Tonight in Carolina the Islanders’ picked up a road win over the Hurricanes in what was almost a blown opportunity. They carried a 2-0 lead into the third period, thanks to two power play goals and some refs that swung things back in the Islanders favor after last week’s mess (Mike Hasenfratz worked both tonight and the Toronto game at NVMC if you’re scoring at home). They almost gave it back, allowing the Canes to open the third with two scores. In the end, they would hang on and add in a couple of stat-padding empty netters.
With four power plays in the first two periods, the Isles converted for two and looked out of sorts for the other two. PA Parenteau notched the first score with a slick wrister off a nice feed from John Tavares who as always, was everywhere. Matt Moulson would score the second by getting the puck towards the net as quick as possible after Mark Streit’s point shot got blocked and found it’s way to him.
The third period turned the tables, with the Canes picking up the only two power plays on the frame and cashing in on the second to tie the game. It was a wild scramble as Kevin Poulin made a nice save and then got a bit out of position and was helped along by a Hurricane. Carolina’s Tim Brent found himself behind the net with the puck and successfully banked it off Matt Martin for one of the odder goals you’ll see. That made it 2-2 and proved once again that the worst kind of lead is a two-goal lead*.
To provide insurance, it would be none other than John Tavares. Karma, if you’re partial to that sort of thing, provided some help as Cam Ward misplayed a puck and found himself out of position. After receiving a centering pass from Moulson, Tavares would make no mistake putting the puck in a similar spot to Parenteau’s score.
From there, the Islanders scored twice on the empty net in a reversal of empty net fortunes. Tavares and Kyle Okposo both padded stats and sealed the win, adding a goal and assist each. For Tavares, it moved him into fourth in the league in points, tied with such esteemed company as Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk. He finishes January with 22 points in 13 games and a +11 rating. If that’s not NHL Player of the Month worthy, I’m not sure what is.
* – May contain some amount of hyperbole.
“I want to play in the NHL right now,” Rhett Rakhshani told IPB’s Alan Avital last week. “I don’t think I have had all that I can eat in the AHL, but I think I am good enough to play in the NHL. Sooner rather than later.”
That’s a quote from a hungry player and there’s no doubt that Rakhshani was hungry in his debut, taking the place of Brian Rolston on the Isles’ third line. He played alongside Josh Bailey and Matt Martin and made Howie Rose call his name quite often. In just under 13 minutes of ice time he directed five pucks to the net and provided nice energy on the third line. Now Rakh’s job is to keep that fire burning. He’s not up here on an emergency basis and is going to get a long look at this level. Let’s see what he can do with it.
If you’re like me and your work doesn’t give you plane tickets to follow the Islanders road trips in person, you might have been trying to find tonight’s game on The Deuce, also known as MSG+2. If you’re even more like me, you had trouble finding the game.
The following is a list of channel numbers that you may have been able to find the game on Fios systems, depending on your locale:
Depending on your locale, one of these channels may have had the game on Cablevision:
66, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 79, 86, 460
And to be fair, that’s not including the HD channels in the 700s.
“You don’t get this confused with phone company television.”
The Islanders now have three days off before back-to-backs at the end of the week. On Friday, they’ll be in Ottawa for a 7:30pm game against the Senators. The Sens have 60 points and are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt but have struggled lately, losing their last four. Take that stat with a grain of salt though as they were still 8-5-1 in January.