Due to the terrible blizzard that has hit Long Island, the Islanders wanted to cancel tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens that was to be played at the Nassau Coliseum. However, the league stepped in and simply said “No.” With both teams present and ready to play, the New York Islanders organization didn’t have a choice. Hockey was scheduled to play, and that’s exactly what happened, and the Islanders should be happy. They got a strong game out of Dwayne Roloson, as usual, and won 4-1 due mostly in part to a major power play in the third period that also saw some five-on-three time.
In order to assure their fans’ safety, the Islanders announced that all fans that had a ticket to tonight’s game could use the ticket to go to a different home game this year, whether or not they decided to brave the storm. So the 1,000 or so Montreal Canadiens fans that trekked on down got an extra little Christmas present if they decide to attend another Islanders game this year. Too bad the Canadiens won’t be back in town.
The goals came from Comeau, Grabner, Parenteau and Wisniewski, the latter on the five minute major/two-man advantage at the start of the third period. Max Pacioretty received the major along with a game misconduct for a boarding call on Mark Eaton that forced the defenseman into the dressing room for some extra attention. Luckily, he was all right and returned to the bench shortly after.
Rob Schremp continued his strong play and was honored with wearing the hard hat in the dressing room after the game, a playful honor that goes to the hardest worker on the ice. Schremp has 11 points in his last 12 games played, including one goal and three assists in his past five games. In the first period, Schremp took a hit along the boards in the neutral zone just after he threaded the needle with a beautiful pass to Blake Comeau that led to the first goal of the game. So far Schremp has 13 points in 19 games. He only managed 25 points in 44 games last season.
Although the Islanders scored twice on the power play, an accomplishment that hasn’t been repeated since the last time the Islanders played the Canadiens in their building on Oct. 27, they were heavily outplayed. They were out-shot 39-25 but continued to receive solid play from their veteran goaltender. Roloson has now earned wins in his last three starts while facing 35 or more shots. His save percentage has been .971 or higher, including a .974 performance tonight. Surprisingly enough, the 41-year-old goalie is only 5-12-1 with the Isles this season but has a 2.38 GAA and a .920 save percentage through 18 games played.
He will certainly give Capuano plenty to think about as the Islanders get set to head into Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers; and believe me, the weather isn’t going to be any kinder in the Big Apple. Does Ricky get the nod between the pipes after being activated from the IR to take on his favorite enemies? Or does the coach stick with the hot goaltender? He has stated that he likes to go with the goalie who is on fire — right now that is Roloson.
But the weather in NYC won’t matter; the Islanders continue to snowball along with a 4-0-1 record in their past five matches, looking to increase their point streak to six games in a row against their crosstown rivals.