Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Three straight wins, three days off

Joey MacDonald matched Roberto Luongo save for save Monday night at the Coliseum, then clinched a shootout win for the Islanders by poking the puck off the stick of Alex Burrows on the Canucks' final shot, giving the Islanders -- well, lookee here -- a three-game winning streak.

Howie Rose and, in particular, Billy Jaffe, took great pleasure in pointing out what a shocking upset this was to the Vancouver media. But after sweeping the Senators in a home-and-home -- a team that has absolutely killed the Isles over the years -- the Islanders are looking pretty frisky.

You had to love the grin on Franz Neilsen's face after he schooled Roberto Luongo with a forehand-to-backhand move on the Islanders' first shootout attempt. Nodding his head emphatically as he skated past the Vancouver bench, Neilsen later said, "He's a big guy, and you don't see a lot of net," Nielsen said. "You have to try to get him down and get [the puck] up."

MacDonald is making fans forget about Rick DiPietro, and the home crowd has taken to the Jo-EY, Jo-EY chant. MacDonald, who had 31 saves, must have caught highlights of the Devils' shootout win Saturday night when he followed Scott Clemmensen's lead and poked the puck away from Burrows.

And take it for what it's worth, but Scott Gordon put Josh Bailey in his shootout lineup, and though the rookie didn't score, that's a pretty big vote of confidence for a kid who is making a strong case to stay in the bigs.

Of course, you take the good with the bad. With Radek Martinek back in the fold and Brendan Witt ready to return, Kyle Okposo suffered what is being called an "arm injury" and will miss about a week, according to the team. Mike Sillinger has agreed to a conditioning stint in Bridgeport but is also on the way back.

Three days off until the Isles visit New Jersey on Friday. So much for momentum.

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