You had to know with the way that the National Anthem was sung that this game was going to be ugly and at times filled with disappointment. Before I even get to the way the game was played, the Islanders might want to start having try-outs before they let just anyone sing on the ice. The woman that sang had such a hardcore accent that it was hard to understand her, and when the fans could, you could hear that she was singing the wrong words. It was so bad that all the fans that were in attendance sang for her.
So if the fans had to take matters into their own hands for the Anthem, you could only imagine how the game was going to be played.
The Islanders finished the first period with an impressive 3-0 lead with goals from Moulson, Sim and Park. "The first period was an exceptional period by us. We did a lot of right things, especially our play without the puck," said Scott Gordon in the post-game press conference. "In the second period, we were doing things well offensively but what got away from us was our effort on the backcheck."
It didn't take long for Atlanta to get back in it. They scored their first goal before the second period was even a minute old. But goals from Hunter and Bailey kept the game at a 5-2 score after Atlanta responded to Hunter's goal later in the middle frame. It was Bailey's fifth point in five games and his second goal in three games.
"I knew that they were going to count it because I didn't high stick it," he said. As the replay showed, Bailey's intended pass hit a few bodies and bounced over Hedberg's shoulder. Bailey attempted to whack it in, but completely missed. It didn't matter as the puck ended up crossing the goal-line anyway. Many fans have been critical of Bailey's performance this season, but lately he's been finding ways to put the puck in the net and make some great plays. The goal that Jon Sim had was the result of a gorgeous, no-look back-hand pass through the slot that Sim one-timed home.
Although the Islanders gave away a 3-0, 4-1 and 5-2 lead, Bailey felt the win said a lot about the team's resiliency. "It shows a lot better character. We didn't give up," he said. "We had a pretty bad second period and we managed to bounce back and find a way to win. Obviously with the first period we had it's tough to sustain that for the whole game...its tough to keep that pressure on, keep going like that for a full 60 minutes but we found a way to get two points."
Looking back on the game, Gordon saw the lead decrease as a result of mistakes made when coming back into their zone. "Even at the start of the third period it was the same thing. We were lucky our D and our goalie came up big for us." But at the same time, a lot could be said for the Islanders defense, and Gordon was quick to praise the PK.
"We did a great job of killing penalties against a very dynamic powerplay." And that they did.
The Islanders are going to get a much needed break as they are off until January 6th when they visit the Avalanche on Wednesday for the start of another road trip, only this one is a minuscule three games before they return to Coliseum ice on January 12th.
In the next day or so I plan on writing up a blog articulating the progress of the forwards that make up Garth Snow's second year youth movement, with the defense to follow shortly after. They still are only one point out of the playoff hunt with an all-star goaltender on his way back.
Yes, that's right. DP played another game today for Bridgeport. According to Chris Botta's blog at www.islanderspointblank.com
, Ricky kicked aside 35 of 39 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Worcester Sharks. Let the Marty Biron trade rumors begin...but let me warn all of you, Snow won't pull the trigger on a deal until it seems that Ricky is 110% ready to handle playing back in the NHL. The slightest indication of discomfort from DP may keep three goalies on board for a longer time period than the fans, management and coaching staff may have in mind. Should be fun to watch.
In other news... Travis Hamonic is causing some serious noise in the World Juniors. From every site that I read about the Isles' prospects that are competing, Hamonic has surprised many scouts, making them believe that he will be a major component of the Isles defense for many years. At PointBlank, Pierre McGuire compared him to a defenseman just below the level of Nashville Predator Shea Weber.
But I am going to stop right there. As I am writing this I just got a text saying that Hamonic was crushed from behind, drawing a Five Minute Major powerplay with only one minute left in the third period. I turned the TV on in the other room to watch the final 45 seconds or so. I was told he got up and skated off the ice, but he does not appear to be out on the rink. This could very much just be for precautionary measure, but I will keep an eye on this as best I can.
For those of you who may not remember, I interviewed Hamonic over the phone a few months back. At the time he led all WHL defenseman in points with 20 in 15 games played and was captain of the Moose Jaw Warriors.