A small, intimate gathering here at the Coliseum tonight as the Islanders take on the Flyers and try to snap not only a seven-game winless streak but a seven-game HOME losing streak. I made the drive from Stony Brook to be here, so I expect a win. So does Ted Nolan, I'm sure.
Actually, the roads weren't too bad coming in. Took 90 minutes to get here, double the usual time, but by the time I hit the Northern State it was pretty much a train ride -- a line of cars content to go 20 miles an hour and not get too crazy, unlike some of the drivers who had traversed the same road earlier in the day and took it a little too fast, whose cars dotted the shoulders every couple of miles.
In case you haven't seen it, read the profile of Stefan Persson on the Islanders site. Persson was extremely underrated and could have starred on just about any team in the NHL, so we were very glad to have him here.
Bruno Gervais won't be playing tonight - just add him to the list of the injured. It doesn't get any easier for this team, which would make a win tonight against the Flyers even bigger.
By the way, there are more people in the Blog Box tonight than there are in Section 226. Seriously. Everyone wants to see the Isles break the slide and beat Philly. YEAH!
Berard and Bergeron playing together tonight -- that will be a combo to watch tonight. Scoring chances created versus allowed. Isles come out strong by the way with three shots in the first three minutes. So let's see some goals.
Martinek called for closing his hand on the puck - are you kidding me? It may have been closed for a thousandth of a second on the hand pass. Please. Can we just let them play? Weak. Isles kill it off.
It's Hockey and Heels night tonight, and the Isles are giving away makeovers. Eddie Shore is turning over in his grave.
When it rains it pours. Witt and Hartnell smash knees at center ice - didn't look intentional either way, but Witt gets the penalty. Can we catch one break? And then a puck comes firing into the stands. Even the fans are outta luck tonight. Isles kill it again.
Lots of talk in the Blog Box tonight about whether the Isles are buyers or sellers. Frank Trovato says blow up the team and bring up Okposo. Tom Liodice says keep Okposo down. I see three or four players dealt at most. Speaking of drafts, I was perusing through The Hockey News 1991-92 Yearbook at the 1991 draft results. The Isles took Scott Lachance with the fourth pick, which I thought was a good pick since he went to BU. A few picks later, Peter Forsberg went to the Flyers. Ouch.
By the way, there is a three-month-old sitting two rows in front of me in his Islanders blue. Now THAT'S dedication.
Scramble in front - and Hunter pokes it past Nittymaki with just 2:18 left. Isles convert on one of their 14 shots of the period. Isles up 1-0 after one, shots 17-11 in favor.
Not only flying pucks to be wary of, but we were almost nailed by two T-shirts. They keep you on your toes here.
Keeping you informed: Larry the Cable Guy will be at the Coliseum on May 2. I may have to be here. That isn't a paid endorsement - I just think the guy is hilarious.
Second period begins - and of course the Isles get called for a penalty, this time Sutton for holding, a mere 15 seconds in. Geez. And the Flyers score - D.P. makes a great stop in a goalmouth scramble with a wave of his glove off Knuble, but the puck goes right to Briere, tie game.
What's this? An Islanders power play? We'll take the make-up call if it was one.
Comrie a terrible cross-ice pass to Berard picked off by Richards - D.P. stays with him on the breakaway and Richards dekes himself, no shot. Then Meyer with a pass from the point to the post to Satan, he deflects the puck just wide. That was a fun sequence.
And a nice shot by Tambellini from the left circle and it's 2-1 Islanders! Beats Nittymaki inside the far post. That's how you answer.
Another reason the Isles need to win tonight - tomorrow's my birthday. Thanks!
Tambellini with a golden opportunity in front with Nittymaki down and he can't convert - shot hits a Flyer in front. Could have been 3-1 right there. Nice work tonight from that line of kids.
GREAT GOAL - Hunter steals the puck at the Isles blue line and feeds Bergenheim on a breakaway down the middle. He draws the penalty as he's hooked from behind, but still gets off the shot and beats fellow Finn Nittymaki -- again, stick side -- with just over 6 minutes left in the second. Isles up, 3-1.
Isles shorthanded AGAIN - this time it's Comeau in the box. Get the feeling someone would like to see a certain outcome tonight? Hmmmmmmm. No matter - another kill for the Islanders.
Moments later, the equalizer. Umberger down low crosses a pass to the slot for Hartnell, who beats the defenseman to the spot, Flyers cut it to 3-2. Bad goal with two minutes left - you can't give one back that easy. End of two, Isles up by one.
Flyers jump on it in the first minute of the third, D.P. makes a nice pad stop at the left post. Comrie answers with a sharp wrister snared by Nittymaki.
ANOTHER Isles penalty, this time on Bergenheim, two minutes for interference. Not making it easy. And another kill. Great job by the PK tonight.
With 8:26 left, I think the Isles really need a goal here to go up two, because Philly will probably score with around 4 minutes left, if recent history counts for anything.
Kimmo Timonen rings one off the post -- here we go...
Fedotenko! With 5:58 left. His shot was saved, Hunter takes a shot low that's stopped, but the Tenk roofs one, third time is a charm and the Isles are up 4-2. There's the insurance goal they needed. HUGE.
Isles almost make it five goals when Vasicek puts a move on Nittymaki but it's stopped - Vasicek had the arms raised. Seconds later, Isles on another PP. Now it's a 2-man advantage when Comrie drags the toe and holds the puck on a 2-on-1 to draw the foul.
Easy come, easy go. The 2-man advantage disappears, then Fedotenko is called for roughing as the Flyers swarm the net. It's 4-on-4 with 1:06 to go. Game ain't over yet.
Philly pulls the goalie, and right off the faceoff Lupul scores to make it 4-3. Philly on the PP for the last 53 seconds. Nice clear by Park with :18 left.
That's it -- Isles win and the streaks are broken. Off to the postgame!