Sunday, November 25, 2007

Doubleheader recap: Isles vs. Bruins

On the plus side, it's nice to know players like Andy Hilbert and Richard Park - who will never be confused with Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier - can step up and score a goal when the team needs it. On the negative side, you know things are going bad offensively when the team needs a couple of grinders to give it a boost.

But a win is a win, and when it comes in front of a full house like it did Saturday night, all the better. The 2-1 win over Boston salvaged a split against the Bruins and stopped a two-game losing streak from growing any larger. What continued was the Islanders' habit of keeping it close. Since shutting out the Lightning, 4-0, the Isles have played 10 games and nine of them have been decided by one goal.

The Tums concession has never been more popular.

Friday's loss was lackluster - maybe the L-tryptophan hadn't left the players' systems after Thanksgiving. The Isles fell behind 2-0 before Mike Sillinger scored on a redirection.

What killed the Islanders was futility on the power play, a common theme lately. They blew a two-man advantage early in the third and had another opportunity wasted late in the period when they were desperate to tie the game.

After getting off to a strong start, the power play is 1-for-26 over the last seven games. Marc-Andre Bergeron, a healthy scratch in the last five games, was on the ice Saturday but couldn't spark the unit.

Not that the Islanders weren't getting chances - they outshout the B's 12-2 in the first and 23-7 through two periods. But even when the Isles are outshooting their opponents these days, it's not the quantity but the quality of the shots that are lacking.

Rick DiPietro had an eventful game, making 20 saves and getting an assist (with Sillinger) on Hilbert's goal. He was also whacked in the head in the final five minutes but stayed in the game.

In other news, Newsday reports that Shawn Bates may finally be ready to rejoin the club, which is good news for his fans and the team. Maybe he can be the spark that gets the offense going.

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