In a battle of the Olympics’ top two goal scorers, the New York Islanders came out on top on the strength of Lubomir Visnovsky’s snap shot from the slot 1:55 into overtime.
Toronto’s Phil Kessel and the Islanders’ Michael Grabner each had five goals in Sochi to pace Men’s hockey in the Olympics, and each of these wingers factored in tonight’s offense.
With Austria's most recent loss to the Slovenians, Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner will both be returning to Long Island with their Olympic tours coming to an early end (Photo credit: Michael Cummo Photography/Flickr).
Grabner leaves the tournament second in scoring, only behind Team USA's Phil Kessel. Vanek finished with only one assist in the four games played as Team Austria's captain.
Now Vanek will focus on returning to a destination that he will likely only call his home for a short while longer. It was evident that Isles GM Garth Snow was looking to move the star forward before the NHL roster freeze. When NHL games resume, there will be only five days left for Snow to trade Vanek to a contending team looking to bolster their roster before the playoffs.
Last night in the NHL was the final day of regular season games and the two week break for the Olympics is here now. The NHL participants for the men’s hockey tournament will fly over to Sochi, Russia and represent their countries in the tournament that begins on Wednesday.
It's been repeated dozens of times before: the Islanders defense is not as good as it needs to be, and the goaltending between the pipes is a major area of concern. But what hasn't been acknowledged is that the Isles offense, which has more or less been excused, needs improvement as well (Photo credit: THEFANBLOG/Flickr).
There's no denying that Matt Carkner's play has been less than superb, and that Matt Donovan has continued to make the expected rookie mistakes. Both of these players have led to Travis Hamonic and most notably Andrew MacDonald being forced into accepting more minutes and responsibility that is perhaps too much for this duo to handle on a nightly basis.
Add that Lubomir Visnovsky's veteran leadership has been missing for quite some time now and you have every hockey pundit saying "ya think?!" when asked if the Isles defense may be one of the reasons why they have slid in the standings.
But see if you can answer this: aside from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek (while healthy) and Frans Nielsen, where has the offense come for this team?
The New York Islanders will look to win the second game of a back-to-back trip against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
Kevin Poulin is expected to be back between the pipes, who made some tremendous acrobatic saves against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night despite a 4-3 loss on a goal that came from Sidney Crosby in the final minute of the third period.
Defensive breakdowns would end up costing the Isles a very valuable point, as they were just a little over a minute away from overtime.