The Islanders took on one of the leagues best teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs, last night and showed some offensive promise. The Isles took a 2-0 and a 8-1 shot advantage with goals by Mariusz Czerkawski and Dave Scatchard into the first intermission.
In the second period, the Isles luck seemed to start changing, as an apparent goal by Taylor Pyatt was disallowed when Glen Healy knocked the net of the moorings just under two minutes in. The Maple Leafs would strike back with two goals, one each by Tie Domi and Sergei Berezin. The period ended this way and set up seesaw third period.
The third period feature 6 goals and plenty of opportunities for more. Mats Sundin would give the Maple Leafs an early third period lead. Mark Parrish and Taylor Pyatt would then score goals for the Islanders to give them a 4-3 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period. They would hold on until a questionable hooking penalty was called against goaltender Wade Flaherty when Tie Domi fell down behid the net. The Maple Leafs would tie the score on powerplay goal by Tie Domi. Shortly thereafter Mats Sundin would score his second of the game to give the Leafs the 5-4 leads. They would then add an empty net goal for the final score of 6-4.
The four goals, the disallowed goal and several other close calls was a welcome site after seeing numerous games when the Islanders have been unable to muster up any offense. In the last two games, they have manage to score 11 goals.
The play of Taylor Pyatt was extremely encouraging, he used his size to fight for the puck along the board, and had a goal (almost two) and several other chances.
The Islanders once again fell apart in the closing minutes of a close game. This time it cost them what would have been a great win and confidence builder.
The power play was a little better, but was often caught up in the own end, thereby wasting large portions of it just trying to get set up.
The penalty kill was pretty good at times, putting a lot of pressure on the Maple Leaf offense, but when the Leafs were able to get set up, the Islanders had a hard time clearing the front of the net.
Month In Review:
The 3-11 (3-9-0-2) record says it all. After a strong October, the Islanders fell apart against the better teams that they played in November. Despite what appears to be a slightly better offensive weapon, the Islanders were not able to pull out the close games. What made it frustrating is that in more than a few instances, those close games were theirs for the taking, but they fell apart with just enough time for the opposition to come back and beat them.