10 February 2010
It took the Islanders eight games to finally play the desperate hockey they needed to win. They put Martin Biron in net and brought up Matt Martin and Jessie Joensuu to try and jump start the offensively struggling team.
The first started out uneventful and slow for the Islanders, who only recorded 3 shots on goal in the fist. Biron, who faced nine shots in the first, showed some rust periodically, including on one shot which nearly went in after Biron got a piece of the shot. It managed to fly just over the top of the net.
The second would mark the true awakening of the Isles. "he second period on was good except for the turn over's," Scott Gordon said after the game. The Islanders had several opportunities to score, including one by Andy Sutton which just went high above the net. However the Islanders would get on the board 5:10 into the second by a goal from Freddy Meyer. That would Meyer's second goal of the season giving the Islanders the 1-0 lead. Nashville would come right back just 5 minutes later after Biron made an initial save as he fell to the ice. As one of his defenseman went to clear it away, they swept it right to Cal O'Reilly who tied it up at one. Three minutes later the Islanders gave the puck up during a line change, giving Joel Ward a break away. Ward would beat Biron to give Nashville the 2-1 lead and Andy Sutton slammed his stick in frustration. The Islanders would get a break during the closing minutes of the second, Shea Weber got called for cross checking. The Islanders were able to capitalize on the late power play when Bruno Gervais scored his second goal of the season with help of rookie call up Matt Martin, who got his first NHL point.
The third did not start off well for the Islanders, Blake Comeau got called for cross checking just 1:51 into the third and at 4:12 the Predators had regained the lead off of a power play goal by Steve Sullivan. A deflated Islanders home crowd saw the minutes tick away and as the one minute warning sounded many had started to get their coats on and gather their things to head home. Then at the 19:14 mark the Islander caught their biggest break yet, Nashville's Martin Erat took a boarding penalty to give the Isles the man advantage. The Islanders made them pay, with just eleven seconds remaining on the clock, Mark Striet blasted one from the blue line and past Rinne to tie the game. "It was a very exciting part of the game," Marty Biron explained after the game. "It feels like you just scored an overtime game winner in the playoffs."
The overtime period brought nothing, so they went to the shootout. Frans Nielson would use his patent signature move to beat Rinne. Rinne and Biron would stop the next two shooters giving with the Islanders still up by one. Biron had a chance to end it with a save on Martin Erat, but failed on to poke the puck away and left an open net to score on. John Tavares would get that goal right back and Biron would make the following save to end the game. "In the shootout you get antsy and do things you realize you shouldn't have done," Biron explained with a smile on his face. "But JT [John Tavares] scored a big goal after that and defiantly that second time I wasn't gunna try anything crazy out there and it worked a little better."
The Islanders snap their losing streak at seven and are still just five points out of a playoff spot. They have a game tonight against a tough Penguins team who beat them 5-4 in their last meeting and the have two more home games before stepping away for the Olympic break. The win last night could give the Islanders the confidence to go into the break on high note. About last night's win, Marty Biron said, "this was something that could switch the momentum on our side."
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