On the last night of 2013, Your New York Islanders will travel to TD Gardens in Boston and face the Bruins. We shall see if the Isles can ride the wave of momentum after their thrilling come from behind win against Minnesota. Zedeno Chara is back in the line up for Boston while Michael Grabner & Matt Carkner are back in for Boulton & Ness. Josh Bailey is still day to day with an upper body injury.
Forwards: Vanek-Tavares-Okposo, Grabner-Nielsen-Clutterbuck, Nelson-Strome-McDonald, Regin-Cizikas-Martin.
D-Pairings: MacDonald-Hickey, de Haan-Hamonic, Strait-Carkner.
Evgeni Nabokov is net with Kevin Poulin on the bench.
The Islanders come out slow once again and immediately find them selves trying to catch up and protect the net in their own end. Boston has dictated the pace in the first period, But credit Nabokov for his work thus far. Isles continue to struggle and Boston makes it 1-0 as Cizikas makes a bad clear and Carkner is seemingly unable to move bodies from in front of the net. To make it worse, the Isles get a bad penalty call, but are successful on the PK. As the Islanders pressure Boston in their own zone, the puck ends up behind Rask from a Clutterbuck shot. After the review, the call is no goal. It looks like the puck crossed the goal line to me, but the call says otherwise. Its hard to complain about calls, but it seems to me that each game is an uphill battle. You tell me. (@BruinsDaily)
Thomas Hickey, Cal Clutterbuck and Colin McDonald are really working hard tonight and their play is infectious. PP for the Isles. Kyle Okposo takes the puck off the boards to John Tavares and Frans Nielsen puts a quick wrist shot by Rask tying the score at 1-1, PPG. de Haan gets called for a cross check and Boston makes them pay, 2-1 Boston. Just :25 seconds later, Boston scores again and makes it 3-1 off a Hickey turn over to Chara. The Islanders get refocused after a Boston Bruins time out is called. They seem more active and aggressive in the offensive zone with strong fore checking, creates a PP opportunity. Isles cash in as Frans Nielsen scores (Vanek & Taveres) to get closer to evening the score, 3-2 Boston. Lucic crosschecks McDonald immediately from the face off. The Isles went right back to a PP chance, but failed to score this time. Rask takes a delay of game penalty with close to a minute remaining and Kyle Okposo scores a PPG with 2.6 seconds left on the clock, game tied at 3-3 at the end of two.
John Tavares scores 5 seconds into the third period to give the Islanders a 4-3 lead to start the third period. Both teams have found another gear and are testing each other regularly. Isles really starting to get under Bostons skin, especially Colin McDonald. Marchand goes after Strome, Isles to the PP. John Tavares scores PPG! 5-3 Islanders. Isles to the PK, Grabner gets a short handed break away and goes wide. Lucic "boards" Hamonic and gets 4:00 (boarding & unsportsmanlike conduct) and a 10 minute game misconduct. Jiggs McDonald asks Butch Goring, "What in the world has happened to respect for your opponent in this sport?" Isles will get almost 3:30 that could technically allow them to finish the game on the PP after some 4 on 4. The Isles win the game 5-3, but get outshot 38-31, but going 4/8 on the PP against a team like Boston. Not too shabby. Evgeni Nabokov was strong, especially late going 35/38 with a .932Sv%. I loved the aggressive fore and back checking and the gritty play by McDonald and Clutterbuck who just keeps getting better and better.
John Kreiser said it well, "Happy new year for Isles, who rally from 3-1 down for 5-3 win at Boston. 6-0-1 in last 7 games on Dec. 31 - last loss was in '98, 1-0 at CHI." A nice display of resiliance lately, especially over the last two games, coming back from behind and really turning the game back at their opponent. John Tavares with 44 pts after a (2 & 2) 4 pt night. Kyle Okposo with 40 points, 3 pts tonight. Frans Nielsen with 32 points had 2 goals, Andrew MacDonald & Thomas Vanek with 22 points had 2 assists and Thomas Hickey had an assist on the night. Both the PP and PK have been a big reason for the Isles success in recent games, winning the last 4 on the road and 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. The Isles improve to 13-21-7 with 33 pts.
I will be AFK for the games against Chicago on Thursday, 1/2 @ 7 pm & Carolina on Saturday, 1/4 @ 7 pm. I will try and rejoin the hockey universe on Monday against Dallas @ 7 pm or Tuesday vs. Toronto @ 7 pm with a recap and current game coverage.
Happy New Year Everyone.
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