Who knows if any of this lifeless New York Islander effort was related to a possible letdown after being officially eliminated from playoff consideration the previous afternoon, but the Islanders' opponent today was hardly an energetic one and yet still the home team provided little resistance. On Fan [endurance] Appreciation Day.
Sometimes when your game starts out impotent you need a little help from your goalie, but Al Montoya provided no such assistance. So when a 1-1 tie at the first intermission exploded into a 3-1 deficit just six minutes into the second period, both team and goalie sagged.
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The Senators, also playing the second of a back-to-back and without Jason Spezza or Daniel Alfredsson, hardly put up a dominant performance. But in clinching a playoff spot they were all too content to just play through and gratefully accept whatever else the Isles gave them. Simply an awful performance by all involved, eliciting boos as the final horn sounded and the team stayed on the ice for Fan Appreciation Day promotions.
Ugly performances in meaningless games like this are usually forgotten soon after the season concludes (ask most fans and they'll forget the Isles finished 2010-11 on a four-game losing streak, including 7-4 to the Flyers on the final day of the season), but it's still just awfully shabby form to lay an egg on the day you're supposed to be thanking ever-grateful fans for their patience.
Whoa, Cubano: Considering Montoya is essentially playing for an NHL contract right now, it's almost stunning to see him allow 21 goals on his last 193 shots (.891 save percentage). Granted, he's coming off a long layoff and injuries, but it's an awful time to be looking all out of sorts.
At least one goal was a tough bounce off Marty Reasoner's skate in the crease, but on all five goals Montoya either had trouble finding the puck or was caught swimming prone or full out of position beyond his crease. Even the one-timer powerplay goal on a fantastic Milan Michalek pass was probably not stoppable, but Montoya was very slow in moving post to post.
Outside of one pad double-save today (which nonetheless was a bit positionally challenged), there wasn't one sequence today I'd look at as an imaginary GM and say, "Get that guy in the fold for next season." For his sake I really hope he's able to finish strong this week.
Turning Point: Michael Grabner stripped Erik Karlsson at the blueline for a shorthanded breakaway, but Craig Anderson stopped his low glove shot with his pad to keep the score tied at 1-1. Not long after, Sergei Gonchar scored the go-ahead goal on the powerplay. Milan Michalek's goal just three minutes later initiated the blowout.
Gritz Needs Smarts: Micheal Haley fought Chris Neil once, losing a good fight after Neil got a good hold on him early. He tried to fight him again with the game out of hand after Neil essentially sat on Andrew MacDonald in the corner (AMac apparently elbowed him), but Neil wanted none of it.
It didn't matter at that point, but in the future Haley needs to be smart there and not toss his gloves off until he knows he has a partner. (Give Haley the lessons they gave Matt Martin, who was honored with the Bobby Nystrom Award before the game.) Instead, Neil took the easy way out, keeping his gloves on and essentially turtling -- accepting the powerplay and even hooking up with Kyle Turris on a goalmouth scramble for a goal on the ensuing PP.
Coaching Reaches: Jack Capuano was clearly frustrated with the team's effort throughout, at one point appearing to sit John Tavares for a shift after his lazy hooking penalty led to a powerplay goal against, and at one point even fielding
four make that FIVE defenseman [video at IPB] with Marty Reasoner for a brief shift. I'm gonna guess there is talk of "passengers" in the post-game, no?
Wang State of the Season Address: Charles Wang did his annual end-of-season interview on MSG, played in pregame and during the intermissions. View this post for video and notes, and discuss it there.
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There were a few flashes here and there today of guys doing the right things (some nice moments again from Josh Bailey again, he said guardedly), but collectively their effort was not worth further analysis from me on a Sunday afternoon.
Bridgeport beat Manchester 3-2 in OT on Rhett Rakhshani's winning goal. Go Sound Tigers.