That, of course, is why they play the game. While the New Jersey Devils have had three ugly 4-0 losses this season -- as John at In Lou We Trust has so painfully chronicled -- I wouldn't in a million years have expected a game against the Islanders to be one of them. But -- the ugly Scott Gomez slump-busting goal aside -- Yann Danis has certainly exhibited the talent to pull off a shutout like this.
I watched this Town of Hempstead Night classic on Sunday hangover delay -- kind of like the pace of the Lighthouse Project itself, huh? -- so with this late recap I'll borrow a piece from John's impressions:
The Islanders were excellent beyond Danis. The Islanders committed to the backcheck and collapsing down low; something the Devils haven't handled all that well this season. They made sure the Devils would not only not get any rebounds; but they made sure they got first to the puck to turn up ice.
A great team effort that starts with Danis, who -- Eureka! -- kept Islanders killer Son of Parise off the board despite six shots. Alas, despite the win, the Islanders are officially eliminated from James Mirtle's playoff push tracker, as even running the table would get them no more than 88 points. Ha.
With Chris Campoli gone, Scott Gordon again relied heavily on his top four defensemen: Mark Streit, Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek and Bruno Gervais all logging at least 22 minutes. He's easing Jack Hillen (the future Campoli?) and Joe Callahan in.
Danis has always had the tools -- the knock from Gordon has been those back-breaking stinker goals. But if Danis can put consistency together with those tools, the Islanders (or some free agent suitor) may just have something here.
Greg Logan pulled this from Mark Streit (himself no stranger to the long route to earning respect) on seeing Danis blocked by others in Montreal:
"I saw him play really well," Streit said. "His first game was in Atlanta, and he had a shutout. But it was tough for him with Theo and Huet and Price ahead of him. Sometimes, you've got to be patient and wait for your shot."
Beyond Danis, the highlights were four goals from four separate scorers who needed it: Kyle Okposo, because he is a beast who shall score regularly in accordance with the prophecies; Sean Bergenheim, who needs to unlock his long-salivated-over potential; Bill Guerin, who hadn't scored in nine games; and Jon Sim -- his second goal in as many games -- who could do us all a favor by going on a mini-tear and duping some playoff contender into giving us a 6th-round pick for him.
As for the fan-initiated Lighthouse Project "whiteout," let's just say it wasn't a playoff game in Winnipeg. But on TV, the white shirts that were there did pop on the screen (because I was looking for them, or because they really stood out? Impossible to say). Considering it was something conceived and initiated by a few fans within the last few weeks -- and zero media attention -- I give a teacher's pet 'B+' for effort.
According to Islanders Outsider's live blog of the game, Kate Murray's phone-it-in message to the crowd was drowned out by boos. Nice. I'll close the recap of this strange night with Outsider's zinger about Murray's predictable absence and the curious ToH choice to stand in:
To answer the $4 billion question, tonight's ceremonial puck drop will be performed by...Don Clavin, Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes. I'm not sure choosing the tax guy was the best way to avoid provoking a hostile reaction to the local government representative...
Besides the aqueducts, the irrigation, the sanitation ... what have the Romans ever done for us?