If you thought they were Gordo’s gritty-gutties last season, what do we call this installment of the New York Islanders?
An overtime 3-2 victory gives the club a 4-1-2 record and a share of first place in the Eastern Conference with the Pittsburgh Penguins (and the Islanders have a game in hand!)
This was another remarkable win for the shorthanded Islanders, this time playing without center Josh Bailey (hip pointer). They hung tough with Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis through two periods. When the Islanders faltered for stretches in the third (out-shot 12-4), Rick DiPietro made some key stops. In the final seconds of regulation, Blake Comeau was tripped up by Pavel Kubina. Comeau appeared to suffered a leg injury when he crashed into the Tampa goalpost – he returned for overtime – while Kubina was penalized. For the second straight game, the Islanders had a power play in overtime.
After an endless video review, Matt Moulson was credited with the game-winner at 1:56 of overtime. It might have taken forever, but give NHL Hockey Operations a stick tap for getting a difficult play right. Play had continued for a minute in a half after Moulson knocked the puck just over the goal line, before Dan Ellis swiped it.
Michael Grabner scored first for the Islanders just over two minutes into the game. Sean Bergenheim scored on a breakaway – really, Sean…a breakaway?! – with two minutes left in the first. St. Louis and PA Parenteau traded goals in the second period.
We repeat: the 4-1-2 New York Islanders are in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Notes: Andrew MacDonald suffered a hand injury and did not play in the third period.
Islanders fans turned out in amazing numbers for Point Blank Night at SOCIAL tonight. Many had to deal with a crowded parking situation, since there was a marching band festival next door at Hofstra Stadium. Nevertheless, the establishment was packed and most even stayed through the overtime. When Moulson’s goal was official, the place went nuts.
Thanks to the staff at SOCIAL. Thanks to our pair of surprise special guests. It was so nice meeting so many great hockey fans. I hope everyone enjoyed the food and had a good time.
Back on Friday. Comments?