So the Isles go into the third period against R.J. Umberger and the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 3-0 lead...very reminiscent of the 4-1 lead the Isles held going into the third against the Montreal Canadiens...but the Isles couldn't blow a 3-goal lead in two consecutive home games...could they?
...yes...yes they could.
And they did. Going into the third period the Isles had played a modest 40 minutes of hockey. MacDonald came up big in the first to provide the Isles the opportunity to get something accomplished in the second period and they did; Park gets a garbage goal in front; Guerin scores with a nifty move flying out of the penalty box; Campoli slamming home a loose puck in a delayed penalty scrum.
Bottom line, they looked pretty good.
But they also looked good against the Habs. Maybe Gordon and his squad ate too much candy this weekend and were still feeling that same knot in their stomach I got after eating too much myself, because they sure played that way in the third period. Not one, not two, but three goals are scored. The crowd grows silent in complete awe. Jaffe himself is dumbfounded after proclaiming the Isles would not do this again.
Even the pros don't know the Isles as well as some fans do.
Rebuild means recovery from mistakes. The Isles made mistakes again in the third period to blow another 3-goal lead. But this time they managed to take control in overtime and win the game...twice...as Campoli's first shot went through the net. A nice victory lap accompanied with his own complaint led to him getting the puck back and scoring once again.
The first goal counted, but for anyone watching it was a bit of kicker.
So the Isles made some big mistakes once again but were able to dig themselves out of the mess they made...but you can be sure Gordon is going to address this. You have to wonder how Scott is feeling these days. I'm sure Snow realistically saw that this team was not going to make the playoffs...but the fact that this team hasn't responded not to his system, but to his discipline, must be a concern. They went through an intense practice yesterday to go over what went wrong in the game against the Habs and come out to do the same exact thing all over again, proving that no lead is safe with this team.
Something is not going well. It could be Gordon. It could be the players.
We're only 11 games in, so it's too early to pin point where the problems lie, but hopefully they will become clearer in the next 10-12 games.
On a bit of a side note, I have already taken notice of some players I feel do not fit Gordon's fore-checking system, and there are others I feel that should that don't, but there are still a lot of positives. Nielsen looked pretty confident carrying the puck tonight, and Okposo is trying to get his shots. He needs to get another goal soon to keep himself as motivated as he was in the Islander/Ranger game last week. If he can remain confident on a consistent basis he will be the player we're looking for.
Sutton, Gervais, Campoli, Weight, and Park looked great as well. Besides Campoli's two goals, Park was hands down the most notable player on the ice for the Isles. He was killing penalties, had a goal as well as an assist, and was just making smart plays at the right time.
It wasn't the most exciting game, but this is to be expected for the rest of the season. The Isles are going to frustrate themselves and their fans with games like tonight and last Saturday but it cannot come as a surprise to anyone. We knew what we were getting into. A big trade or call-up is not going to change anything. Unless we get a real star this team can revolve around we are still going to look at the same results.
Tomorrow the boys in blue and orange head to the Garden. Will #21 Knock-Out his Atlantic Division rivals this time? I can only hope.