It took a dramatic finish, but the New York Islanders finally won a game on home ice during a Sunday matinee game, defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in the shootout.
The Islanders got on the board early in the game when Brad Boyes scored his fifth of the year, beating Robin Lehner glove side under the crossbar. The play started when Matt Moulson received a pass from Mark Streit at the Senators blue line and fed Boyes the puck as he was flying up the slot.
Not long after Boyes' goal, Matt Martin was found banging bodies all over the ice. In fact Martin had 6 hits in just over 3 minutes of play during the first period. Senators enforcer Chris Neil took exception to Martin's physical play and challenged him to a fight, but Martin ignored his request and continued to take out Senators along the wall.
He finished with 11 hits on the night. Coming into the game, Martin was just one shy of tying Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott for the league lead of 94 hits.
For the New York Islanders, home hasn't been very sweet. One of the National Hockey League's "road warriors" with a record of six wins three losses and one overtime loss, the Isles are conversely one of the league's worst home teams. How bad? 2-8-0 bad. The worst home start in franchise history kind of bad.
The New York Islanders took on The Buffalo Sabres at First Niagra Center Saturday night in front of a sell out crowd. On Wednesday, Buffalo fired long time coach Lindy Ruff and hired Ron Rolston for the position. Isles big news occurred on Friday when the team placed G Rick DiPietro on waivers.
DiPietro cleared waivers and will play in Bridgeport for the remainder of the season, in all likelihood. He will get plenty of ice time there, and we will see if he can find his game again. I have nothing against DP, but I fear this will be a tall order. Time will tell.
The Isles opened the game with the successful Tavares-Moulson-Boyes line. David Ullstrom was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game. Hamonic-MacDonald started on D, and Evgeni Nabokov was in goal with Kevin Poulin as his backup.
The New York Islanders announced today that they have placed goaltender Rick DiPietro on waivers to be sent down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and has no intent of calling him back up to the NHL this season.
Islanders fans very well may be seeing the beginning to the end of the Rick DiPietro era.
This doesn't exactly come to many as a surprise since DiPietro has clearly not played up to the standards of an NHL caliber goaltender. Despite only performing in the back-up role, Rick has earned a 4.09 GAA and a .855 save percentage with an 0-3-0 record (Photo Credit: 5of7/Flickr).
As the Islanders took to the ice in Montreal, they tried to erase their losing ways of the past few weeks. Aside from two wins against the Rangers and Devils, the Isles have come up empty in every game as of late. Isles are 2-7-0 over their last 9 games before they took the ice against the streaking Habs.
Perhaps the Isles hit rock bottom during what we will refer to as an assassination of dignity and credibility. After falling flat in a lopsided 7-0 loss to the Flyers, they were attempting to get back to winning ways in Ottawa.
Unfortunately, the Isles were unable to get back in the win column falling 3-1. They were very much in the game but poor goaltending and key mistakes by DiPietro was their demise.
In danger of yet another significant losing streak, the Isles didn't start well against the Habs on the road.
Keeping up with a disturbing trend as of late, they continued to give up early goals. They were down 1-0 before they could even get their muscles loose.
The New York Islanders have certainly hit a lull this season, having lost seven of their past nine games and being outscored 10-1 in the past two games. Although the forwards and defense are far from perfect and share the blame with the entire team, the goaltending has certainly been an issue (Photo Credit: spotboslow/Flickr).
Teams typically put themselves in a good position to in when they manage to get over 40 shots on net, or close to it, such as in the 3-2 loss to the Sabres (43 shots) and last night's 3-1 loss to the Senators (38 shots).
But that hasn't exactly been the case for the Isles.
The Islanders are just slightly past the quarter mark of the season after playing their 13th game of the year last night against the New York Rangers. They skated to a 4-3 shootout victory to give them a 5-7-1 record.
With 11 points, the Islanders sit 12th in the Eastern Conference; four points out of the eighth placed Rangers and last in the Atlantic Division (Photo Credit: theseoduke/Flickr).
Five of the Islanders top-six forwards have been producing from the start of the year. John Tavares has 16 points in 13 games, trailed by Matt Moulson with 13 and Brad Boyes with 10. Frans Nielsen has quietly put up nine points in the games that have been played, while Michael Grabner has seven.
A quick check of the New York team site will tell you they have Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson, Mikko Koskinen and Cody Rosen. Let's forget Rosen for the purposes of this article. The Clarkson goaltender is a back up at his school and has no real future at the NHL level.
As Long Islanders shovel their way out of Nemo's wintery wrath, the Islanders look to dig themselves out of this 3 game losing streak.
After a successful road trip, the Islanders returned home to lose to New Jersey and Pittsburgh and went back to the road for the first against the Rangers.
Other than John Tavares' impressive play, the Islanders looked outworked, unenthusiastic and just overwhelmed by the Rangers.
They have been outscored 11-3 on this recent skid. It is obvious that scoring is not coming to the team as easily as it once was.
It is important for the team not to harp on losses and let them snowball into long stretches of futility that could render this season a wash.
The season is too tightly packed for the Islanders to feel bad for themselves and let the losses mount. In this talented Eastern Conference and more specifically Atlantic Division, it is easy to get buried.