After five straight games of giving up the first goal (within the first five minutes of each game) the Islanders came out and had a great first period. A Two-On-None with John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau against Ryan Miller highlighted the period though, as the two had all day for a back and forth which did nothing to fool Miller who had a huge save on JT's shot. So cue the groans of Islander fans when the second period opened with a Thomas Vanek goal just 17 seconds into the period. Then cue the joy as JT in just under 6 minutes put up a natural hat trick (and don't forget Matt Moulson who had an assist on each goal). Blake Comeau finished the period with his fourth goal in five games to give the Isles a 4-1 lead going into the second intermission.
The third period went about as you expected, an early Sabres goal by Tyler Ennis pulled them within two. But thankfully for Islander fans the returning Rick Dipietro proved more then able to handle the third. Then Michael Grabner sizzled a beautiful short handed shot home (right before Matt Martin accidentally sent a Sabres defender into Miller) with under four minutes to go for the insurance goal.
Despite the two goals in the third, DP was in top form tonight, stopping 40 of 43 shots he faced. Credit deserves to be spread around though, as top pairing Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic had a great bounce back night after their struggles against the Senators. Bruno Gervais also had one of his best nights of the season (might explain his healthy scratch the other night) adding an assist to his solid defensive play.
- The Three stars on the night were interesting to say the least. Obviously JT was first star, but PAP was second star and Andy MacDonald was third star. You could make an argument for at least five Islanders being named stars tonight, but it was odd seeing either DP or Matt Moulson not being named stars. Great to see AMac get recognized though.
- First time in a while it feels like the Islanders played a full three periods, even though they were outshot 15-4 in the third. Whatever Cap did between last game and this he needs to keep doing.
- Not sure if it was noted in the Game Preview, but Kevin Poulin was backing up DP tonight.
- Tavares had 7 Shots, Grabner 6, Comeau and Moulson finished with 4 each.
- Radek Martinek, Macdonald and Hamonic were all over 20 minutes of ice time. Cap rolled all four lines and even managed to squeeze in hot hand Trevor Gillies for 5 minutes.
- Lots of positive words about the team from the crew doing the post game (including Mike Keenan). Basically along the lines of the team is too young to realize they've been all but eliminated from the playoffs. Personally I believe a 0.02611 chance to make the playoffs is still a chance!
- Haven't gotten your full of JT love? He's 10-9-19 in his last 15 games.
- The Coliseum was rocking too, with an announced attendance of over 12K. You could hear them all night, and the were definitely rewarded for coming out.
Comment of the Night
Amac saysby Keith Quinn
Congrats to 19 Isle in NJ 22, who not only predicted JT would have the first goal and that the scoring would start in the second, but even managed to predict that JT would have a hat trick tonight. He now must show up in every game thread and predict Islanders will have hat tricks, or else LHH will have to take an ounce of flesh to ensure future Islander wins.