Friday, February 25, 2011

Isles Show Heart, Lose Heartbreaker to Flyers in Overtime, 4-3

In the hours leading up to tonight's game, few, if any, figured that Matt Martin would be the Islanders' clutch performer in Philadelphia.

Well, Mr. Martin had other ideas, as did the rest of the youthful Isles.

New York entered this game having not won a single matchup in that building since 2007, and although they ultimately did not accomplish everything they wanted, they gave 110 percent and left everything they had out there on the ice.

Frans Nielsen flew past Flyers defenseman Matt Carle, firing a scorching wrist shot past Sergei Bobrovsky, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead in the first period and causing the home crowd to fall silent.

Al Montoya was simply brilliant once again, stopping 39 shots and bailing out an inexperienced Islander defense on several occasions.

In fact, the defense was so young, they collectively had less experience than Flyers blueliner Chris Pronger.

After Philadelphia notched three unanswered tallies to move ahead, 3-1, most assumed this was yet another letdown for the Islanders.

It was just that kind of night. John Tavares had seven shots on net, as well as several gorgeous opportunities to score. Grabner and Okposo also had their chances, but simply could not convert.

The Flyers netminder was not letting anything get by, and New York's chances looked slim, to say the least.

Late in the third period, the unexpected became reality, as Matt Martin scored, which was in and of itself a surprise, to put the Isles within one, and then scored again with 27 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score and send the game to overtime.

The Islanders played a very strong extra session, but Philly's passing became too much and that paid off with Andrei Meszaros putting the game away with about 25 seconds left in OT.

There's a lot to feel positive about if you're an Isles fan, namely, this team's never-say-die attitude. If this game was played in the first half of the season, there is no way New York comes back the way they did late in the third frame.

While the New York Islanders will take the point, there is still a feeling of disappointment because this team is capable of getting two points, even against the top team in the conference.

The bottom line is, despite the ending, the Isles were in this game until the very end and they almost did the unthinkable.

With some time, this team will develop into one that does win these types of contests.

That time is coming soon, very soon.

Comments are welcome.


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