You should never be happy to simply get a point with a tie at home. Never. Well, almost never.
When the opponent is on a five-game winning streak and is one of the best teams in its conference, then sometimes you take what you can get and that's what the Islanders are saying after dropping a 3-2 decision in overtime Monday night against the Dallas Stars, who won their sixth in a row. Mike Modano scored twice for the Stars, including the game-winner just 38 seconds into the OT.
It looked like the Isles were going to walk away with nothing after Jeff Halpern broke a 1-1 tie with six minutes left in the third on a fluky goal. Halpern was standing all alone to Rick DiPietro's right and Sergei Zubov should have passed him the puck. Instead, Zubov let go with a wrist shot -- which of course deflected off Mike Sillinger and directly to Halpern, who knocked it into the open side of the net.
The Islanders immediately blew a power play opportunity, stretching their man-up futility streak to 1-for-29, but they were given one more power play chance in the final minutes. This time, Miro Satan got to a rebound and put it home to send the game into the extra session.
Another bad bounce killed the Isles in OT when a deflected puck landed right on the stick of a charging Modano. As Ted Nolan lamented afterwards, "the puck went right to one of the most skilled guys in the league." And so it goes.
We liked Richard Park beating Marty Turco to a loose puck and putting it into a empty net for a shortie. That's Park for you. We also liked DiPietro's 28 saves.
We didn't like all the whistles against the Isles for obstruction - five penalties, three against Bill Guerin for hooking, holding and tripping (oh, my!). The referees were Dave Jackson and Dean Morton. I know, who? Also a pathetic turnout of under 9,000 for the game. Not unusual for a non-conference game, but still weak.
Marc-Andre Bergeron was the seventh defenseman as Nolan rolled three forward lines. I'm not a big fan of the seven d-men and you wonder when Bergeron will be dealt. WIth Berard getting a regular shift, MAB is the odd man out.
Oddly enough, the Stars are now just 1-5-0-1 against the Isles over the last 6 1/2 years. Another interesting factoid - the game featured three U.S.-born players who were drafted No. 1 in Modano, DiPietro and Bryan Berard.