. Haley had four hits on the night and was certainly a presence in the lineup. He was also given a bit more ice time than we’re used to seeing. Haley finished with 10:17, his highest total of the season and third highest of his career. But maybe the biggest moment of his night was a breakaway on Hedberg in the second period. You can tell in the video, there’s certainly some extra excitement from the fans once they realize who is off to the races.
(Sidebar: remember folks, plays like that won’t happen if the NHL puts the red line two line pass back into effect. Call your senators now.)
– With Montreal and Washington both winning tonight, the Islanders sit one point out of last in the Eastern Conference and nine points out of 8th place.
– Newly signed Mike Halmo must have had some extra adrenaline pumping tonight. He inflicted a serious headshot on potential 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov. Tough for Yakupov, who now has had two injuries this season. He missed a month earlier this year with a knee injury and I’m sure will miss sometime after that nasty collision with the Mike Halmo Train.