For a fanbase that -- 76 games into Rebuild, Year 1 -- is largely just hoping to secure the best lottery ball at this point, last night's game was an ideal scenario: Minus team MVP Mark Streit, the Islanders got goals from their youngsters and put up two leads on a Cup hopeful, testing the Capitals at home and forcing them to come back via two power plays that were giftwrapped from the officials, with love.
In the end, a good game and not even a "loser" point accumulated to mess with the lottery standings. Frankly, I'd rather gather our remaining points when it can really hurt a team -- like tonight against Montreal...
I don't want to make too much of the refs' rulings. The Josh Bailey "goal" was rightly waived off; it was just a cruel addendum to also give Tim Jackman an interference penalty when Tom Poti essentially "drew the charge" by standing him up on the way to the net, then allowing both of them to topple into Jose Theodore.
But the scramble at 9:26 of the third: Brooks Laich, really? Next time the players union in all its sincerity brings up hits to the head, I will remember that Laich's response to Doug Weight's great play to box him away from the Islander net is to slug Weight in the back of the head. The message: "Yeah, we care about concussions ... on our own team. But if I don't get my way, I'm suckering you from behind." You go, buddy.
Anyway, somehow the Islanders ended up shorthanded after the ensuing face-wash and shove festival, and Laich got off scot free, to add an extra degree of absurdity to things. The Islanders PK failed to hold, and the Norris-caliber Mike Green scored on both PP opportunities (his 29th and 30th) to reverse the 3-2 Islanders lead -- part of a third-period shot barrage that you knew was coming from the Caps.
Links, notes and video after the jump.
...Poor Joe Callahan. That really was an ugly turnover to create Keith Aucoin's goal. Brendan Witt was not innocent, though, losing sight of the fat rebound that Joey MacDonald put back into the slot...
...Frans Nielsen: I know his goal was off his foot, but man what a difference a year makes. Last season I thought he was a smart defensive forward with hands, like Richard Park, but Scott Gordon got him to see a higher ceiling for himself, and this year has been a revelation...
... Speaking of Park, another well-crafted breakaway goal by the secret weapon...
...Great combo on the first goal -- Kyle Okposo with the shot through a screen, Josh Bailey with the sly movement to create that screen....
... MacDonald: insane save during the frenzied scramble when it was still 3-2. Not quite the same failing to fight through the screen on Green's seeing-eye go-ahead goal.
- Newsday: Minus Striet, Scott Gordon continued to experiment -- this time with D pairings.
- The Capitals side of things at Japers' Rink.
- 7th Woman says we're last, but we ain't easy.
- Forever1940 has the stat run-down. A top 4 pick is now clinched.
Tune in later for a look at tonight's Coliseum guests, Montreal.