It was a team that is playing loose and pressure-free entering the third with a lead, versus a team that went into the third period trailing by one but knowing exactly what needed to be done.
The Hurricanes received a nice break to get that late Tuomo Ruutu goal in the second to pull within one. (I can't believe it was allowed, given the goaltender bum-rush/interference by Erik Cole -- part of a night of officiating frustration for the Isles.) Credit to the Canes for seizing that break and making the Islanders pay in the third, giving themselves an essential two points.
A few quick thoughts on this one:
- Great hands from Richard Park once again. Bruno Gervais, too (Mike joked in the game thread about Streit's influence rubbing off on Gervais too much with that great pinch).
- Peter Mannino responded well after a rough start, mishandling the puck on the first Canes goal.
- Another good night for kids Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen ... and of course, vet Mark Streit, per usual.
- The Islanders comeback was nice -- but of course their inability to hold on to it mitigates that satisfaction.
- Lottery-wise, this was a bonus: We saw some offense, and we lost a close one. It feels bad to blow the lead, but ... there could be a greater good at work.
Some cross-promotion notes: The Islanders play Ottawa for the first time since the Chris Campoli trade today. In recognition, Peter from SBN's Senators blog Silver Seven and I are trading our perspectives on the deal. You can see mine over at Silver Seven, and he should have a response over here today. As always, you're encouraged to weigh in with your own opinion at either place.
Also, before today's game, I'll be a guest on today's Hockey Night on Long Island at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Just talkin' Isles hockey with Alex and Steve. You can listen in -- and call, or chat (or both) -- through the link below: