Thursday, December 28, 2006

Post Ranger Syndrome Strikes Islanders Again

I am not a believer in this. Maybe because I'm not a Fishstick fan. But for whatever reason, their team never seems to be able to follow a big win over the Rangers with another triumph.

Don't believe me? It happened again tonight in Kanata, Ontario where the Islanders were shutout by Ottawa 2-0. Was it a case of poor effort? Not really. But from watching this contest, the Isles were a step behind the well rested Sens. Might the Rangers have taken something out of them? Haha. I'll leave that to the audience to decide.

Either way, the Senators got a Mike Fisher first period tally off a broken play in which a Daniel Alfredsson pass deflected to an isolated Fisher who stuffed it home into an open net.

Trailing by a goal and outshot 12-3 in a lethargic first, the Isles picked it up in the second but couldn't solve Ray Emery. When two Islanders were penalized and then the bench was assessed an additional minor with less than eight minutes left in the game, it looked like it was curtains. But some gutsy penalty killing especially from Brendan Witt and clutch netminding from Rick DiPietro (two pointblank robberies of Dany Heatley at the doorstep) allowed the Isles to see the light. Could they kill off the 5-on-4 and then possibly tie the score? Unfortunately, they fell a second short when Chris Kelly redirected an Andrej Meszaros point shot to put the contest out of reach.

And so the Islanders couldn't take advantage of their game at hand on the idle Devils and tie them for first. The Isles will now have the next couple of days off before hosting that New Jersey team they have owned lately. In the only match-up of the season, the Isles routed the Devils 5-2 at CAA. It should be interesting to see who comes out on top. And in general, which team wins this all important season series because the way things are shaping up with the fading Rangers (six straight losses), Penguins (five straight defeats) and Flyers (franchise worst 10 straight losses) the Atlantic could come down to those remaining seven head-to-head games.

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