For the first time in the New Year, the Islander's have FINALLY won a home game. And despite all the talk of trading for the future and forgetting this season...I gotta say this win did feel good. And you know the Isles were feeling it too, watching Park celebrate after the final buzzer as if he had just scored his first NHL goal.
It is pretty depressing knowing that we are celebrating our first home win of the New Year in mid-february. But this could be a morale boost that helps make this team as competitive as it was at the start of the season. There are a few key things that were different about this game that the Islanders should try to reproduce this Thursday:
1) It looked like the young guys got a good amount of playing time. I haven't seen the final stats sheet yet, but from what it seemed from the tv in my bedroom that was distracting me from my English paper, the line of Comeau-Nielsen-Tambellini looked pretty solid. And their hard work and hustle definately showed with Tambellini getting his first of the year. Patience is a virtue, and he finally has come through. It may have taken 11 games over a span of several months, but the kid got some playing time and hopefully this will be the first of many.
Don't get me wrong, I know it's only one game, but this could be a positive sign that this new line will start to produce.
2) Bergenheim scores 2 goals in 2 games. And what a goal it was. Bergenheims feet flew faster than the wind in this snow storm and outraced the Flyer's d-man to the puck to bury his second breakaway goal. I gotta say I love how both ended with a dramatic fall into the boards as well. As Bill Clement says in NHL '08, "There's nothing like a pot of gold at the end of the tunnel of hard work." And I'm sure we can all attest that Bergy has worked his butt off all year.
3) Hunter breaks his scoring drought. Some may want to see him traded at the deadline, but he's one that I might feel comfortable with sticking around. He may only be a fourth or third liner at best, but this guy plays his heart out and hits like an animal. I would like to see them keep him on the fourth line next year to balance out our offensive lines.
4) DP had a strong game. Although he let up that late goal in the third (which he had to have been screened) I thought he came up big in some key situations. Even if he's playing hurt he's still has been reliable. However I do think that Nolan should give Dubie a game soon to rest DP.
I also felt that Comrie played a strong game as well, working hard in the corners and generating scoring chances. Overall, despite the game being as sloppy as the slushy parking lot at some points, it was a rather enterntaining game.
Is this the start of a team reviving themselves into the playoffs? Or is this a marketing technique to show off our sale items? With 6 games remaining until the trade deadline, tonight's performance may give Snow something to think about.
For me, I see this team still being sellers at the deadline. Why were we more competitive tonight? I'd say it's because of the line-up we had, and the playing time that the young guys were rewarded with. As far as Fedotenko scoring again to start a mini-streak of his own, I look at that as a boost to his trade value. This team can win, and may even propel us into the playoffs with the depletion of such guys like Satan, Tank, Vas, Berard, and so forth, with the young guys who stepped it up tonight playing more each game.
Even if we don't win enough games to make the playoffs, I know I had more fun watching this game because of who was rewarded with ice time.
6 games to go...let's see what happens.
.....and now back to my English paper.