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Thursday Dec. 29, the Islanders took their home ice against The Calgar Flames. Hot on the pursuit to 2012 and new beginnings, the Islanders went in to the New Year with a bang.
The Islanders defeated the Calgary Flames on their home ice in a 3-1 victory and looked the best they have all season. The only goal allowed by Evgeni Nabokov was by former Islander Tim Jackman. Islanders Andrew MacDonald, Brian Rolston and of course, John Tavares, scored for the team. It didn’t stop there, as New Year’s Eve brought more luck.
Prior to the game on New Year’s Eve, Ken Morrow was inducted in to the Islanders Hall of Fame. If anyone deserves this, it is Morrow for what he had done. Morrow was apart of the Islanders’ Stanley Cup-winning team as well as the US Olympic “Miracle” Team.
To top off the celebration, the Islanders dominated the Oilers and won the game 4-1. Sam Gagner scored for the Oilers to tie the game after a John Tavares power play goal in the first. It wasn’t the end as Moulson, Parenteau and Matt Martin fired in to the goal to seal the deal.
The Islanders traveled down south to the Carolinas and the home of the 2011 All-Star game to take on Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes. It was a back and forth game and the lead was transferred numerous times. The game was believed to be over when Chad LaRose scored for the Hurricanes with only four minutes left in the game.
Not so fast!
Kyle Okposo beat goaltender Cam Ward with only one minute and thirty seconds left, pushing it to overtime. Overtime wasn’t enough and the teams went to a shootout. PA Parenteau beat Ward on the first shot and than Frans Nielsen sealed the deal with his signature backhand. The Islanders won their third straight and then went on to Anaheim.
Charlie Conway was not present for this game against the Islanders and the Ducks didn’t need him. Bobby Ryan stepped up and scored two goals against the Islanders as well as teammates Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne. Only Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders but it wasn’t enough. The streak was ended at three.
A team in the same position as the Islanders, in fear of re-location, the Coyotes dominated in this late night battle. The Coyotes shut down the Islanders for the majority of the game and defeated the team 5-1. Frans Nielsen with the backhand was the only goal scored by the Islanders during this game. It is now time to head back home to take on the Detroit Red Wings.
The Islanders are looking like a better team and a better coached team. Their discipline is outstanding (with an exception to the Ducks game) and their players are finally on comfortable lines where they can produce goals and defense. 2012 is looking bright for this young team, just need to keep adding to the win column.