Like the shift after scoring a big goal, following up a big win with another win is very important. A hockey-ism that the Islander Castaways seemed to forget last night against Toronto and one that I am sure Teddy Nolan is going to drill back into their minds before next game.
Back on Wednesday night in Uniondale the Isles put up a typical Nolan-esque performance to get their first win against the rival Rangers. Timely scoring from Marc-Andre Bergeron, a 5 on 3 tally from the newly signed Bryan Berard, and solid tending by Ricky D. secured the Isles 2 more points in the Atlantic division. I think both teams played very well and at times the Rangers controlled most of the play, but it looks as if the Rags are still having a little a bit of trouble getting everyone on the same page. As Isles fans this was a huge win against the Rangers after their off-season spending spree. But rest assured the Rangers already have November 6th marked on their calendars for the rematch.
I'd like to forget about the Islanders debacle last night against the Leafs and focus solely on the win against the Rangers but that would not be fair. It was a historic win for the Leafs and Mr. Sundin as the Swede became the all time points and goal leader for the storied original 6 franchise. The Leafs bounced back strong after a 7-1 drubbing by the 'Canes and the Islanders never got on the charter flight to Toronto after the Rangers win on the previous night. Wade Dubielewicz had the pleasure of facing the offensive barrage and all of the blame cannot fall on Dubbie's shoulders though; the forwards turned the puck over in the no-no zone around the Leafs offensive blue line and rarely put any pressure on the forecheck. The defence or lack there of, looked like a bad Pee-Wee team losing their men and swinging their purses in a feeble attempt to stop the Leafs attack.
Its an unnerving loss to say the least. Excuses can be used that everyone has a bad night or it was a factor of back to back games, even more so that it was after a tough win. Honestly though Ted Nolan does not strike me as the type of person who has the word "excuse" in his vocabulary and I fully expect the Isles to come out very strong against Philly on Saturday night. Until then, lets just keep enjoying this title while it still lasts, "Atlantic Division Leading New York Islanders."