The Isles came out to Atlanta with some pop to their step. Yet, it all turned around quickly when giveaways on the powerplay led to two shorthanded goals. Looking at a 3-1 Atlanta lead, instead of laying down to die, they tied it up. Yes, they lost the shootout, but got a point back instead of nothing due to bungling.
Mike Comrie, who had a goal, also bungled the most. Two giveaways on the powerplay...on the same play, even. Talk about creating some KAOS. Now, don't get me wrong, he also had a goal in this game. But better decisions by him and Bill Guerin would have assured this shootout loss as a win. Comrie has been on many fans radar lately with giveaways. It was extremely frustrating to watch a team play better, but whose gaffes basically gave Atlanta the game.
Credit goes to the team, when backs were against the wall, momentum swinging against them, that they scored when they needed it most, climbing back into it with a 3-2. That is the kind of Isles team and desperation we've been waiting for after these past few stinkers. So, the cup is half full, as well as half empty. And most of all, mental bungling needs to be nipped in the bud.
The game should also be marred for a lot of fringe calls made on the Isles by the refs. That said, the Isles PK and DiPietro effectively stifled those four Atlanta powerplays early and four later. But, when Atlanta got called on a few, it is because of the Isles own anemic powerplay that both Comrie and Guerin tried to do far too much. Too much pressure to break the outage led to shorthanded tallies that left fans with their heads in their hands.
Such a good effort, yet missed by that much. The Isles led in shots 9-6 in the 1st, despite all the PKs that were on them. And in the 3rd period, they held the Thrashers to only 3 shots. If anything, the only thing also missing was a true scorer to prepare that coup de grâce, since they had Atlanta back on their heels. After all those mistakes, they just could not wrest the game from Atlanta's grip, despite completely outplaying them when it mattered the most.
So, not a bad effort, but certainly concerning. The Isles have gotten away with too many mistakes and giveaways in games past, but had still gotten the win or overcome. Now, with the chips down, that bad habit magnifies, and shows how destructive it really is. The Isles need to play smarter, yet as hard as they played last night. There is a silverlining to this game, but only if they can take the same effort, with some brains, to the games after.
Next game is versus the Panthers on Friday.