Pretty crazy to hit three posts and outshoot the opposition 14-1 in the 2nd period and only emerge from it tied 2-2. That par result was thanks to the Devils' only 2nd-period shot bouncing past Rick DiPietro during the final minute of the period. Of course, follow that up by allowing the Devils to control things in the third (outshooting the Islanders 14-3), and that's what you get: A 4-2, tough-luck loss and missed opportunity.
Sincere thanks to everyone in the game thread in my absence. I saw Garth Snow, Doug Weight (and even Neil Smith! Seriously?) were brought up, and I must say I don't quite follow that. The Islanders are building something here that takes years, something no single game changes. From what I saw on replay, it looked like a game that could have easily gone the other way. I'm not going to cry over a team that's gone 7-3 in its last 10 games.
As for Weight: Well, he's respected in the locker room, his return to the lineup has been a boost, and at no point in his career has he been a major goalscorer -- no reason to expect him to start tallying goals at age 39. (Of Weight's 1,017 NHL points, 275 are goals.) Oh, and the Isles are 7-3-1 since he returned to the lineup Dec. 31.
My focus turns to Sean Bergenheim -- thankfully he returned to the game. So ... automatic two-game suspension for Colin White, right? That's the standard established earlier this week by Colin Campbell's team? At least the Islanders got to work on that major powerplay, converting twice on slightly broken plays (John Tavares's muffed pass to Kyle Okposo converted, Jack Hillen's shot trickling over the line.)
Not much more to add for this one since I'm recapping on the run. But I saw Chris Botta noted that the Isles got an extra 22 seconds on the 5-minute major because Jacques Lemaire didn't have White's replacement in the box. Really now ... really now ... twice in the same season for the Isles? Just bizarre. I must confess, sometimes long-established NHL coaches are just far smarter than I.
The first period was tepid, and the third period was a blown chance to build off the success in the second. I mention the Islanders' hitting the iron, but the Devils won two periods of this contest. The Isles didn't apply their game for a full 60 minutes. Still, this one will go down as a missed opportunity -- hopefully, an early lesson for a team that's building something that goes well beyond this year.
Now the Islanders have an almost luxurious two days off in this Olympic year before the Capitals visit Tuesday in Andy Sutton's return.