Hey everyone. Tonight I will be doing my first live blog for The Hockey Writers when the Isles host the Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum. Not only are the Islanders going to try to continue their offensive success after defeating the Detroit Red Wings 6-0 on Tuesday night, but Rick DiPietro will be making his first appearance between the pipes at Nassau Coliseum in over a year.
The puck drops at 7PM, so come stop by if you’re going to be home watching the game!
7:02 PM – Just getting set up here at the blog box…the rink announcer just reminded the crowd that DiPietro will be starting tonight…so far he got a good ovation. The puck will drop in just under three minutes.
7:08 PM – Autism Awareness night. Daryl Strawberry makes his way onto Coliseum ice once again for the ceremonial face-off. Instead of boos, this time he gets cheers.
20:00 – And the puck is dropped. Isles win the face-off. Park centers between Okposo and Bailey to start.
19:34 – DP makes his first save on Coliseum ice in a very, very long time. The DP chants start right away.
18:49 – The Isles get called for an icing. So far DP has already made four saves, some from right in close.
16:37 – The Islanders have a good shift in the Buffalo zone with some close passes in front and a nice move by Nielsen, but they still haven’t been credited with a shot on goal.
14:36 – There is going to be a close watch on Ricky all game. Some of the other bloggers are taking bets on how many times they will yell, “Stay in your net, Ricky!”
14:22 – John Tavares scores for the first time in ten games by buring a rebound in front. His 17th of the season from Kyle Okposo and Andy Sutton.
10:41 – After that goal the Islanders are starting to get some exciting scoring chances. Miller scrambles in his crease and the Islanders are now only down by one in the shot category, 8-7.
9:16 – Kyle Okposo tries to be Sidney Crosby by flipping the puck to himself. Unfortunately, he’s not Crosby. But he did draw a powerplay since Ryan Kennedy got him with a hook.
5:37 – Play hasn’t stopped but Hillen got crushed behind the Isles net by Kuleta. Jon Sim responds with a shot of his own.
4:06 – Bruno Gervais gets tripped in the corner by the Islanders runway. McArthur serves the two-minutes for Ruff’s club.
2:56 – So far they haven’t really gotten much going on this powerplay. There is only 46 seconds left and the Sabres had two possible scoring chances.
:44.3 secs – Kyle Okposo leads a 3-on-2 rush and gets a good shot off, but Tavares was in too deep to get to the rebound.
0:00 – The period ends with the Isles leading the Sabres 1-0. Miller has made 9 saves on 10 shots while DP has turned aside all 11 so far. Time to go grab a soda.
18:51 – The Isles get a strong shift to start the period. A strong forecheck by Park, Okposo and Bailey keeps the puck in the Sabres zone, and even draws another penalty. Myers is in the box for cross-checking.
17:13 – Isles had a few chances early on this PP but have had trouble entering the zone. It’s been a problem for all of their powerplays so far tonight.
16:31 – One shot hits the cross-bar. Schremp had his baseball stick ready and waiting for a home-run top shelf.
16:06 – Just a few seconds ago Ricky made his first give-away of the game when he tried to clear the puck up the middle of the ice. Fellow blogger Doug Davidson is on his second “Get back in your net” Ricky chant.
14:21 – Hunter and Bergenheim get some chances doing the dirty work in front of the net. Miller has given up a fair share of rebounds in close and has had trouble keeping them in sight. The Isles need to start burying a few of these opportunities.
13:17 – Bailey takes another hard slapper that gets blocked, this time from Lydman. Tavares gets a backhanded shot on the follow-up and puts Miller into a split-save at the near-side post.
-For the second time in about three or four home games, another marriage proposal is done on the center-ice view-board. So far these guys are 2-for-2.
10:30 – Another rebound does NOT get buried. But Hecht gets called with a slash. The Isles will once again go to the powerplay.
9:23 – The Islanders are starting to get some chances with the man-advantage but the Sabres are doing a good job of blocking shots.
8:51 – And the crowd is in absolute shock. Moulson makes a beautiful feed from behind the net that eludes every skate possible and lands right on Nielsen’s tape. Miller sprawls to make the split save and then holds onto the rebound.
8:03 – Rebounds, rebounds and rebounds. Miller at times is caught sprawling in his crease but the Sabres defense either bails him out or the Islanders miss the net. The powerplay is over. Keep these chances and that big save in mind for the rest of the game.
7:32 – Isles penalty. Freddy Meyer goes to the box for a minor cross-check. This PK needs to come up big after all the chances the Islanders had to increase the lead.
6:25 – DP makes a beautiful glove save with :54 seconds remaining on the Meyer penalty. Right now the Isles are out-shooting the Sabres 27-14.
5:24 – The Isles had an effective PK and Meyer is hungry out of the box working the puck deep in the corner. The Sabres ice it and bring the puck back into their zone.
4:27 – Streit works the puck back to MacDonald who fires the puck from just inside the blue-line for a Sean Bergenheim tip. The Isles are now up 2-0.
4:06 – 21 seconds later, before the Islanders goal is even announced, the Sabres score to bring themselves within one. I’ll post the goal once it’s announced since I couldn’t see the play well.
2:08 – Schremp caught the puck just outside the blue-line and carried in for a 2-on-1 with Comeau. This time there wasn’t a rebound, and Miller gobbled the puck up as he slid across his crease.
