Thursday, December 27, 2007

Game recap: Islanders 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)

This was one of those good news/better news/bad news games for the Islanders. The good news is that Wade Dubielewicz proved that he can step it up for the team when they need it. The better news is that Dubie's stellar play in the third period and overtime helped the Islanders win their third straight game, a 4-3 victory over the Maple Leafs Wednesday night at the Coliseum.

The bad news is that the reason Dubie was in goal in the first place is that Rick DiPietro suffered a knee injury in pregame warmups and lasted just the first period, in which the Islanders scored three goals, which if my math is correct represented a 300 percent increase in scoring efficiency compared to the last six weeks.

DiPietro was scheduled to get an MRI and be reevaluated Thursday, and as of 11:15 a.m. there has been no update. DiPietro will not make the trip to Ottawa for Thursday night's game against the Senators, so Yoda will need to use the force again tonight.

Mike Comrie scored twice, including the OT game-winner off an assist from Richard Park, who had a career-best three assists in the game. Of course, Park made the winning play as the final seconds of overtime ticked away by stealing the puck from Jason Blake, making his return to the Coliseum as a Maple Leaf. Blake was treaded well by the Islanders with a video tribute and was mostly well-received by the crowd, so there probably more than a few pangs of pain when he his giveaway led to Comrie's game-winner with less than 10 seconds left on the clock (right, Dee?).

It was a fabulous play by by Park, who has been one of the team's best players this season. He stole the puck at the Islanders' blue line, broke into the Maple Leafs zone and fired a shot of which a Toronto defender got a piece. But Comrie was there charging to the net and put the puck past Andrew Raycroft, another backup getting rare playing time.

Park has the opportunity to make that play thanks to Dubie, who got some help from the crossbar on a shot by Mats Sundin but was otherwise a stone wall as he made four BIG stops in the OT in a shooting-gallery atmosphere.

Another interesting development was the significant playing time afforded Blake Comeau and Freddy Meyer, particularly at the end of the game. Comeau has some serious jump and it's clear that Ted Nolan is going to give him the opportunities to help the team. I love the fact that there are so many young players contributing to a team that is also winning.

It was a thrilling victory, to be sure, and it was great to see Dubie coming up huge. But let's not kid ourselves - the Isles need DP back, pronto. Let's hope he's OK.

Tom Liodice of The Tiger Track (who had a great live blog of the game) says Joey Macdonald of the Sound Tigers will back up Dubie tonight in Ottawa.


sanpete4 said...

Still Drivin',
Great game last night... one of the most entertaining regular season tilts I have seen in some time. I am consistently enamored with this team whenever I watch. They genuinely seem to play for each other. Clearly this team needs scoring from every inch of the roster, but I feel like 35 games in, their best hockey is in front of them. Guys like Guerin and Comrie and certainly Satan score in bunches, and if they can take advantage of those binges by winning those games, the defense and DiPete (hopefully healthy) can keep us in the rest.
Looking forward to tonight, though expecting to get drubbed. Need to get off to fast start again, and take the initial onslaught that is sure to face Dubie...
And... man do I love beating the Leafs... almost as satisfying as beating the Rangers. Almost.

7th Woman said...

I certainly don't mind Park winning the game. I don't even mind it being on a Blake turnover. I screamed just as loud when the buzzer sounded that the Isles won. What I do feel really bad about is how the Canadian media is now treating Blake for that unfortunate turn over. Truthfully, I don't envy these men and the conditions they work under. I have a hard enough time dealing with internet bullies on my web journal. I can't imagine living with the 24 hour a day intense media scrutiny they do.
Ok... maybe a few mil would help... but it would still not do my head any good.