There's just something about the Devils at Nassau Coliseum. How else do you explain the Islanders breaking out of their slump, looking like a solid team, and getting goals from rare scorers Jon Sim (it was even from beyond six feet!), Freddy Meyer and Sean Bergenheim? The Islanders also converted on a powerplay again -- and went 100% on the PK for the first time in seven games, even adding a bonus shortie from Sean Bergenheim.
I guess the bigger news, big picture-wise, was Josh Bailey's return to center, where he didn't appear to lose any of his mojo that he built up while excelling on left wing. Could replacement for Rob Schremp's injury be as simple as this, the off-season center depth discussion returning to the intrigue of last summer? We'll see.
The third period really, really had the look of "here we go again," complete with an early Ilya Kovalchuk tally (heh, more on him later) to pull the Devils within one, as well as Dylan Reese's double-minor for high-sticking. But the Isles withstood the Devils' comeback attempt and even got the bounce they often need but seldom get in the form of Bergie's trickling insurance goal on that Devils powerplay. Dwayne Roloson took care of the rest.
This and That
- Kovalchuk's desperate dive at the Islanders blueline while manning the point on the powerplay was simply hilarious, enabling the Comeau-Bergenheim 2-on-1. Every team who uses a forward at the point takes a risk, but that one was something that should just never happen in the NHL.
- Cool to hear a good atmosphere and see a sizable crowd (15,583 reported) on a weekend where apocalyptic storms have hit the homes of both local Isles and Devils fans -- including, naturally, taking a few pieces off ye olde' Coliseum.
- Tim Jackman's switch from plastic to metal cage for his full face protection was jarring ... and yet somehow appropriate with the NCAA playoffs picking up this weekend. An assist for him on a smart play before Meyer's goal.
- Jeff Tambellini had 10:08 in his return, just 0:29 of it on the PP. He was credited with five hits.
- Kyle Okposo, Bailey and Bergenheim saw lots of time against men named Parise and Kovalchuk ... and lived to tell about having two regulation points at the end of the night.
- Mr. Freddy Meyer IV, he has been impressive lately. He always has periods of showing flashes like this -- including being the most dependable hit-deliverer now that Sutton's gone. It's what makes him a very useful depth defenseman.
- This loss kept the Devils from taking back first place in the Atlantic from Pittsburgh, who they beat Friday night. That's kinda cool.
- No matter what, Yann Danis playing so absolutely seldom is tough for any goalie. That's probably the extent of my sympathy, but it's hard to fault a goalie in those circumstances.
Thanks to those who kept the fire burning in the game thread. On nights when I have to catch the game on DVR hyperspeed replay, it's always fun to come back and see everyone's real-time impressions of the game.
Don't forget: There are afternoon games a plenty today (Sunday), starting with Washington and Chicago at 12:30 and continuing with some 3 p.m. games. The Leafs visit the Islanders at 5 p.m. -- and daylight savings starts before then.