As I made the commute from the city tonight I passed 2 guys wearing Islander jerseys, no doubt on their way the the World's Most Heinous Arena for tonight's game against the Rangers. It was a sight that would get the adrenalin going in any Islander fan.
The Isles, coming off of a big win against the Senators, arrive with some room for improvement. Most notably, the power play has been nothing short of deplorable as of late. This morning, the NHL had us at 15th in the league. Compare that with October 22nd when we led the league in PP %. Going 0 for 4 last night only exacerbated the precipitous slide. The Isles continued the trend in the 1st, missing on a PP opportunity early, which included a 5 on 3 created by a delay of game call vs. the Rangers. The first closed with a double minor to Orr after a dirty hit on Comrie, which preceded some level of chaos when Ryan Holweg played mad scientist with Radek Marinek's stitches. Another missed opportunity on the man advantage resulted.
The second was intense with Betts inadvertently scoring on Lunqvist as Islanders crashed the net after an unexpected bounce off the glass (It counts as a PP goal, which we'll take). This was followed by a quick Simon/ Orr scuffle and a Ranger Power Play goal- Drury, his 6th of the season off a DP rebound. With less than 4 minutes to play Gomez netted his 5th goal of the season, another off the power play. This was becoming an unpleasant game to blog about until Comrie finally scored with about 2 minutes left in the second.
Ok, if you were watching the 2nd intermission, you saw Fischler and Trautwig talking about the "hockey pants" worn by the Flyers and Whalers back in the day. Images were shown. They looked like athletic/ workout pants matched with hockey jerseys. Very unpleasant.
Lunqvist had a great save on Hunter early in the third, and with about 14 and a half minutes remaining, the Sillinger line created another great scoring chance that Hilbert miraculously missed. I think it may finally be time to consider bumping Park to the third line, with Hilbert relegated to fourth line and penalty killing duties. His defensive talent and hard work is overshadowed by his inability to finish. Its probably far enough into the season to fairly come to that conclusion.
The Isles couldn't pull this one out of their hat, but I'll take 3 out of 4 against the Rangers thus far. Gallant and Nolan will have their work cut out for them improving our power play; because if it had been stronger tonight, this would have been a different game.
We won't see these guys again until March, and its any one's guess where these teams will be then.