Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Milestones Are Hit But Isles Miss

It'll be a short post tonight because losses always seem to leave me a bit uninspired.

From a team perspective, Tuesday night's 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers was disheartening. The Islanders had no life in the first period, falling behind within the first four minutes of the game. The team was down 2-0 at the end of the first period before deciding to play up to their abilities. They were able to score two goals of their own within the first four minutes of the middle frame, but it was all downhill from there as the Isles went back to sleep. Their defense was shoddy and Al Montoya didn't have a particularly good night either, allowing five goals to get behind him in forty minutes.

It was, however, a night for personal milestones. Matt Moulson reached his 30th goal (after a scoring change) for the second consecutive season. The shaggy forward plucked out of obscurity by General Manager Garth Snow became the first Islander to accomplish the feat since Mariusz Czerkawski did it in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons. Congratulations, Matt.

Even more exciting, on the night when John Tavares played his 150th career NHL game, he netted his 50th career goal. He became the youngest Islander to reach the mark, surpassing Bryan Trottier's record. With 60 points already in the bank this year (and 54 from last), he has quickly amassed a robust 114 career points (50-64-114).

If J.T. is able to notch four more goals in the team's eleven remaining games, he and Moulson will become the first Islander teammates since Alexei Yashin and Mark Parrish in 2001-2002 to each score 30. Though there was a time when I didn't think he'd get there, I am starting to believe 30 goals is very possible for the 20 year-old sophomore.

*(Michael Grabner currently sits at 28 goals this year; see the 'News and notes' section below for more on this).

The Islanders continue to try to play spoiler on Friday, as they travel to Carolina to take on the playoff-hopeful Hurricanes.

News and notes:

- Kyle was held off the scoring sheet for his second straight game, and goalless for his sixth. Knowing that he has a history of streaky play, I am not worried about his game, as he would still be on pace for near 50 points this season had he not lost so much time to injury.

- Russian prospect Kirill Petrov didn't have a good regular season (8-11-19 in 49 games), but it appears he had a decent playoffs, scoring 2 goals and 2 assists in 6 games. His Kontinental Hockey League team, Yugra, was eliminated by Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

- Should Moulson, Grabner, and Tavares all reach 30 goals this season, they will become the first Islanders trio to perform the feat since Steve Thomas, Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, and Derek King all did it in 1993-1994.

No comments: