11:28 pm: Well, and so it ends. The NY Islanders season ends with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This is obviously not the outcome the Islanders wanted, but it is the one the Hockey Gods delt them.
The fans, after they were upset over the loss, stood up and cheered for their team and their season as "Thank You Fans" appeared on the big screen.
The two teams lined up at center ice and shook hands as is the tradition of the Stanley Cup. Nabokov received not only handshakes, but pats on the back and conversation from the Penguins players especially Sidney Crosby.
I couldn't go into the locker room. I wouldn't be able to stand in the crowd and listen to reporters ask "So what went wrong with the winning goal?" To me, they always seem like silly questions. If they knew what was wrong with the 'winning goal' they wouldn't have let it happen. It's a game. Things happen.
Tonight, it happened where the Penguins won the game and advance to the next round. The New York Islanders think about their season and prepare for exit interviews and cleaning out their lockers.
But yet, we're still proud here in Islander County.
9:59 pm: I actually had to turn away from the ice. I could not look.
9:39 pm: Paul Martin ties the game at three and the heart attack I was going to have trned into exasperation.
Frans Nielsen couldn't believe it. Whether Frans tipped it and caused it to go over Nabby's shoulder, or not, it counted.
This game heads to overtime.
9:17 pm: Shots on goal are 31 to 15 in favor of the Isles and Matt Martin has laid 7 hits in two periods and Josh Bailey had five shots on net.
Who are these guys?
Well, I can't keep the netbook going much longer. So I'm signing off for now.
9:10 pm: The armour has more than cracked. Michael Grabner scores a beautiful goal off an Aucoin fake.
8:43 pm: A too many men on the ice penalty pisses off Dan Bylsma, but the Isles don't actually draw blood on it. So, no harm done for them.
With only one minute left to the second period, Nielsen drapes himself on Sidney Crosby like a new jersey behind Nabby's net.
The refs are way too quick with the whistle tonight. So often the Pens have not had control of the puck and the whistle was blown.
8:28 pm: With the penalty kill over, the Isles give up a goal to Dupuis to even the score at two. That one hurt as Jon Lane said up here. It sure did.
8:24 pm: And this could be the turning point for the Penguins as Radek Martinek takes a cross checking penalty at 8:40 of the second period.
The crowd chants "Defense!! Defense!!" Loudly. And the Isles do a good job of clearing the puck out of their zone. Shots on goal are 22 to 9 in favor of the Isles and with two seconds remaining on the Pens power play, the puck hits the netting and is out of play.
The crowd is on their feet cheering the effort of the Isles PK.
8 pm: Well, did we expect that? Yes. All they needed to do was to crack Vokoun's armour and they could start the barrage.
Kudos to MVP John Tavares for a magnificent goal to start it off. But who has ever seen Michael Grabner play that way? That play was started by the backchecking of a relentless Austrian and followed by a terrific goal by Colin McDonald with assists to Grabs40 and Coiner11. What a show these people are getting here.
The key will be to keep the Pens away from Nabby's face. He has to be able to see the puck. Carkner did an excellent job of that with about two minutes to go in the first.
Don't take any foolish penalties Isles and let's get a few more in the second!
7 pm: The weather REALLy didn't cooperate at all. We had to actually sit in the car for 45 minutes before we could make it to the doors.
But we're in and like I mentioned previously, it looks like young, fresh legs will get a chance to make a debut tonight. Nielsen is also in tonight. Hopefully that wasn't a mistake on his part.
Let's Go Islanders!
2 pm: It's 2 pm and I'm so nervous I could throw up. But I won't.
As has happened so often before on a big day for the Islanders, the weather is not cooperating. It's raining, it's not raining, it's raining. But I'm sure that won't stop the faithful from piling into the parking lot with their tents and BBQs until game time.
Nabokov will be in net for the Isles, Jack will go with what got him there. Bylsma has not announced his line-up, but the Pens twitter feed had Vokoun leaving the ice first this morning. Good indication he'll get the nod.
So much for my diabolical plan.
I heart tell that Brock Nelson was skating with the Isles this morning. Could we see him make his playoff debut tonight? Wouldn't that be something?!
Capuano knows the team has to have the energy tonight and forget about the loss they suffered. It's a new day and a new game. As he said, their backs have been against the wall before. This is no different.
The entire coliseum will be packed and I won't really be able to post from the press box tonight, so to all the Islander fans that have stuck with me all this time: Thank you and enjoy the game. Win or lose, you have to be proud of these guys this season.
Let's Go Islanders!