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Sens meet the Reign of Freddy Meyer IV

Freddy Meyer IV was once viewed as an offensive defenseman prospect in the Flyers system. By his recollection, he even had two hat tricks in the minors, where he racked up points in the Phantoms' run to the 2004-05 AHL title. His first sizable season with the Flyers, 6-21-27 in 57 games, didn't detract from his own expectations, but injury and the rise and acquisition of other (often phyaically larger) Flyers defensemen lessened his role and eventually made him expendable.

Not having a surplus of such assets, the Islanders happily took him and a 3rd-round pick in return for offloading the overpaid, underperforming Alexei Zhitnik in 2006-07 (funny how that seemed like a steal, before the Flyers duped Atlanta into giving up Braydon Coburn for Zhitnik later that year). But a glut of D-men in 2007-08 camp -- including the return of Bryan Berard on a training camp tryout -- subjected Meyer to a waiver claim from Phoenix.

Still, the Islanders have always liked the good soldier Meyer -- both his skill and the way he's handled himself despite periods of healthy scratches and the waiver yo-yo. So a month later the Isles claimed Meyer back on re-entry waivers, and he's been a dependable (if not always used) go-to asset ever since. He's almost so dependable that he gets taken for granted while teams occasionally try to figure out if they have something better.

Fitting, then, that he should return from hernia surgery this season and have a career night in his third game back, grabbing two goals and an assist in the Isles' 4-2 win over the Senators.

These weren't cheap points, but an example of what Meyer can bring: A shot tipped by Andy Hilbert for a goal; a rebound goal thanks to his driving the net in a Go-Go-Gordon breakout that he started behind the Islanders' net; and a heavy shot from the point through traffic high stick side. The only thing missing was an earth-shattering hit, which he's able to throw from time to time despite his 5'10", 192 lbs. frame.

After a return to their third-period struggles in losses to the Penguins and in Boston, this was a refreshing example of closing a game out -- at the end of six games in nine nights.

The Islanders again entered the third with a lead, but this time Meyer's second goal helped them extend it and grab their third victory over the Senators this season. They allowed one back on a beautiful give-and-go by Daniel Alfredsson, but they by and large did not suffer from the same passive departure from Gordon's system that has doomed them in other blown late leads. An empty-netter by Trent Hunter, his 10th goal, iced it with a minute left.

Part in thanks to Meyer, who seems to return to the spotlight just when you've forgotten about him. When the Isles get all their D-men back healthy, Meyer may very well be a healthy scratch again. But if that happens, no doubt they'll soon need him again, and he'll return to the lineup to deliver another surprise or two.