When Matt Moulson scored just 1:11 into Tuesday (1/12) night's contest, there was a sense that this game had the potential to be different from most the Islanders play. It certainly was, as the Islanders continued to score all night and seemingly never stopped. Add to the equation the fact that Dwanye Roloson never let a puck past him, and the result was nearly perfect for Isles fans. New York 6, defending Western Conference Champion Detroit Red Wings 0.
When the coach of a team, any team, uses the phrase "most complete game of the year," it's a good thing. When he uses it repeatedly throughout the first half of a season, you likely have a team on the rise. And that's what the Islanders appear to be right now. They now have earned 48 points in 47 games, and are fighting to put themselves in the playoff picture for the rest of the season.
Using the aforementioned phrase and extolling the virtues of his team's defensive effort, Gordon was upbeat after the big win. He described the reasons for the better play out of game notables such as Rob Schremp (who had 2 goals on the night) and Bruno Gervais (who contributed a goal and an assist). But the win was truly a team effort, as 11 Islanders recorded at least a point against the Wings. Gordon was also sure to praise the fact that his team allowed only 16 shots on goal to a normally very good offensive squad.
After the drubbing, we had a brief chance to speak to Josh Bailey. He is the hottest Islander right now, with points in 9 of his last 11 games. He feels as if he has not consciously changed his game despite a move to the wing, and says that things "are working pretty well right now." He believes the team is "happy but not content" and finds it very easy to play with gifted teammates such as Kyle Okposo and John Tavares.
Speaking of Kyle, he notched his 10th goal of the year, and nearly found Bailey for what would have been a prettier score midway through the second period. That one rang loudly off the post.
The Islanders will try to keep the momentum going against Buffalo on Saturday (1/16) night, but with three full days off until then there is a chance they can lose their sudden head of steam. Let's hope coach Gordon can keep the train on the rails and have the Islanders play another complete game against an excellent Sabres team.
News and Notes:
- Former Islanders defensive standout Kenny Jonsson was honored with a standing ovation just before play began. Jonsson recorded 232 points in his Islander career, the 4th highest all time for an Islanders' defenseman.
- Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard was replaced in favor of Chris Osgood after allowing a goal to Matt Moulson and two to Schremp.
- An octopus was thrown on the ice at 18:47 of the second period. The Islanders held a 4-0 lead at the time.
- The Islanders have shutout the Red Wings two games in a row, as they blanked the Wings 2-0 in Detroit last March.
- The announced crowd was 12,254.