This is not really an official game report. Although I was able to catch all of the game, I was not able to take some notes, as I usually do. However, I did want to make a few “blind observations” that I will insert in a bit.
It was going to be a test in this early season for the Isles. Besides the fact that they were playing a big, tough team in the Boston Bruins, it was the back end of a back to back stretch and four games in 7 nights for them. This season is going to be a grind, and preparation and conditioning are going to be important. The excuse, “well, they were playing the second game on back to back nights”, or, “it was their x game in y nights” isn’t really going to cut it this season. Everyone is under the gun, so these kinds of “tests” are going to determine just how ready this team is to make a playoff push and venture deep into the post season.
Boston got the first goal of the game, but the Islanders responded with a goal from Keith Aucoin to tie the game up at 1 after the first. Then, in the second period, Keith Aucoin netted another goal for the Isles, but Boston later responded in the period to, again, end the period in a tie. In the third, the wheels sort of came off the bus for the blue and orange. Boston dominated the period and beat up the boys, skating away with a 4-2 victory.So, from the game:
• The Islanders skated with the Bruins and even dominated parts of the game for the first two periods of the game. It was a pretty impressive showing for a road game. Unfortunately, they simply seemed to run out of gas in the third, and Boston did not.
• Keith Aucoin is continuing to impress. It’s clear this guy wants to stay in the NHL. He was one of the few who continued to skate in the third period for the Islanders.
• OK, I expect Dion Phaneuf to be the Upper Class Twit of a game, but I was a bit surprised the way Dennis Seidenberg played. He should have been tossed from the game for his hit on Frans Nielsen. I’m sorry, but I find it rather disconcerting when the league is supposed to be cracking down on those types of hits, but Seidenberg didn’t even get a penalty. He left his skates and could have seriously injured Nielsen. The officials deserve some of that Upper Class Twit dishonors.
• Rick DiPietro didn’t deserve to lose the game. I was quite impressed by his effort. He made several great saves, and most of the goals were situations in which he could not be faulted. For example, the deflected puck off of Finley’s skate that acted like a pass.
• Maybe, it’s my old school hockey side coming out, but I would have started Eric Boulton in the game. I think that was a game in which another banger would have been helpful.
• Defensive lapses are going to kill this team if not corrected. Guys cannot be standing around and allowing opponents to have easy access to the front of the net. Too many goals seem to have d-men standing around and not knocking bodies to the ice.
• Yes, I know it’s going to be a tough season with games just about every other night, but I must beat my 60 minutes of hockey drum once again. In situations like last night, guys have to reach down and yank that extra effort out of themselves. In a 48 game season, there is no, “it’s still early yet” excuses. Every game is critical and must be played as if that is the case.
• It’s always a comforting sound when a post is rang when it’s the opposing team that had their goal stopped by iron. The Bruins hit 3 posts in the third period. Whether it was “good positioning” by Ricky or not, thank the hockey Gods for that, at least.
• Nielsen, Grabner and Boyes were not as effective as they were the previous night. Then again, all four lines had their ups and downs.
• JT was one of the only guys who did have his legs as the third period unfolded. I would say him, Aucoin and Streit were the “stand outs” when it came to still having higher energy levels at the end.
So, it is off to Winnipeg for a Sunday meeting against the Jets and the third game of this road trip. Hopefully, a day off will help the boys and they will come out with a sixty minute effort. Will we see Ricky again in net or will Nabby return between the pipes?