When the horn sounded at the end of the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, Islanders fans rejoiced as their home squad defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 5-2. The Isles skaters removed their jerseys and signed them for the lucky fans who won them as a prize at the end of the game.
Typically, this is a moment at the end of the Islanders season filled with "better luck next year's" and "thanks for supporting us as we rebuild our team." But instead, this time, fans were salivating for more as the Islanders continued to tighten their grasp on their first playoff berth in six years.
"Everyone's been telling me how loud this arena can be," said Matt Martin...
The shortened season has certainly had an effect around the league this year.
Players have been getting hurt and the fatigue factor has been settling in despite not even being half way through the season. The biggest factor in the fatigue has been all of the back-to-back games being played.
They've been especially hard on the Flyers, who fell to 2-4-0 in those games after getting drubbed 5-2 at the hands of the Panthers on Thursday.
A part of the lackadaisical performance could be attributed to the emotionally-charged 6-5 win in Pittsburgh the previous night. The trip itself between the Steel City and Philadelphia wasn't exhausting.
(Pictured: Ilya Bryzgalov and Brian Boucher swap places during the Flyers 5-2 loss on Thursday. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
This week, much to the sadness and/or delight of many Canadiens' fans, is the last of 2011-12. Last week, the Habs surrendered all three of their games, two in the shootout and one in regulation time against the Rangers.