Sunday, March 23, 2008

Game recap: Islanders 3, Devils 1

One of the main postgame themes after the Islanders dropped their sixth straight game Tuesday against the Maple Leafs was the lack of effort by the veterans. With so many callups from Bridgeport in the lineup because of injury -- and with Kyle Okposo making his NHL debut -- the Isles' vets were called out by Ted Nolan and Bill Guerin for not providing the kind of example they should be providing to the young players, never mind committing the sin of going half speed while the team was in a tailspin.

Consider the message received. In a hard-fought (literally) game on the road against the Devils, a team with plenty to play for and Stanley Cup aspirations, the Islanders played their best game in weeks, winning a 3-1 decision that featured terrific goaltending by Wade Dubielewicz and Okposo's first goal.

Of course, the joy is tinged with more than a bit of frustration with the knowledge that the Islanders can somehow be 6-1 against a team like the Devils and yet be out of the playoff picture. Dubie has become a Devil-killer himself, with three wins against the Jersey boys.

Not surprised to see Guerin mix it up, especially after his pointed comments Tuesday. It was surprising to see the Isles actually score three goals on Martin Brodeur despite having a season-low 18 shots.

As for Okposo, he said he was happy to get his first NHL goal "out of the way" so soon. So were we. The Isles look to continue to play spoiler Easter Sunday in Philly.

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