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Grinding Out a Win In Raleigh

March 26, 2014, 8:28 AM ET [9 Comments]
Dee Karl
New York Islanders Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Islanders, or what is left of them, hobbled into the North Carolina under the impression that they were sure to lose. After all, they had lost six times before in that building. But the stars aligned, when they're not supposed to, and the Islanders started out with an impressive lead.

It started with one goal at the 3:39 mark of the first by Colin McDonald (the guy who everyone said they wanted rid of), then Cal Clutterbuck found the back of the net at 5:26 of the first. There was that dreaded two goal lead the Isles have a habit of squandering. At 6:12 of the first, McDonald did it again! Suffice it to say, I was in a bit of shock. So was Cam Ward who was pulled from the net after only a little more than six minutes of ice time and replaced with Khudobin.

Then Matt Martin added to the scoring almost 11 minutes into the first and shock turned into laughter. This is what happens when you give those fourth line guys some top line minutes: they score. Okay, maybe it was more luck and a really bad night for Carolina, but a four goal lead before the first was over was still a surprise.

The Canes weren't rolling over though and managed to tally four of their own goals, two in the first period and two in the second and for sure I believed that this would end in an Isles loss. But Matt Martin scored the Isles fifth goal, his second of the game and while Gerbe had the Canes to a single goal deficit, the Isles managed to keep them off the score sheet for the entire third period.

Colin McDonald earned the game's first star with two goals and one assist point and Matt Martin was the second with his two goal night. Why Jeff Skinner got the third star with a single goal for the Canes, I do not know. Guess they wanted to make it balanced.

Kevin Czuczman (I will never get that name right) earned his first NHL point on an assist to Martin's first goal of the game. He also spent a bit of time in the box, twice in the second and once in the third. He's young. He's learning. What he could get away with in college hockey doesn't fly in the NHL. He'll find out.

The Canes are struggling just as the Isles. They too will miss the playoffs, so this was a game that didn't matter for either team on that level. This is about NEXT season. Who stays, who goes, who gets a job next season. And while we'd like the Isles to get a better draft pick position, we can't expect them to just roll over and play dead. They just won't.

So, hear the funny story about the prospect the Isles picked up in the Moulson trade? He has a separated shoulder. Even the Isles that don't play are on the injured list.

Speaking of injured list, I'm wondering if Okposo will join Visnovsky on that list next game. He took a good hit against the boards last night and he has been sore to begin with. Keep him out Jack. It's not worth it.
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