There was never any doubt, except maybe when the Islanders nearly wasted a five-minute major powerplay at the end of the first period. However that major removed one of the Panthers' best players in Stephen Weiss, and as a nice "Take that!" bonus, Radek Martinek -- the victim of Weiss' elbow -- converted on that powerplay's remnants just 37 seconds into the second period. That made it 3-0 and the rest was mere formality. Pretty much 60 minutes of domination of a team whose fading playoff hopes just took a devastating hit this afternoon.
That's not even getting to the Mighty Matt Moulson hat trick, and the third consecutive win by Ranger draft survivor Al Montoya, your Islanders goaltending stat leader.
Speaking of "take that," Panthers castoff Michael Grabner couldn't pot one past Tomas Vokoun, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Grabner had seven shots on goal, from various angles and looks, but at least for #40 Vokoun's net was a rocky place, where Grabner's shot could find no purchase. Right now the Isles are living the luxury of multiple scoring lines, where one line picks up on a good day where the other line left off.
Notes from a Rather Pleasant Afternoon
Travis Hamonic picked up a whopping 21 PIM, all but two of them in one incident, for daring to fight Steve Bernier (and get an instigator, and a misconduct/second instigator for instigating with a shield). But with a comfortable lead, Hamonic delivered his message for Bernier's perceived liberties. Somewhere, Mario Lemieux weeps. ... Incidentally, Hamonic also collected his 14th and 15th assists of the season in his 40th game.
- Moulson's hatty gives him 26 on the year and he retakes the team lead, one ahead of Grabner and two ahead of John Tavares. Moulson on whether they have a healthy competition for the goal lead: "I'd be lying if I said it didn't. We don't really talk about it but..."
- His first goal was a lovely dirty rebound in tight, his second was a drop-to-the-knee shot up high, set up by P.A. Parenteau from the corner and perhaps stoppable by Vokoun. The third was the empty-netter, with Moulson admitting he didn't know the net was empty until after he'd nearly tripped over the blueline.
- Martinek's goal was a hilarious bouncer from the point -- shot with the puck on end and with lots of English, or perhaps Czech, spun on it. Apparently his post-game interview was pretty cool, too, according to those watching in the game thread.
- On that note, Newsday beat reporter Katie Strang had this to say about Martinek: "Not for nothing, but I have never seen Martinek so openly happy after a game. Usually very shy and reserved but he was downright gleeful."
- Via 7th Woman (h/t WebBard): Here's a bucket of hats.
Josh Bailey has repeatedly added another dangerous PK and shorty threat lately, and he had another partial breakaway on the PK today that he couldn't quite collect for a good shot. He scored at even strength though, in similar break-free circumstances after pulling up short down the right wing, popping the puck (almost too far) over Bryan Allen's sprawled stick, and then corralling it for an across-the-grain shot past Vokoun.
- Montoya faced three shots in the first and nine each in the remaining two periods. Praise be his win, his poise, and a couple of great saves -- and it's not his fault his team gave him little work. But so help me God if he nearly takes out Andrew MacDonald again...
- Montoya didn't really have a chance on the PP goal that broke his shutout, a redirect rebound by Mike Santorelli, who is trying to grab the title of "Islander killer."
- Shots of 16-3 in the first was a fair reflection, so it was nice to see the Islanders look much more ready at the start for the second game in a row. But man, the Panthers just did not perform, which made their decision to pull the goalie at 4-1 all the more curious, or desperate, or a subtle sign from Peter De Boer to his team that, "Hello, these games are supposed to matter!"
- Capuano: "They're doing the right things. For me, you do the right things, you get rewarded." Pretty simple, really.
- Have you looked at the "fan confidence poll" on the left margin of the LHH homepage lately? Man, y'all are feeling good. Not that I blame you. Winning is fun. (So is giving flightless water fowl theirs.)
To hear the CW tell it, the Islanders, who are not in the playoff race, are again one point behind the Devils, who are in the playoff race. So there's that.
Busy week here. The games continue tomorrow night in Toronto, Thursday in Philadelphia, and Saturday home to the Capitals. Are we having fun yet?