Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kyle Breaks Out!

Kyle Okposo finally had the night that everyone has been waiting for. Over the course of a single period, he broke his goal scoring drought, doubled his season's points total, and silenced his critics.

The only thing missing was an Islanders win.

On Wednesday (11/23) night, the Islanders hosted the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that has traditionally given them fits. Coming into the game the Isles had dropped 24 of their last 26 to their southerly neighbors.

It looked to be more of the same in store for New York, as just 18 seconds into the game a puck found its way past starter Rick DiPietro. Andrej Meszaros scored on the first shot of the game.

The script would change, however, just 19 seconds later, as Kyle took a brilliant pass from Michael Grabner and lit Ilya Bryzgalov's lamp.

Before most of the crowd of 11,086 had settled into their seats, two goals had been scored.

Okposo, playing with a sense of determination as yet unseen this season, gave the Islanders the lead with a pretty "tic-tac-toe" type goal at 10:26. Grabner had a hand in this one too, thrusting the puck to Josh Bailey who got it to Kyle's stick blade.

The Isles led 2-1, and suddenly thoughts of the team's (and Kyle's) scoring woes were a thing of the past.

Not sated by two quick goals after such a long and miserable drought, Kyle turned around and assisted Grabner on a goal with about 1:30 to go in the period. The outburst of scoring, coming after 142-plus minutes of nothing, coupled with the fact that they were outplaying Philadelphia, was astounding.

The problem was that the Islanders had forty more minutes to get through.

During the first break, Peter Laviolette showed why he is a good coach. He yanked his starting goaltender and ushered Sergei Bobrovsky into the game.

Though Kyle played well (going end to end with the puck during one rush after making a nice defensive play, as an example), he and his mates were unable to solve Bobrovsky. "Bob" made 23 saves and was the benefactor of some quirky goals allowed by DiPietro.

Though they forced the game to overtime, and even had a man advantage during the extra session, the Islanders lost their 13th of their last 15 games.

Taking away the positives, though, Kyle appears to have put whatever was troubling him aside, at least for now. He looks like the young star that everyone saw for the last three seasons. He has regained a very nice chemistry with linemates Michael Grabner and Frans Neilsen, and even with Josh Bailey.

The Islanders haven't been able to have a game where they get scoring out of both of their top two lines on the same night. When they do, they're going to win the game easily.

Unfortunately for now, coach Jack Capuano is left to still tinker with his roster in order to get it tuned properly, and Islanders fans are left with a slightly less festive Thanksgiving mood.

1 comment:

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