...too big for the Islanders to blow, apparently. On a day (1/9) we sort of dedicated to watching football, the Isles played one of their stranger games this year. They won it, 5-4, in the shootout, but not before squandering a three goal lead in the 3rd period.
The Islanders all but had a win gift wrapped for them by Phoenix in the 2nd period of the game. The Coyotes' coach, Dave Tippet, neglected to put a man in the penalty box after an Ed Jovanovski major. This turned a routine 5 minutes of Islanders power play into a zany seven and a half minutes without a whistle. The team could not get a full compliment of players on the ice and the defense tired. Play finally stopped when Phoenix's Martin Hanzal took a slashing penalty, ensuing in another power play. Former Islander Adrian Aucoin compounded the Coyotes' woes with another penalty, and the Islanders scored on both, opening up a 4-1 lead. It seemed like the Isles would make the long flight from Phoenix to Farmingdale with 2 points in the bank. We should have known better.
Paul Bissonnette scored a flukey goal, followed by tallies from Taylor Pyatt and Peter Mueller all in span of 3:44. What had been a laugher was now a 4-4 tie.
Disaster was averted when Matt Moulson scored in the 6th frame of the shootout, and the Isles escaped with their 4th of a possible 6 points on the Western road swing. It should have been a lot easier. In fact, it could have been a perfect road trip if not for their stumble in Dallas. But we'll take what we can get.
The Islanders have 46 points in 46 games. They will take on Western Conference Champions Detroit on Tuesday night (1/12) in New York.
News and Notes:
- Kyle Okposo scored his 9th goal of the season with his dad looking on from the Phoenix stands. Announcers Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe mentioned several times this week that Kyle's father was on the road trip with the team.
- Josh Bailey is coming on! With 3 points against Phoenix and 10 in his last six games, Bailey has begun to really impress us. Okposo leads the team with 30 points on the season, but Bailey has now slipped into 5th place overall with his 22.
- Lastly, congratulations to prospect camp invitee Shuhei Kuji, whose Waseda University ice hockey team (Japan) won their first league championship in 19 years this weekend! Continued good luck, Kuji-san!