Saturday, January 12, 2008

Game recap: Isles win a shootout; D.P. an All-Star after all

I generally don't like being wrong, but in this case, I don't mind.

I mentioned in my previous post that Rick DiPietro might not be selected as an All-Star, but that anyone who watched this team knew how valuable he was. Well, I guess his worth was recognized as he was selected to his first All-Star game. He and Tomas Vokoun of the Panthers will back up starting goalie Martin Brodeur.

D.P.'s value was again on display Friday night as the Isles beat the Flames, 5-4, in a shootout. DiPietro made 38 saves, including two in the shootout, and while the four goals allowed isn't terrific, this was just one of those games.

It was the Islanders' first victory of this five-game road trip, which ends tomorrow night against the Senators. Mike Sillinger scored twice in the first period - the second goal coming off a sweet feed from Ruslan Fedotenko - and Trent Hunter scored on a deflection as the Isles led 3-1 after one. Calgary - red-hot with five straight wins coming into the game - rallied to take a 4-3 lead before Tenk deflected a Bergeron shot past a shaky Kiprusoff.

I loved the difference between the first two Islanders goals in the shootout. Sillinger took it straight to Kiprusoff, beating him stick side. Then Richard Park took his time getting there, before a triple deke beat Kiprusoff with a backhander. Nice change of pace. And it's clear Ted Nolan trusts Park to do pretty much anything.

By the way, it's interesting how there's not so much hoo-hah any more about long-term deals in the NHL. There was much hand-wringing and shouting about DiPietro's deal, but now it seems like a trend after the decade-plus-long contracts signed by Brad Richards and now, Alex Ovetchkin.

Read Minnesota Wild GM Doug Riserbough's comments in John Buccigross' column and you'll see that GMs are reacting to the cap in interesting ways. Maybe Charles Wang is a genius after all.

Also, ESPN's Terry Frei takes a shot at Garth Snow. What he wanted Gary Bettman to do to Snow for his comments about the Kyle Okposo's coach at Minnesota is unclear. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle? Do his laundry for a year like Dwight Schrute?

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