Saturday (1/23) night proved to be a very frustrating night in Islanderland for both players and fans. The Isles played in front of a packed house against local rival New Jersey. Some New Jersey fans showed up to support their team. The Islanders fans showed up too, but their team was virtually absent for two of the three periods.
In the first period the Isles had good chances to strike first, but only struck Marty Brodeur's pipes. Close calls don't count in the NHL, though, and the Isles came away empty twice. The Devils had a close call of their own in the other end, as Rick DiPietro looked to be beaten by Jamie Langenbrunner, but Kyle slid across the crease and saved not only the puck, but DP's bacon. Despite an early flurry of activity, the score stayed 0-0.
Langenbrunner couldn't be held off the board for long, though, as he struck at 5:52. Travis Zajac got Langenbrunner the puck for a hard shot that whizzed over DP's shoulder and into the net. 1-0 New Jersey.
Penalties can be game changers in hockey, though, and this game changed when Colin White was sent off for boarding Sean Bergenheim at 9:15 of the second period. The We heard that Bergenheim broke his nose during the infraction, but could not confirm this after the game. Nevertheless, Islanders came alive with two important power play goals as a result. Tavares shanked a centering pass between the circles over to Okposo, who banked his 11th goal of the season. Two minutes and two seconds later, Jack Hillen's shot caused a scramble in front of Brodeur, and the puck slid over the goal line and in to give the Isles a 2-1.
Things were looking good, especially when yet again an opposing coach extended the Isles' power play time by neglecting to put a man in the penalty box during a major penalty. The Isles couldn't take advantage of this slip-up, but did outshoot New Jersey 14-1 over the full period.
The 2nd ended on a sour note though, as Zach Parise scored with just :32 on the clock to knot the score at 2. Bruno Gervais was in the box for a hook, and a really good period for New York was spoiled.
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador broke the Isles' back with 6:49 left to play. He fired a puck on net off of a faceoff and it was redirected past a screened DP. The Isles showed little fire after that, and would up on the wrong side of a 4-2 final after an empty net goal.
After the game, both Kyle and the coach were upset that the team didn't take advantage of a Devils team playing their second game in as many nights. The loss broke the Isles' 6 game home winning streak, and drops them out of a playoff spot for the time being.