2:02 – The Sabres goal was scored by Mike Grier. Assists go to Connoly and Tallinder.
0:00 – The Islanders finish forty minutes with a 2-1 lead and 31 shots. The Sabres have 17. A pretzel sounds pretty good right now while everyone goes nuts with Chuck-A-Puck.
18:39 – Sutton throws his first big hit of the game, rocking Kaleta at the blue-line…but Sutton may have eaten the advertisement along the boards as a result.
15:22 – This period still has the same feel as the other two periods but hasn’t been as exciting just yet. The Isles had a few chances but nothing major. The same can be said for the Sabres.
14:36 – A bit of a scrumb ensues behind the Sabres net. Sim draws three Sabres to him while Comeau and Grier wrestle to the ice. Streit and Tallinder, who were also in the scruffle, serve minor penalties in the box for some four-on-four hockey.
13:36 – All the open ice leads to a goal by the Islanders from Richard Park but it is immediately waved off for incidental contact with the goaltender. The crowd goes nuts after the replay on the board does not show any significant contact with Miller.
13:28 – After the replay is shown again in slow-motion, it is clear that Miller tried to brush Sutton out of his way, but Andy did not bump into him or knock him off-balance. Clearly this was a terrible call by the official. The high school bands that are in attendance are banging their drums for a “Refs Suck” chant. As a USA Hockey official, I am not quite sure how I feel about that, but have to say I agree with them for this one.
10:25 – A shot from the blue line slips through Ricky’s five-hole. Just before he can turn around to smuggle it with his glove Stafford buries it. Butler and Vanek get the assists to tie a game where the Isles should lead 3-2.
8:40 – Right now the Isles have 34 shots with only 3 coming this period. The Sabres have 23.
5:22 – A stat always worth watching for the Islanders. They have won 25 faceoffs with the Sabres having won 24 for a 51% rating. Not too shabby.
4:38 – Ricky gets plowed into by Sabres forward Derek Roy and knocks him on his back. No call is made. I find that ridiculously amusing considering the fact that if Sutton even farted in Miller’s crease he probably couldn’t have gotten a wiff but is able to disallow a goal.
2:38 – The Sabres are starting to get sustained pressure in the Isles zone. They need to be careful to not take a penalty here.
1:26 – You can see that Kyle Okposo wants to be the guy the Islanders turn to in these close situations. Sometimes he still tries to do a bit too much with the pucks but still shows those signs of becoming the clutch goal scorer the Islanders can use.
-The Sabres call a time-out.
0:00 – Time winds down and the Isles are going to over-time once again. This should have been a 3-2 win right now but instead the Isles have to fight for the second point in the extra frame. After 60 minutes the Isles have 35 shots and the Sabres have 29. Talk about waking up in the third period.
3:55 – The Sabres ice it after the Islanders start with a strong shift in OT.
3:01 – Ricky staying poised in net. We are at a total of four “Stay in your net” chants. If we get to six, which was the over on the bets, we will be in trouble.
0:15 – The Isles get called for Too Many Men with just :15 seconds left in the period. Just before the stoppage of play, the Islanders had a beautiful scoring chance as Hunter took a shot that was re-directed by Nielsen and tipped just over the cross-bar.
0:00 – The Islanders get a full, but unusual :15 second kill on the penalty. And once again, we’re going to the shootout.
-The first to go for the Islanders is Robbie Schremp. With nifty moves and a few quick dekes he pulls to his backhand and lifts the puck over Miller’s pad.
-First for the Sabres is Tim Connoly. The DP chants erupt as he kicks it aside with ease.
-The second shooter for the Isles is Frans Nielsen. I could’ve guess these two would go. Miller stopped his famous backhand. One of the few times to happen all year.
-Up next for the Sabres is Jason Pominville. A quick wrister beats him five-hole.
-The third shooter to go for the Isles is Josh Bailey. He deked to his forehand and the shot went wide. Miller might have gotten a piece of it.
-Vanek is up for the win for the Sabres. He skates in up the middle and shoots high glove side.
-For the win, Matt Moulson shoots fourth. A quick snap over Miller’s right pad gives the Isles a 2-1 lead in the shootout. DP has the chance to get his first win of the year.
-Stafford goes to tie it. And he does just that with one that beats him once again through the five-hole.
-The fifth shooter for the Isles now is the captain, Doug Weight. A very ugly shot that goes wide. It comes down to Ricky to keep them in it again.
-Derek Roy goes next and is stopped by Rick’s left pad after pulling a nice back-hand.
-Up sixth is JT. He comes in smooth and sneaks one just between Miller’s glove and left pad. Ricky…stop the next shooter and the win is yours.
-Hecht came in strong and fooled Ricky enough to go down for a poke-check. He roofs it over DP’s glove.
-With the shootout still tied at 3, Kyle Okposo comes up to the center ice logo. He tries to go five-hole and Miller stops him with the stick.
-Next up for the Sabres is Clark McArthur. He pulls a nice move and tries to slip it through the five-hole like the other shooters. This time DP was ready.
-Up next is Trent Hunter. He makes a quick little fake and roofs it just under the cross-bar.
-Kuleta comes up and is stopped by Ricky up front. Congratulations to Rick DiPietro for getting his first win of the season. He made a total of 31 saves on 33 shots and was able to keep the Isles in it through the shootout.
Time to pack up and head downstairs to the locker room. Thanks for stopping by!