Just another night -- albeit later than usual -- where Joey MacDonald makes 40-some-odd saves (42 this time) and the Islanders turn a three-goal, third-period deficit into something prettier for the boxscore. Despite the official site's persistent sugarcoating, this too little, too late comeback work after the opposition takes its mid-game nap is no solace.
First-period shots were something disastrous like 16-4. At least the Sharks have tallied 40+ shots 12 other times this season, though.
The Islanders pulled to within one at 4-3 with just over a minute left. This woke the Sharks for one final minute of work, during which the Isles never threatened and the Sharks finally notched the empty-netter by batting a bouncing puck past a comically exploding confetti of sprawling Islanders.
Thankfully, I missed the weaker first half of the game live. As I soon discovered via NHL On the Fly, there was far more interesting hockey elsewhere last night:
- There was the back-and-forth Canada-Russia WJC semifinal, which unfortunately ended in a shootout.
- Then in Smurfland, Wade Redden took exception to a great, textbook, separate-body-from-puck check by Chris Clark, then crosschecked, fought and TKO'd Clark. Marc Staal, too, took weak exception and fought ... Alex Semin -- the sight of Semin flailing away [video above] half-nude and chicken-winged is not to be missed.
- Keeping with the awkward-fight theme, Sidney Crosby took on Panther Brett McLean off a faceoff, where McLean didn't get the memo that they were fighting. Also in that game, hot-under-the-collar Michel Therrien pulled his 'keepers twice -- then ripped them both in the post-game. Keep an eye on Pittsburgh. Even last year's run to the final gave me no faith Therrien would be around long.
Wait, were we talking about the Islanders? And strange fights? Doug Weight, fresh off 1000 points, decided to begin the march toward 1000 PIMs -- he's 78 short -- by fighting Christian Erhoff after Erhoff chucked Mark Streit in the back of the head following Streit's elbow of Erhoff, which followed Erhoff pinching Streit's tush along the boards. Or something like that.
And speaking of just plain odd freaking role playing, Tim Jackman netted one of the Islander goals -- his second -- by picking a corner as if Jackman is his name and sniping is his game. Naturally, Richard Park scored his third goal in as many periods. Truer to form, Jackman fought and was taken down by Alexei Semenov, a hulking beast who should not be mistaken for the "lazy" featherweight Alexander Selivanov who married Phil Esposito's daughter.
I don't know how to make sense of any of it. It's late, and I've acquired that numb-to-the-unrelenting-losing feeling, which may require a call to my physician for penicillin. There's an unrelated Rangers video in this game recap. All I know is there was a lot of great hockey yesterday, and I missed most of it.