It's alive! He's alive, too!
By "it" I mean the Islanders as a team and their post season chances, which had been foundering and was nearly on life support some games ago. And the "he" is Kyle Okposo, who is still struggling by any objective measure, but who notched a goal last night in New York's 4-3 win over Florida.
It always seems as if each game we fans struggle though is a microcosm of the entire season. Once again this game was no different, as the Islanders rocketed out to a three goal lead, only to fritter it completely away in a span of 103 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly -- 3 Panthers goal in 1:43.
Casey Cizikas saved the day, though. With just over seven minutes remaining in regulation, "Zeke" scored his fourth goal of the season. The youngster, who has been unquestionably valuable in tight spots this season, put a wrist shot past Scott Clemmensen for the game winner.
On the goal, Cizikas was helped by Colin McDonald and Keith Aucoin. Which is a nice segue into sharing the news that Mr. McDonald was signed by the Islanders to a two-year contract extension on Friday. The forward has 11 points in 25 games this season; the move keeps him with the franchise through the 2014-2015 season.
Back to the present, however, and Saturday's (3/16) win completed the "Florida sweep," thanks to a win two evenings earlier in Tampa. John Tavares more or less won that game for the Isles, netting his 17th goal of the season. Brad Boyes finished it off with a late goal. As everyone knows, the bulk of the team's offense has come from his line. That doesn't bode well for the future. Evgeni Nabokov kept his sheet clean in the 2-0 final.
The future, though, is what the Isles can focus on right now. Despite all of their warts, they are solidly in contention for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Nobody is confusing them for world-beaters, but as of this posting they sit in 9th place in the East, two points out of a playoff spot and just three points out of the 6th position.
They have a four game homestand coming up beginning on Tuesday (3/19) night, which should also double as Kyle Okposo's 300th game in the National Hockey League.
We'll be on hand for that, and hope to give you his thoughts on the milestone immediately after its completion.
Until then, remain positive, everyone!