DEVILS 3 (EN) ISLANDERS 1 Donovan's debut spoiled, another questionable effort

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Matt Donovan had a relatively impressive debut often lining up against the Devils’ best (Kovalchuck, Parise, Zajac) and came out with a stat line of 21:52 TOI (second to only Streit) 1 SOG, 3 blocks, 3 hits and a -1 (which I’m pretty sure came on the empty netter).  It looks like the Isles went to a short D rotation as Mark Eaton was the only Isles defender under 20 minutes, but he was significantly under at 11:50.

That was the highlight of the evening for the most part…it got so bad, even the “Long Island Patch” started trolling.

 

1st Period:

The Isles gave up the first goal of the game in under two minutes…again.  That has to be the billionth time this season and it was an unattended Patrick Elias (Sykora, Fayne) who shook Mark Eaton for a chance all alone in the slot.  In fairness, the entire defensive coverage looked to be in molasses and Mark Streit was not able to prevent the Sykora pass despite being in close proximity Also, there was little forward resistance as Fayne walked in from the point.

Matt Moulson (Streit, Tavares) would become the Isles first 35 goal scorer since Jason Blake’s 40 in 2006-07 (according to Jesse Spector) when he shook loose and got a nice backhander past Johan Hedberg off a blocked Streit shot to tie the game at one.  The play was also John Tavares’ 200th career point.  Man, that was fast huh?

Micheal Haley had a nice little go with Cam Janssen trying to extract some justice on a clean hit on Mark Eaton. Haley was given a five for fighting and an extra two minute unsportsmanlike.  I like the idea of Haley defending teammates.  I’d like it a bit more if he waited and was around to make sure nobody got near the stars,  but nothing came of the ensuing power play so all’s well that ends well.

2nd Period:

With Marty Reasoner serving the balance of a first period hooking penalty, the Devils took a 2-1 lead of a pretty, tic-tac-toe passing play finished off by number one center, Travis Zajac (Parise, Elias) who was only in his fifth game back from injury.

3rd Period:

The Islanders didn’t generate a shot until about 16 minutes in.  Enough said.  Not that the Devils were much better…but they didn’t have to be.  They were winning and ended up outshooting the Isles 5-4 in the third and tacked on an Ilya Kovalchuck empty netter to seal it.  Here’s the NHL.com Isles shot chart for the third period.  (Only two of those shots are even from a decent area.)  The total shots on the game Isles 20, Devils 19…felt like a soccer game.

For good measure, NHL.com has Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo  given 10 minute misconducts and Okposo getting a bonus two minute unsportsmanlike after the empty netter.  Bailey was not picked up by the broadcast, but Okposo and Tavares were seen screaming some expletives in the general direction of the officiating crew.

Referees: Gord Dwyer, Kevin Pollock
Linesmen: Michel Cormier, Tim Nowak

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Noticings:

  • Matt Martin took six draws on the night (4-2) and Okposo took 5 (4-1).  This could be an anomalous event, or perhaps the Isles are looking at different options considering Nielsen and Bailey’s faceoff difficulties.
  • Al Montoya now has a .875 sv% since February 4th.  Granted, he was in and out with the injury, and I hope for his sake this is related, becausethe continued difficulties locating pucks and controlling rebounds is very alarming.
  • Another game without a power play opportunity.  This is probably the reason that the Isles bench was going nuts at the end of the game, but to be frank, they didn’t look to be working hard enough to draw any calls on the night.
  • Looks like it may be Steve Staios night for the last home game of the regular season (Winnipeg 7pm Thursday) …for those not aware, that will be the 1000 game of his NHL career.
  • The loss puts the Isles tied for 4th in the draft lottery (Anaheim has a game in hand).
  • The loss guarantees the Isles will finish below NHL .500
  • For as much talk as coach Jack Capuano has had about “finishing stong” and “continuing to play for each other”, this team just doesn’t have that right now…at all.  Either he is losing them, or there will should be some significant personnel shuffling in the off season.  It can’t be that they’re just being this badly outplayed at max effort right?  RIGHT?