Let us pause now and admire the 2009-10 Islanders' commitment to a balanced record.
If 5-5-5 was pretty, then 6-6-5 begs for an OT loss Wednesday against the Capitals, who have a history of handing OTLs to the Isles.
You knew something was up when scoring opened with Andy Sutton down low, making like John Tavares by slipping Tavares's pass to his backhand and going top shelf on Ondrej Pavelec.
Dwayne Roloson let Thrashers phenom Zach Bogosian tie it on a weak stick-side goal (a favor Pavelec would return early in the 2nd for Blake Comeau, one of three Islanders who got off the schneid). Both Sutton's and Bogosian's goals were results of their young coaches encouraging their defensemen to jump up in the play, which makes things a little more entertaining than, say, Islanders-Devils.
Thankfully, 1-1 was as close as it got.
Because then: Sean Bergenheim with his 1st goal of the season, knocking in a rebound by driving to the net. Jack Hillen with his 1st goal (4-on-4), on a nicely placed screen slap shot. Comeau with his 1st goal (also 4-on-4), for the aforementioned Pavelec wave. Matt Moulson (on another sweet Tavares pass) with his team-leading 7th, and then to complete scoring in the 3rd, Josh Bailey with his newly assertive shot from the slot on the powerplay.
At home, on a Saturday, for the last home game before the Thanksgiving holiday, that's just what the doctor ordered.
Despite the loss of Radek Martinek for the year and Doug Weight for at least a week, I expected a good effort. But I didn't expect an explosion like that, even against rather free-wheeling Atlanta.
Freddy Meyer Steps In
Solid game from Freddy Meyer, who stepped in for Martinek with his first game since Oct. 22. We know what we get in Meyer: Never stellar but often a nice fill-in (truthfully, a good 7th man in that way), he deceives you with his size and can deliver hits like this:
I don't expect that all the time -- consistency is hard at this level -- but with Meyer it's nice to know you'll get the occasional unforgiving check to keep the opposition honest.
Meanwhile, with the scoring spread out evenly, you know who had the prettiest night on the scoresheet? Nate Thompson, with two assists and a +2 (Tavares, with his two assists, was only +1). Ha.
The Islanders won this game -- or the Thrashers lost it -- in the first period, with the Isles outshooting Atlanta 21-11. Bogosian's tying goal turned out to hardly be deflating, and the Islanders answered right back to close out the period 3-1. Said Atlanta coach John Anderson:
"We just didn't come ready to play," Anderson said. "Our first three or four shifts were good, but after that, we were nonexistent out there. I have to give them a lot of credit for the way they played after a hard loss last night. They came back and played very, very hard."
Comeau opened the 2nd to make it 4-1, and the Isles were on their way. Final shots were 45-34 for the Isles. This year's first meeting of the NHL's aggressive young coaches goes to Scott Gordon.
Before a November-defining seven-game road trip, the Islanders get a rest before their next game in Washington Wednesday. But don't go away; we'll have some more wonky posts, as well as an epic tome about the RBK effect in the days ahead.
And of course -- as always -- if there are ideas ruminating in your head, have at it with a FanPost to keep the rest of us warm.