New York Islanders at Detroit (12/31/10)

The New York Islanders were in town tonight to close out 2010 with the Red Wings. The goalies for this game were Howard and Roloson. Eaves was out of the lineup tonight with an upper body injury. Coach Babcock joked that he had hurt himself by raising his arms too much in the previous game when he had his first career hat trick. Tomas Tatar got the call up from Grand Rapids to fill in for him.

This game was a different sort of challenge for the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard. The Islanders play a very conservative, slow, grinding style of hockey. It makes it tough to stay sharp and to keep up the intensity level when playing against them. As Mickey Redmond put it, they lull you to sleep.

All of the Islanders’ goals in regulation were quick strikes after face off wins in the Red Wings’ end. The first one was actually knocked in by Lidstrom when it bounced off his stick in front of the net. It was a good demonstration of the importance of face offs, especially in the defensive zone.

Franzen scored first for the Wings, and then the Islanders scored the goal that went in off Lidstrom’s stick. The Islanders scored again with just three seconds left in the first period. That was a demoralizing goal since the Wings had been in complete control of the game. They just let their guard down for a second at the very end of the period and that was enough for the Islanders to strike.

In the second period the Islanders scored a third goal. It was a tip-in that Howard didn’t have much chance of stopping. Then at the end of the period the Red Wings scored with just nine seconds left. Bertuzzi got bumped into Roloson. He still made the save but gave up a rebound. The play continued while Roloson was lying on the ice trying to sell a penalty call to the refs. Filppula picked up the puck and put it in the wide open net. Roloson was really sour because he thought there should have been a goalie interference call. He must not have realized that Bertuzzi was shoved into him. Roloson pushed the net off the moorings and really gave an earful to the referee. That goal made it three to two Islanders at the end of the second.

In the third period Tomas Tatar got his first NHL goal. He skated through the slot as Helm released a shot. It wasn’t clear that Tatar even saw the puck but he tipped it in with his backhand. That was the game tying goal and really got the crowd revved up. It was a big moment for Tatar and I’m sure it’s one he’ll never forget. He was clearly excited about it and had quite an exuberant celebration.

The tied score held until the end of regulation so the game went to overtime. In the OT the Islanders took a penalty, and then before it was over, the Red Wings took one. So we had some 4 on 4, 4 on 3, 3 on 3 and then 4 on 3 the other way. That was a quite a variety of scenarios in just a few minute span. Unfortunately, the Islanders scored during their 4 on 3 power play to win the game. It was a good shot by Parenteau that beat Howard cleanly.

This was a frustrating game to lose because the Wings were the better team by far. They outshot the Islanders 41 to 23. The Red Wings dominated this game. It was just a fluky goal and some opportunistic quick strikes by the Islanders that cost the Red Wings the game. It was a bit of a bummer way to end the year but at least they got a point.

This 4-3 overtime loss brings us to:
24-9-5
53 points

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