Islanders 7, Sabres 6 (OT): Grabner Hat Trick Powers Win

Wow, just Wow. Michael Grabner is forcing his way into Calder consideration. He is on a 5 game goal scoring streak, during which he's scored 9 goals. In the last 3 games he's scored 7 goals. In the last 5 games he has 11 points. It's getting to the point that when you see Grabner toasting the other teams defenders your surprised if he doesn't score. He picked the perfect time for a hat trick too, answering Drew Stafford's hat trick for the Sabres. It also helped as the Islanders defense was almost non-existent and Mikko Koskinen had one of his falling to earth games. Al Montoya wasn't pretty as he flopped around like Tommy Soderstrom, but he made an amazing save at the end of the game to force overtime.

The Islanders have now won three in a row, and have put up 19 goals in those games. I guess it'll be time to start yelling break up the Islanders. Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen both had 3 assists, Ty Wishart got his first NHL goal, both John Tavares and Milan Jurcina finished the night with a goal and assist. JT is now on a 5 game point streak with points in every game this month but one. He has 11 points in 7 games for February. Much like the game in Montreal this seemed time and again like a game they were going to do everything possible to lose. But they kept on fighting and coming back from behind for the win.

Game Sum | Event Sum | H2H | Corsi | Recaps: NHL - DBTB - Isles




Game Highlights

 

Game Notes

  • The Islanders are one of 2 teams in the NHL right now with 3 20+ goal scorers (h/t TMC)
  • The defense was weak, and it's not surprising to see that Andrew MacDonald played 30 minutes and was still a +1 for the game
  • Although the misconduct call on Travis Hamonic was questionable, his penalty with under 2 minutes and the game tied was awful on his part. Both Hamonic and MacDonald were back and Montoya already had the puck when he stiff armed Gerbe
  • The Islanders posted 20+ goals on Ryan Miller this year
  • Montoya and Mikko both faced 14 shots, with Mikko giving up 4 goals and Montoya giving up 2. Montoya probably starts the next game, but lets hope his play was due to him being cold. Otherwise people will be reminiscing about the games when Nathan Lawson was in net.
  • Not sure if the Islanders miss Jurcina more for his offense then his defense. That big shot from the point is great and tends to hit the net more often then Radek Martinek's shot.
  • The Sabres have only lost 6 games since a December 28th win over Edmonton. 3 of their losses have been to the Islanders.
  • Grabner has 9 more goals then anyone on the Panthers roster (h/t IPB)
  • Bruno Gervais was back to being his normal self (-1 in 16 minutes) and Rob Schremp continues to struggle in the defensive end (-1 in 11 minutes)

As I mentioned in the game recap for Pittsburgh, we're used to the Islanders crashing down to earth quickly after big wins. This wasn't a beautiful game, it wasn't the best played game. But in the end the Islanders came out with the win and that's all that matters. Hopefully when the season's over we can look back at this run of games and see how the team really started to come together. To Tank or Not To Tank is a question that comes up often around here, and I'm always on the side of not tanking. This team seems to be really coming together and overcoming adversity (which goalie is in net?) to get wins. With some better injury luck next year they might surprise some people.

It's stuff like this, Grabner's post game tweet and Moulson's response that really get's you excited about the future of the team:

Michael Grabner

 

Great game...showed some heart again and never gave up...congrats too Montoya to his W...now en route to Ottawa...no more underwood :( haha

 

All I have to say is @ is a freak of nature

With the Isles next game coming against the free falling Ottawa Senators, hopefully everyone can extend their streaks and the Isles can get to 4 straight wins.

For the Postscript, Mario Lemieux released a statement on the Penguins site responding to Campbell's decision.

"Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be. But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn’t hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.
 
"The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.
 
"We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players.  We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.
 
"If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it."

 

An almost immediate response (at least from fans from around the league) are pointing out the obvious hypocrisy in the Penguins employing Matt Cooke. Mario also had no problems back in his day when he was playing with Ulf Samuelsson and Darius Kasparaitis. We all love Kaspar here (thanks MM) but he wasn't giving the opposing players love taps. A twitter quotes an anonymous NHL Governor saying that if Mario wants to change the game he should show up at the meetings.

Snow responded to the suspensions (Via Newsday $5) and said he has no plans to appeal them. He did say he was surprised that only the Islanders were fined. And the Rangers beat the Pens 5-3 today.

An LHH Note: When I do the recaps the Islanders are now 3-0 with two hat tricks. Operation DomIsAJinx is set in action!

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