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Islanders 5*, Coyotes 4 (*SO): Hat tip to Tippett, big night for Bailey

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So that's why the Islanders were on an unending second-period powerplay? Incredible.

I was at home, hosting family for a delayed holiday gathering, so I could only check in on the action and the game thread periodically. On two of those check-ins, I saw John Tavares receive cheapshots and the Islanders score seconds afterward (once, Kyle Okposo quickly converted on the delayed penalty; the other, Mark Streit did the same immediately on the ensuing powerplay).

Game Sum. | Event Sum. | Corsi | Recaps: | Isles

Final - 1.9.2010 1 2 3 OT SO Total
New York Islanders 2 2 0 0 1 5
Phoenix Coyotes 1 0 3 0 0 4

Complete Coverage >

I'm not going to pretend that the Islanders powerplay, charitably 2 for 5, has suddenly found God. But if the Islanders can ever actually count on punishing teams via PP when they take liberties with The Future, that would be a nice little deterrent. Frankly, it cracked em up that the Coyotes were sending dirty messages to the young Tavares, because had they looked at film -- or even a stat sheet -- they'd have known that lately opponents can just let him sleep.

Surprising Pleasures

Nice to see Streit score from the point again -- that's the shot we saw much of last season. Fantastic to see Josh Bailey also score from the point, inside the post, to make those dirty dogs pay. Sounds like he's believing what people have said about his shot all along. And Blake Comeau's sniper shot, wow; sent over the blueline by a subtle Rob Schremp Hockey feed.

So in sum: With the benefit of Tippett's accidental extended powerplay and the Coyotes' lack of discipline -- er, um, sending a non-conference rookie "a message" -- we get Okposo scoring another goal since his Olympic snub, slumping Tavares picking up an assist, and Bailey having a banner night with a goal and two assists. The three of them, from what I saw, looked quite lovely together.

Old Man and the Crease

And Dwayne Roloson, man Dwayne Roloson: Sounds like a lot of league fans don't like him, whether because he's grouchy or because he sells goaltender interference. But I love watching this guy play. Here you have a man, at 40, nearing "the end" by age but not by performance. And he is not taking a single second for granted. In OT, during the Isles most patient shift, they worked the puck back into their zone to try to create the roller-hockey style breakout that the NHL's 4-on-4 OT has perpetuated.

Except a tenacious Coyotes forechecker (I forget who) wouldn't let them break out, so the Isles had to keep going back to their own corner, behind their net, and in front of their goal. And through it all, Roloson took no chances: He was going down to protect low, he was tracking the puck, he was in save position for every moment even though that Coyote forechecker never once had possession of the puck. This is something every goalie should do, all the time, to protect against the unexpected turnover. Except they don't always do it, which is why sudden near-net turnovers so often turn into goals: The goalie wasn't expecting his teammate to do that.

Sometimes, as most who think about life know, it's not until your close to losing something that you know to treat every second with it like it's your last. Whether or not that's the cause, Roloson treats his time in the crease that way. He's not taking anything for granted.

This and That

  • Matt Moulson, shootout winner. Who'da thunk?
  • Frans Nielsen, with the automatic backhand deke, evading Jason Labarbara's pokecheck: Money.
  • Brendan Witt sat for Freddy Meyer, who was minus-1 in 11:44 with one hit and one block. We have movement.
  • The roster decision: Still not solved by any convenient injury. Harumph.
  • Ed Jovanovski: Amazing that a guy can be in the league this long and not know how to check without sticking the elbow out like a jouster on a horse. Or was that just a dirty-arse hit from a dirty-arse player? Nah... Lovely karma that it was his game misconduct that led the Coyotes to forget to put a different dick in the box.

So despite blowing that lead and resorting to the breakaway drill bonus round, the Islanders got four of six points on this road trip. They're in 10th in the East, two points behind the 8th-place Canadiens with one game in hand. Wild.