A Statement

crosby-nabbyWith a 2-1 lead in the 3rd period, it started to look like the Islanders were not going to reach over the top and get this game away from the Metropolitan Division leaders.

Then the alarm went off.

Goals by Frans Nielsen (6th), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (1st) and a pool-cue shot be Josh Bailey (4th), propelled the Isles past the Penguins 4-3.

To be honest – I watched only parts of this game, due to the fact that I was at my once a month bowling night.  There were some observations that I had.

  1. Nabokov was strong last night.  With his team taking four penalties in the first period (had averaged 7 penalty minutes per game before last night), the netminder had to be strong, and Pittsburgh outshot the Isles 42-25.  The Isles went 5-5 in killing the penalties last night.
  2. There were times that Travis Hamonic looked a bit sloppy out there.  I think that from what I saw, this was the worst game I saw him play this season.
  3. Welcome back Radek Martinek!  Two assists in a 3 minute span.  He fits into this team like a glove.
  4. Who isn’t happy that Frans has stepped his game up 200%.  Despite the fact, that he has not taken faceoffs, his overall game has been outstanding.
  5. Interesting to see Clutterbuck out with Tavares for a spell last night.  I think it will help his game for once in a while to have some strength on his line to create some time and space for him.  It is tough to see him constantly double and triple teamed.
  6. Isles get their first power play on the road (now 1 for 8).  They were last in the league on the road to go with their first at home.

This game was a huge statement game.  They needed to show that in order to compete with the elite, they need to beat the elite.  With about 10 minutes left in the game it did not look that way.  But a little break or two – POOF – the victory was theirs.

Now – the Flyers come into town off a big win from their fellow last place Rangers.  Marc Streit returns to the Coli; I am sure that he is not going to get a Standing O from the faithful.  They are a team that is going to try and make a physical game out of it.  Giroux has struggled mightily out of the game, and Luke Schenn is leading the team in points.  That is NOT the sign of a playoff team.

But for the Isles to win this game, they have to treat this game like it is a Game 7 atmosphere.  They can not fall back on the things that made them struggle in the past.  They made a STATEMENT on the last 10 minutes of period 3 last night.  They need to do it again tonight at home.


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