The Islanders survived a first period marked by lethargy and three consecutive Lightning powerplays (giving up a goal on one), then turned play around in the second and third to make this mostly evenly played, well survived and deserved OT win. John Tavares, converted a rebound of James Wisniewski's shot to net the game winner and shed a dose of frustration from his back. Dwayne Roloson got some luck to keep it at 1-0 early, then made the big saves the rest of the way.
The Islanders were outshot 16-3 in that first period and never got any rhythm amid all the penalty taking (Trevor Gillies, Travis Hamonic, Milan Jurcina) and penalty killing. But the second and third were both 10-9 for the Isles, the OT period was 5-1 for the Isles, and shots at even strength overall were just 26-25 for Tampa Bay (including the 4-on-4 OT).
Josh Bailey, in his return after 11 games in the AHL, was a welcome sight on Frans Nielsen's wing, creating multiple chances and turning Victor Hedman around for a pretty move I can't ever remember seeing from Bailey in his previous 159 NHL games. Jack Capuano praised Bailey's effort and versatility, and he earned the team's "hard hat" award.
In sum, the Isles rebounded from a bad first period and got some bounces that have eluded them for quite a while, to the tune of a narrow OT win and a three-game point streak.
Random Notes of Elation
- I thought the game depended on the Isles surviving those penalties in the first (I personally thought the Jurcina one, the third call, was a weak call for two guys driving to the Isles net)...
- ...However, bigger than that, probably, was P.A. Parenteau converting a sweet John Tavares pass from behind the goal line for with just 17 seconds left in the second period. Instead of going into the third down a goal and tempted to cheat even more to equalize, they had an even score and played a strong third...
- ...Which included a fantastic early penalty kill on a(nother!) Gillies penalty, on which Frans Nielsen had two shorthanded scoring chances and -- though shooting wide on the first one -- got his wide-shooting rear back into the Isles zone before the Lightning could take advantage of the uneven numbers.
- Mark Eaton returned and was solid, I thought. He led the team in TOI with 22:25, including 5:21 shorthanded.
- Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, even James Wisniewski -- 20-minute men, all of them. Radek Martinek were the only two D-men under 20, with close to 19 minutes each. Martinek's last shift was with 4:32 left in the third -- no shifts in OT -- so hopefully that doesn't mean anything.
- Roloson: Again, some excellent saves, some fine luck when the Lightning were peppering but missing wide. I can't help noting he stopped Lightning PP dump-ins and left teed the puck up to let his D blast it out of the zone.
- Faceoffs: Old friend Nate Thompson was 10-3 on faceoffs. Bailey was 1-4. Rob Schremp was 7-8. John Tavares was 5-11. Zenon Konopka led the Isles at 9-5. Okay, enough faceoff data.
- We don't have a photo in the stream yet (but we may by the time you read this), but Tavares's goal celebration was part-elation, part-relief. Finally, one went his way.
- Amusing to see Isles fans take up the #danellisproblems cause in post-game celebrations. Some things will never die, nor should they. However, say what we will about him, the Isles forced some big saves out of Ellis tonight.
- Transmission? It appears many were blocked out of the game for the first period or so thanks to cable issues with transmitting MSG+. Feel free to unload on your cable provider -- who is unfailingly a villain in my book -- here.
- FIG: 19holekc is our FIG winner, with his pick of PAP.
Well, don't take my word for it. Have at it in comments. We'll be doing this again tomorrow vs. the Devils, with a special satirical post.