The "DP" Chants started well before the drop of the puck and continued throughout the game. Last night marked Rick Dipietro's first start on home ice in nearly 13 months, so needless to say he wanted to show the home town crowd hes still got it. He was tested early and often in the beginning of the first make several saves, although leaving many rebounds for the Sabres to put back in. Lucky for him his teammates were there to pick up the lose pucks. With solid D in their own zone the Islanders scored the first goal of the game at 5:38 of the first courtesy of John Tavares. Tavares broke his nine game goal-less streak scoring just his second goal in 17 games.
In the second The Islanders would add to their lead, Andrew MacDonald made a beautiful pass to Bergenhiem who redirected past Olympic net minder, Ryan Miller. The good times would come to a screeching halt just 30 seconds later as Mike Grier would slip one past Dipietro to bring the Sabres back with one.
The third would come with controversy and heart break, Richard Park got a shot past Miller to give a 3-1 lead. But wait, the ref waived it off on what was called goaltender interference. As replay showed from every angle that the call on the ice was a bad one and Richard Park was robbed of a goal, (not a good week for NHL officials). Then at 9:35 Drew Stafford tied the game forcing OT and then a shoot out. In the End Ricky got his first win and the Islanders got a much needed 2 points.no comments
For those who have been fantasizing of ilya kovalchuk in an Islanders uniform fantasize no more, here is he is wearing Isles blue and orange.
NHL 10 junkies for a cheap price of an NHL prospect and your first and second round draft picks and ilya kovalchuk is yours.
Enjoy IHB's December Islelights
Use 'em or Lose 'em will be a weekly series about which upcoming free agents and on the bubble players the Islanders should keep or get rid.
USE 'EM OR LOSE 'EM
Brendan Witt: The 34 year defensmen who has played with the Isles since the 2006-2007 season has seen his stats dramatically decrease since his inaugural season. In that first season with the club he played in 81 games , had a goal and 14 assists and finished the season a +14. Since then he has yet to play a full season, has yet to finish a + anything since and has not received more than 9 points in a season. For the most part of this season, excluding several games, Witt was nearly invisible on the ice and has failed to really make nuch of an impact. His best performance of this season came on November 2nd, where he scored his first multi goal game of his career. He also became the face of tough hockey players everywhere after shaking off a hit by a GMC Yukon in Philadelphia and preceding to go play a game that night, in which they were pummeled 6-2. Other than those events Witt has been useless and maybe taking a spot from someone from more deserving of playing time.
IHB VERDICT: LOSE 'EM
Martin Biron:A veteran pressence like Marty's is hard to find and his personality is one of a friendly neighbor. Unfortunately when Biron signed his 1 year deal he knew what he was getting, some playing time and a paycheck. This season has not been one of his most stellar season in the win-loss column, going 2-11-2. For what ever reason Biron did not get the "run support" Roloson was able to get from the rest of the team. Coupled with the return of Rick Dipietro, Biron's time on the Island is coming to an end and a new chapter for the Vet is about to begin.
IHB VERDICT: LOSE 'EM
Tonight's game will be the final meeting between the Sabres and Islanders, who will be looking to tie the season series. Rick Dipietro will also make his home debut at the coliseum tonight.
Lindy Ruff called out the Red Wings for making excuses for the loss against the Isles on Tuesday.“Detroit lined up the excuses the other night, but the Islanders really took it to them. The Islanders’ record is very indicative of the way they’ve played this season, and they continue to improve.”
So as we pass the halfway point of the season, everyone begins to talk about the playoff race. The fight to be in the top eight in your respective conference. Everyone gets caught up in talking about home ice, bubble teams and clinching, and the division races fall into the background for the most part. So before that time comes, let's take what will probably be one last look at the division races before it all turns into the playoff races.
Atlantic Division-The New Jersey Devils are first with 65 points; eight more points than second place Pittsburgh. And on top of that, they have three games in hand. The Devils are leading now, have been leading for a while, and will likely finish the season atop the Atlantic.
Northeast Division-Tied for the fewest games played in the division, yet still an outstanding 10 points ahead of second place Boston, the Buffalo Sabres are having one heck of a season early on. Ryan Miller has been their MVP and if they continue this pace, should be considered a league MVP candidate at the end of the season. Boston is the only real threat to take this division title away, but 10 points and a bunch of injuries will probably keep Buffalo a the top the rest of the season.
Southeast Division-No surprise at the top, with Washington leading, but what's surprising is that Carolina is at the bottom. Regardless, Washington is 14 points ahead at this moment, and that'll probably grow over time.
Central Division-Anytime Detroit is 14 points out of a division lead you know a team is having a good year and the Chicago Blackhawks are doing just that with 66 points. They have a seven point lead over second place Nashville and have been consistently one of the best teams all year. They're likely to end Detroit's streak this year.
Pacific Division-No surprise here either with San Jose 10 points ahead of second place. Everyone behind them though is having strange seasons from what was expected as Dallas and Anaheim have struggled and Phoenix and LA have been successful. While the Kings were close to taking the division lead away, they've hit a skid recently and have fallen 14 points back. And while having a great year, the Coyotes are still 10 points behind the Sharks and can't seem to beat them. San Jose will have to endure a lot of injuries to lose their crown.
Northwest Division-And the most competitive division of them all thus far. The Wild and Oilers are out of it while the Flames, Avalanche and Canucks are at each others throats. Calgary and Colorado each have 58 points with Vancouver two behind with 56. The Flames currently hold first thanks to having played one less game so far, but Vancouver has the most wins. It's almost too close to call, but if one team is likely to fall out of it first I'd say Colorado will fade. If Vancouver continues to play the way they have recently they could very well win this thing. But that long Olympics induced road trip could kill them, so right now I'll say the Flames will win it all.
So that's the review. As you can see, maybe one reason people lose sight of the divisions is because five of them halfway through the season are already essentially won. The Northwest will sure be a lot of fun to watch though.no comments