There was a ton of grit and heart, but in the end the results were still the same as the New York Islanders (28-21-11) fell to the Philadelphia Flyers (40-22-7) by a final of 3-2 in Thursday night hockey action.
“We gave them two gifts,” said head coach Jack Capuano afterward. “I thought we could have gotten some momentum after the second period, when we had back-to-back power plays, and we didn’t execute at all.”
The night began on a strange note as a goal by Zack Rinaldo (2) from the oddest of angles, was able to beat Islanders cager Evgeni Nabokov (19 saves) for the 1-0 lead at the 8:41 mark in the first period. Though New York outshot Philadelphia in the first, by a final of 11-9, it was the Flyers holding a 2-0 lead on a wicked snap shot by Claude Giroux (26).
Scott Hartnell (33) added on to the lead on a wrister at the 7:02 mark in the second period, before a switch turned on, and the Islanders began a six and a half offensive push before the end of the third period.
New York was able to snap a shutout bid for Ilya Bryzgalov, who had three consecutive blanking’s, before Michael Grabner (16) tipped-in the first goal of the game, which was assisted by captain Mark Streit (33) and rookie Dylan Reese (3).
The captain helped to set up the final snap shot by center John Tavares, who now leads all Islanders scoring with 31 goals. Sadly though, time ran out on the guys, who still show a ton of heart in their play against playoff-caliber teams.
Tavares had this to say on why it has been so difficult to string together an entire game of positive hockey, “I wish we knew, we have talked about it, as I’ve said it is unacceptable for our group to come out and play every game for the full 60 minutes competitively, we want to come out and compete hard and see what happens for ourselves.”
Helping to lead the team in the grit department was Matt Martin, who finished the night with six hits, two shots and a very spirited fight with Wayne Simmonds at the 3:57 mark of the second period.
“We didn’t get the results we wanted,” Martin said after the loss. “We had some life when we finally beat Bryzgalov, it got the crowd going-the fans were great in the last 10 minutes and it got us going again.”
A welcome sight for Isles fans was the return of P.A. Parenteau to the line-up, who sat out one game with an upper body injury.
“I didn’t really feel any lingering effects,” Parenteau said on how he was feeling after the game. “It is always tough to miss a game, but I felt fine out there. Obviously I didn’t play my best game, but hopefully I will get better in Montreal on Saturday.”
The Islanders will now embark on a four-game road trip spanning 10 days against teams who will be a tough test for this young squad. The first stop for the guys will be in Montreal on Saturday, for a MSG Plus televised game, which is set to air at 7:00 p.m.
Written on March 15, 2012 seen on the Examiner.com here: