Preseason: Half-Islanders Swept by Half-Flames in Calgary, Regina

Purely out of habit, Miikka puts his uni on just to get that "rancid equipment smell" again. - Bruce Bennett

Just to re-iterate, because I know that Jump To Conclusions mat is in the corner waiting for you to dust it off: You learned nothing.

There was an empty net goal conceded, goals from familiar sources like John Tavares and Michael Grabner, two goals against each for all four goalies, plus a whole lot of other things less familiar but randomly appropriate for preseason as the New York Islanders lost not once, but twice to the Flames in Western Canada Tuesday night.

If you combine all the half-games, er, half-rosters' full games, then the Isles lost 9-5 on aggregate, and all those away goals went to waste. But I don't think they do it that way, not even in preseason.

Calgary: 3-5 (EN)

Lines for this one, for posterity:

Forwards
12 Josh Bailey – 51 Frans Nielsen – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 16 Peter Regin – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
56 John Persson – 61 Riley Wetmore – 38 Chris Bruton
77 Kirill Kabanov – 72 Jason Clark – 49 Justin Johnson

Defensemen
47 Andrew MacDonald – 46 Matt Donovan
44 Calvin de Haan – 7 Matt Carkner
8 Griffin Reinhart – 6 Ryan Pulock

Goaltenders
60 Kevin Poulin
45 Anders Nilsson

The Calgary faction lost 5-3 (including an empty-netter after they pulled back to 4-3) after goals on a partial break by Grabner, a snapshot by Griffin Reinhart, and a goal from Bridgeport-bound UMass-Lowell product Riley Wetmore after Matt Donovan made one of his nifty offensive forays.

Grabner's goal 3:20 into the game was the first tally of the night before Calgary's Calgary faction (got that?) reeled off four consecutive second-period goals.

The official site reported shots as 30-21 in favor of Calgary, and even that may be flattery. Neither goalie prospect stood on his head, with Kevin Poulin giving up two goals on 16 shots (and getting some help from his posts) and Anders Nilsson conceding two on 13 shots as they split the game. In defense of both goalies, the puck spent a lot of time in the Isles' end.

Of note, Cal Clutterbuck hit some things and took a minor but left this game early after what seemed like a skate cut. Hopefully not of the serious variety (didn't sound like it, but check in the morning), but if it ends up keeping him out at all, then ... early prospect/roster decisions made easy!

The Isles posted a brief recap of this one (with video) here.

Honestly, the most impressive thing of the night was that this game happened at all, given how much water and devastation hit the Saddledome in Calgary earlier this summer. What a rehab.

Regina: 2-4

Lines for this one, for posterity:

Forwards
26 Matt Moulson - 91 John Tavares - 96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard
18 Ryan Strome - 29 Brock Nelson - 27 Anders Lee
17 Matt Martin - 53 Casey Cizikas - 13 Colin McDonald
36 Eric Boulton - 28 Johan Sundstrom - 59 Brett Gallant

Defensemen
37 Brian Strait - 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey  - 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
55 Aaron Ness - 52 Joe Finley

Goaltenders
20 Evgeni Nabokov
35 Ken Reiter

In Regina no empty-netter was needed for the two-goal final margin of 4-2, with Tavares and Matt Moulson each tallying power play goals for the Isles, Moulson via Tavares and Lubomir Visnovsky. The official shot tally there was 38-23 for Calgary, and 24-13 after two periods.

In the nets in Regina, Evgeni Nabokov and Kenny Reiter also split duties, Nabokov giving up two goals on 16 shots, Reiter coming in for the second half to give up two on 22 shots.

Many from outside the area (those who are not fans of "The Hudsucker Proxy" amirite?) were blocked from even the stream. But who can follow two games with half rosters anyway, eh?

The official Islanders Twitter gamely kept people up to date using two different hashtags: #IslesRGA for the Regina game, ##IslesCGY for the game in Calgary. The Flames official site has a Regina update here, and a Calgary boxscore there.

The Islanders posted a brief recap with some quotes from Tavares here.

Up Next: Thursday in Newark

All in all, no matter how much you saw or read or even Tweeted, you're as well off reading into post-game comments and moves tomorrow as you are divining meaning from this. No doubt the team too is just looking for little things rather than drawing grand conclusions from tonight's events.

But that's early preseason for you, and the real joy is that hockey is back -- this time, without a soul-crushing, "why do I bother?" lockout standing in your way.

The next game is in New Jersey Thursday before the big Brooklyn exhibition against the Devils on Saturday. By then we'll know a wee bit more ... until then we'll speculate a great deal more.

Chuckle-Worthy Tweets from LHH

Fun with hockey cliches:

Fun with the (expected) doormat of the moment:

Fun with age-old themes:

Hockey, people.

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