Last night, as my wife and I entertained company, a friend of mine from Florida called. "Guess where I'm going?" To which I responded, "you are so lucky, you are going to the Tampa game". Heather and Danny are former NY Islanders themselves (residents, not players), since transplanted, and they attended the game while enthusiastically reporting back to me "We hear 'Let's go Islanders' chants in the building". I love it. Like it or not, Islander fans are ubiquitous.
Its nice to know that when it counts, we can always rely on our top two goal scorers, Andy Hilbert and Billy Guerin to light the lamp for us. OK, I jest somewhat, but I am serious when I say that Hilbert showed good patience last night in holding the puck for a crucial moment before positioning himself to beat Holmqvist. And Guerin, good for him. He's been grinding, and fighting (literally as in the case vs. Florida) for this goal. And although I have watched the replay 3 times, I still have no idea how the puck floated into the net. No matter, it just goes to show, throw the puck at the net with some traffic, and you never know.
If you did not see last night's game, do yourself a favor and watch the 1st period on DVR. Andy Sutton laid the best shoulder/ hip check I've seen in a long time on Doug Janik. It was clean, it drew the ire of Tampa while generating an Isles PP, and it basically was the type of hit that makes hockey fans love the game. Andy Sutton has been superb at determining when he has forwards backchecking and leveling tremendous hits when those opportunities arise.
DiPietro was brilliant last night. By the time the 3rd period came around I said to myself, "we owe it to Ricky to win this game. We cannot let him down." And we didn't. Campoli (A) and Sillinger (G) capitalized on an overtime power play to take the second of the year from Tampa.
The captain is back (he's too good of a player for that draught to have continued much longer), and we broke the losing streak. And although I'm a little disappointed in a 1 for 8 performance on the man advantage, I'm happy with a hard fought win. The Isles now enjoy a little time off before they fly to Buffalo, where they'll hope a little momentum will come along for the ride.