Resiliency, heart and grit were all themes in the New York Islanders (7-11-5) 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks (14-8-3) in hockey action on Friday night. The Isles battled all evening long against one of the Western Conference’s best teams, and earned a point in a rocking United Center.
Making his first appearance in an NHL uniform in his hometown of Chicago was Islanders keeper Al Montoya fought his way to making 32 saves, including the save of the game at the 7:50 mark of the first period.
Montoya was originally going to use his stick to stop an attempt by Chicago forward Dan Carcillo, instead abandoned his timber to use his glove to make the sensational grab. In another first for the Isles was the play of Dylan Reese (plus-one rating and one hit), who was called up from Bridgeport to take the place of regular blueliner Andrew MacDonald.
Reese had a good game for the Isles, setting up several shots, along with taking a shot during the course of the game. The night started off well for the Isles, as they cashed in on their first power play opportunity when Kyle Okposo (3) banged home a snap shot at the 4:07 mark of the first period.
Okposo was in a great position for the first Islanders goal, cashing in on a rebounded shot by young-blueliner Travis Hamonic (3). For Kyle the score was his third in the last five games. New York continued their fine play, until nice passing by the Hawks tied the game at the 10:27 mark.
Chicago cashed in on an odd-man rush as Sean O’Donnell (4) set-up Andrew Brunett (6), who wristed home the first Hawks goal of the game. Matt Moulson (9) helped the Isles regain the lead at the 14:27 mark on a one-timer, which was set-up by P.A. Parenteau (14).
For Moulson, this is his third goal on this road stretch, as the Isles skated away from the first with the momentum. In the second period, the Hawks completely took over outshooting New York by a tally of 15-2.
Ben Smith scored his first goal of the season for the Blackhawks, on a second-effort shot at the 6:41 mark of the second period. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews (14) scored a pickpocket shorthanded goal at the 18:41 mark to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.
New York came scoring back in the third period of play, coming three shots away from a franchise record in the frame. Starting the Isles comeback was Parenteau (4), who wristed home a puck on a great effort by his teammates.
The Isles stayed hungry on their third goal of the game, as Parenteau was able to pick up a bouncing puck and banged it home to tie the game up a three at the 0:46 mark. Chicago responded with 5:08 on the scoreboard on a power play goal of their own as Patrick Sharp (12) recorded a wicked wrister for the 4-3 lead.
The resilient Isles tied the game up one last time as Nino Niederreiter scored his first goal of the season at the 8:55 mark. El Nino hustled throughout the play, forcing a Hawks turnover, and cashing in on a sweet writer for the fourth New York goal.
The final frame featured plenty of action from both teams, as the action along with the shots was fast and furious for both squads. In the end though, it’d take a shootout to decide a victor.
In spite of many pretty attempts by both teams in the shootout frame, it’d be the Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who’s straight in shot that’d prove to be the game-winning goal. Sadly for the Isles the loss snapped a mini-winning streak had going, as the team has still been unable to find a victory in the extra session.
The Isles will have a quick turn-around as they head down to ‘the Big D’ to take on the Dallas Stars on Saturday. The game between New York and Dallas is scheduled to air on the MSG Plus Two network, while face-off is slated for 8:30 p.m.
Written on December 3, 2011