OK, so they only scored three again, and they lost the lead with less than a minute to play in regulation, but the Islanders still prevailed and sent the home crowd to the Christmas break happy with a 3-2 overtime win.
What you have to like about this team is that there are so many players that you want to root for. Take Richard Park. He never takes a shift off and he does pretty much whatever Ted Nolan asks him to. And with every shift he's taken on more responsibility, and is now much more than a fourth-liner and penalty killer. He played up with Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin tonight, and the line put in two of the Isles' three goals.
Park's game-winner came off a faceoff win -- again, the little things -- and was aided by the fact that Caps defenseman Mike Green accidentally got hit in the face by teammate Jeff Schultz as Park worked the puck. With Green down behind the net, Park took a wrister from the left circle and found the five-hole, igniting the pandemonium.
Miro Satan, as he did the night before, got the Isles up 1-0 with a second-period wrister. The Caps evened the score and it was 1-1 late in the third when Chris Campoli fired a blast at Olaf Kolzig. Bill Guerin was there for the rebound -- he's coming around again -- with what looked to be the game-winner. But Washington stunned the house when, with Kolzig pulled, the dangerous Alex Ovetchkin beat Rick DiPietro, forcing OT.
Credit Radek Martinek and the Islanders' defense for not only limiting Ovetchkin all night, the way they did against Sidney Crosby the night before, but for holding the Caps to just 14 shots on goal. Kudos also to Chris Botta, who was honored for 20 years with the team. Nice work, Chris -- you've been great to us bloggers and the Isles are lucky to have you.
In other news, an interesting take on the Kyle Okposo situation in the New York Times. I couldn't agree more.
And Nolan had extra reason to smile Saturday night when son Brandon made his NHL debut for the Carolina Hurricanes, where of course he plays for ex-Isles coach Peter Laviolette. Brandon got an assist on Carolina's first goal in its 4-1 victory.
So with no games until after Christmas Day, allow Still Drivin' to wish a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.