Ahhh, so frustrating when the team returns home after three consecutive road wins to a receptive home crowd only to see the game cast adrift within the first 10 minutes. With the Bruins up 3-0 by the 9:04 mark on a couple of soft goals past Nathan Lawson, there's not much to evaluate. The Islanders had to chase the game for the next 50 minutes and did so, outshooting the Bruins 36-25 the rest of the way -- but not before letting Boston extend the lead to 4-0 in the opening minute of the second period. The Bruins' cushy lead afforded them the luxury of withstanding that and taking the counterattack chances to win going away.
In the quite modest feel-good department, John Tavares added two more goals and Josh Bailey scored for the second consecutive game off another blistering shot from the top of the circles. ...And that's about it. Michael Grabner's six-game goal streak ended, and Jack Capuano mixed lines periodically to try to jar a comeback. But the issue was another slow start -- from the goalie on to the forwards -- and down 6-2 by the second intermission, the Isles weren't about to make it a fourth consecutive third period comeback win.
Blake Comeau had two assists, and I thought he and Bailey and a few other forwards generally had good nights. But again, that's all part of the throw-the-kitchen-sink comeback brigade. Teams with big leads can afford to give you several chances to climb back, because scoring in hockey is hard, more so with Tuukka Rask in goal.
Bruno Gervais returned the lineup and was minus-2 (1 GF, 2 GA), though the first goal that squeaked by Lawson was hardly his fault, and the second went off his man (Mark Recchi), but it was Recchi's skate, so...well anyway. Gervais also set up what was nearly a Tavares gimme in the third with a heavy shot from the point, deflected by Matt Moulson and straight to JT with a gaping net albeit a bad angle.
- Speaking of Tavares, he made Zdeno Chara look silly on both of his goals. The first one down the right wing, Tavares somehow eluded the solar eclipse that is Chara's range on the left side, then deposited a "John Tavares, best 2009 prospect from the circles to the goal line" sniper shot over Rask's shoulder. The second JT goal was in garbage time, an easy rebound that was more a case of Chara ball-watching because it didn't really matter at that point and Chara can afford to save his energy for
when Kaberle arrivesthe playoffs.
- That second JT goal was set up by a nice heavy shot from Jack Hillen, who also was flying and mobile all night. Did I mention it was all moot?
- Tavares is now one off of last year's goal total, and five off of last year's point total.
- I have no idea why Zenon Konopka -- "Zenopka" Andrew MacDonald called him on the radio feed's Q&A -- got the extra two minutes in the fight two minutes into the game. (Katie Strang reports Zeke was accused of "pre-meditated" fighting. Okay.) I've got some idea why Micheal Haley got a 10-minute misconduct in the second. (Strang says it was for repeatedly challenging Gregory Campbell to fight. Heh, now why Campbell I wonder...?)
- There weren't any special teams opportunities to speak of, because they weren't needed. This is what happens when the game gets out of hand before your seat is warm. (Well, unless it's Pittsburgh, and they start a fight at 3-0, and then another one, but it's okay because it's them and...I'll stop now.)
- Jack Edwards is just awful, awful, awful. I can appreciate Brick's analysis though -- it's just a shame it's stuffed inside that sideshow. Going from Center Ice feed to the car and Chris King was like coming up for air.
- I don't care if Recchi's goal went in off his skate, it's still awesome to see an old man score. Just his 11th of the season, his spot in his career reminds me of Trots when he finished out with the Penguins: Not a ton of points anymore (by his lofty standard), but a wily, crafty ol' bastard.
Again, some of the above offensive moments are nice but of course made rather moot by the Islanders' awful start, an all too familiar occurrence over the last month. That issue is made worse by the goaltending tandem right now, who don't appear likely to steal a lot of saves early in games. With the injury situation, they're sure to get more chances to prove otherwise though, so buckle up. Kings areup next, Saturday night.
I mentioned the other day it's nice to see the forward lines coming together, but it comes at a time when the other half of the squad is at its most suspect. With the decimated blueline and goaltending, the Isles need some good fortune to give the forwards something to work with. No such fortune tonight.
Bonus link from the game thread: "Frans Nielsen Rules the World." Well...I mean, duh!
FIG Winner: I believe Mike is right in saying Russel Ginart is the night's FIG winner.