The New York Islanders (33-35-11) got an early goal against the Ottawa Senators (41-28-10) but fell by a score of 5-1 in NHL action on Sunday evening. Ottawa scored four unanswered goals in the final two minutes of play, clinching a playoff berth with the victory.
Prior to the matinee game, winger Matt Martin was honored with the Bob Nystrom Award, which is awarded to the player on the team ‘who best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication.” Martin leads the NHL with 361 hits, which is the highest total by an Islander since hits have been kept as an official stat.
“It is a huge honor,” Martin said. “I pride myself on being a hard-working player. There are definitely a lot of guys in the room that could have won it, but I’m happy that it was me.”
The duo of Martin and Michael Haley provided a ton of spark and energy for New York, as Haley once dropped the gloves and stood up for teammate Andrew MacDonald during the course of the game.
New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano has been impressed with the younger guys giving them a chance to play in vital minutes during the course of the game. Like Haley, for example, who was rewarded with 13:02 ice time and chance to contribute to the power play.
“We were trying to give guys some minutes that we want to take a look at and evaluate,” Capuano said. “He (Haley) gave us great energy that we need. If physical play is needed, he steps up for his teammates.”
Also getting the crowd buzzing was a pretty pass play from John Tavares to Mark Streit for the first goal of the game at the 7:55 mark in the first period.
It was all Ottawa after that as Kyle Turris scored twice to pace the offense, while Sergi Gonchar, Milan Michalek and Nick Foligno all contributing goals during the course of the game.
“It was pretty horrible on our part, they are missing two of their top players and we didn’t take advantage of that,” Streit said. “We didn’t get pucks deep and we committed too many turnovers.”
The Islanders will return to the ice on Tuesday, as they take on Atlantic-Division rivals the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. The Islanders/Devils game it set to air on the MSG Plus network, with face-off set for 7:00 p.m.
Written on April 1, 2012 also seen on the Examiner.com site below: