Rick DiPietro made a bushel of great saves, showed good side-to-side movement, and kept the Islanders in the game through another lifeless first period from the squad in front of him. He also made non-shot-stopping-related decisions that led to two Bruins goals. It is the yin and yang of the DiPietro Experience, and Isles fans know it well.
The Islanders actually made a game of it in the final two periods -- the Bruins' insurance goals were empty-net filler. And even after his gaffes (a puck-over-the-glass clear that led to a converted 5-on-3, then a run from the net to prevent a shorthanded breakaway that he instead cleared right into the scorer's shinguards), DiPietro held the fort with more quality saves.
That team that played in front of him in periods two and three? They could actually win some games. But even that team's margin for error is thin, so when they dig an early hole, or when the goalie tries to do too much to compensate -- or both -- you get another frustrating loss where the game was "close" but only tied for a fraction of the game.
Questions, Laments, Pivotal Moments
- It was a silly call -- there were many, actually -- that put Mark Eaton in the box. It was a silly clear by DiPietro -- you could see him thinking, "I'm going to help the PK and clear this myself," before he waited, aimed...and fired it over the glass to make it a 5-on-3. Radek Martinek took a Zdeno Chara shot on the wrist, and I have no idea how he returned. It hurt so bad he collapsed on the ice on a 5-on-3 kill. Milan Lucic scored off the ensuing faceoff, even after a crosscheck that went uncalled. But Blake Comeau lost the battle for position in the slot with Lucic, and goal.
- Chara also hit John Tavares with a shot in the third, and JT only saw a sliver of ice time in the waning minutes. That Chara guy is a meany-poo.
- Opening the second period, Frans Nielsen draws a penalty shot on the PK -- which he converts with the Danish Backhand of Judgment. Then the Isles get a PP. Forget that they haven't scored on the powerplay since back when "Terriers" had a chance of being renewed -- this is a chance for a massive momentum swing, no? No. Shorthanded loose puck, which DP came out to play to make sure it didn't become a breakaway, and instead of to open space he tries the near side, which Brad Marchand reads, blocks, picks up the loose puck and calmly slides it into the empty net as DP and James Wisniewski look on in resignation.
- Zenon Konopka fought Adam McQuaid. (Draw-ish?) Trevor Gillies fought Shawn Thornton. (Decision to Gillies, I think.)
- Wisniewski's minutes were back up over 22 minutes, with four on the PP. Travis Hamonic got 19:36, with nearly two minutes on the PP. Andrew MacDonald saw a lot of PP time (3:35) but fired wide and off the glass way too often.
- In predictable tease-like fashion -- really, ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles predicted it dead-on -- the Isles conceded an insurance goal after another weak call, but then potted one back as Rob Schremp Hockey settled a rebound and buried it with 3:33 left, only to fall short and give up an EN goal (which, shockingly, came after the Isles' open-man was wrestled to the ice without a glance from the zebras). (By the way, that's not to pretend the officials lost this; just observing a really weakly called game throughout.)
- It's been said a few times, and I know we just had a post mentioning it, but Hamonic is making safe, smart plays. He's seeing opportunities to be physical and doing it. He's doing a lot of good things that make you hope this 2nd-rounder pick will pan out as billed. He's refreshing to watch right now.
- Jesse Joensuu had his moments on that line with Tavares and Moulson. He had jump tonight. I'm unsure what to make of the combo overall, as I feel like I'm comparing used cars in a flea market; making my understanding worse, JT has been quiet lately.
- Even-strength shots were 29-24 for the Isles; PP was 0 for 3 while the Bruins went 2 for 5 (including the 5-on-3 conversion).
- Les Beaver not only won the First Islanders Goal pool, he nailed Frans with the very first pick.
- I know I'm missing a lot after another frustrating night, so fill 'er in via comments.
Bottom Line: The Islanders have won one of their last 19 games. They haven't scored on the powerplay in 57 years. Atlanta is next, Saturday night at home.