Monday, December 10, 2007

Game recap: Islanders 3, Lightning 2 (OT)

As goes Bill Guerin, so go the Islanders.

Certainly seems that way after Guerin's first goal in 16 games gave the Isles a 1-0 lead in a game that they eventually won in overtime, 3-2. Guerin had registered just one assist in his long scoring drought, which has coincided almost perfectly with the Islanders' current stretch of 18 games scoring three goals or less. We knew Guerin was going to be key to the team's success, but that's ridiculous.

Mike Sillinger netted the game-winner in OT, converting on the Isles' second power play of the overtime to snap their five-game losing streak. The power play played a significant role in the game in more ways than one. Both of Tampa's goals came with the man advantage and both were scored in the third period by Mike Richards, including one on a 5-on-3 late in the third that forced the OT. Andy Hilbert put the Islanders back on top, 2-1, after Richards' first goal.

Tampa's power play was ineffective in the first, with the Islanders missing out on not one but two shorthanded breakaways, one by Sillinger and another by Richard Park. Then in the second, Tampa had a 5-on-3 advantage where Richards broke in alone on Rick DiPietro, only to see D.P. come up huge (again). DiPietro finished with 32 saves and was called the Islanders' "best penaty killer" by Sillinger.

The win came one night after the Isles were blanked by Florida, 3-0. Tomas Vokoun made 25 saves but wasn't tested too much, which has been typical of the Islanders in this stretch of offensive mediocrity. DiPietro did his best to keep the team in the game, stopping Stephen Weiss on a penalty shot, but Weiss score two minutes later on a power play anyway.

The Isles' four-game road trip ends Wednesday night in Buffalo, followed Thursday by a home game against the Coyotes. Plenty of good seats available, for sure. Come on down!

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