4:35 pm - Full-disclosure: the game was so one-sided, my sons and I left after the second period. I watched the rest on TV while they enjoyed a rare nice January day outside.
This is how beautiful life is in Islanders Country.
The Islanders were so dominant, I ripped up the pages of my little notepad that had the Pluses and Minuses to type up when I got home. It hit me that every player on the Islanders was so good today, so much better than the Devils in every aspect of the game, that it would be unfair to single anyone out.
Instead, I’ll share just a few random thoughts I had during the game, and then guest contributor Andy Facini – a Long Islander attending Boston University who graciously volunteered via email yesterday – will share his Plus/Minus.
It did the heart good to walk into the Coliseum and see a packed house. No question, the Islanders were inspired by it.
Never understand the rush for referees to blow the whitle because they can’t see the puck. What, are they afraid someone is going to get hurt? Geez, this is a sport that only punishes bare-knickle fighting with five minutes in a glass booth with all the Gatorade you can drink.
The Islanders’ forecheck was so good, Lou Lamoriello likely watched in admiration – at least until he couldn’t take any more by the middle of the second period. How many times in the last 15 years have we seen the Devils dominate like they were dominated today?
The Good Ship Islander is sailing so smoothly, the coach can bench the team’s current MVP – coming off a shutout – for two straight games, and it’s no big whoop.
In these three games against Detroit, Buffalo and New Jersey, the Islanders allowed less than a combined total of 20 scoring chances. I counted four against the Red Wings, maybe six today.
No one knows for sure that the Islanders are going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. What is for certain is that team executives will have to start meeting soon to discuss pricing, ticket design and how to maximize the excitement to win new customers. Again, the Islanders have a long way to go before any talk of locking in a playoff spot. But they will have to start planning – something they probably weren’t banking on a month ago.
On the drive home, Devils radio color commentator Sherry Ross said on WFAN, “The Devils are better on paper, but not on the ice today.” The way the teams have played the last week, I’m not sure there’s any point to the paper/ice discussion. The Devils are playing their worst hockey of the season. The Islanders are playing their best in several years. This is the rollercoaster of the long NHL season. Nothing else matters except how you’re playing today.
This is the best the Islanders have played since the two-year reign of Peter Laviolette.
Andy Facini starts off the interactive Plus/Minus…
Plus: The first three minutes. ‘Nuff said.
Plus: Isles finding a way to get Yann Danis back on Coliseum ice.
Plus: Martin Brodeur showing up after six minutes, preventing at least a 4-goal first period for the NYI, but it didn’t last.
Plus: Jumping ratings get some respect: Isles get the nod on MSG+, Devils placed on MSG+2.
Plus: Matt Moulson is officially on track for 30 goals.
Plus: Smart work by Doug Weight & Co. to keep the tone after the buzzer in the 2nd without dropping the gloves.
Plus: If you’re going to pick a game to blow out the division leader, a matinee with a packed house is the one you want.
Minus: Someday, Richard Park will score a goal that stands.
Plus: Really struggling to find any more minuses about today.