RESILIENT ISLANDERS BATTLE BACK IN PHILADELPHIA
The Islanders had to battle back from a two-goal deficit. Late in the second period Mikhail Grabovski and Cal Clutterbuck tallied goals to knot the game at two.
The third period was fairly even, and the team’s both received their point.
In overtime, both teams looked as if they were content on letting it be decided in a shootout, until with under a minute left, Islanders captain John Tavares turned the puck over in the neutral zone to Sean Couturier. The Flyers’ center streaked up ice, out of the reach of Tavares and had a 1-on-1 with Jaroslav Halak. The Islanders netminder was up for the challenge and turned away Couturier’s scoring chance.
So, the game would be decided in the shootout. After Frans Nielsen, who else, got the scoring started, it came down to Wayne Simmonds for Philadelphia. Simmonds skated up ice, slowed down just enough and lifted it over Halak to tie the shootout at 1.
After 3 more scoreless rounds, it was on to round 7, and Cal Clutterbuck. The newest member of Islanders leadership skated up ice and wristed one past Steve Mason to put the Isles up 2-1. Halak would make one last save, and the Isles would win it 3-2.
“He (Cal Clutterbuck) plays extremely hard every night and probably deserves more than what he has,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told MSG Network after the win. “He’s got one of the quickest and hardest shots in the game.”
Special teams have been a cause for concern for the Islanders during this most recent losing streak, but the penalty kill came up clutch early in the third period. With John Tavares serving a minor slashing penalty, the Islanders needed one of their best efforts.
“I thought our penalty kill was outstanding when we had to be against a real good power play, Capuano continued. “We pressured a little bit more… We are trying to take away certain shots and tonight we were pretty good.”
The Islanders regained the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, passing Pittsburgh, and opening up a three point lead on the third place Rangers. The team has continued their terrific play against division opponents by winning 17 of 19.
The Islanders got the win, but endured an injury scare when defenseman Johnny Boychuk blocked a shot and had trouble putting weight on his left leg as he headed to the locker room.
“A shot hit me in the right spot and it was pretty painful,” Johnny Boychuk said. “Luckily it wasn’t too bad and you just try to walk it off and get back out there.”
Fourth line winger Matt Martin also got roughed up. He suffered a broken nose in a first period fight with Philly’s Ryan White. Both players would go back to the locker room for repairs, and both would return in the second.
The Islanders three game road trip continues Saturday night as they head to Boston for their next game. They’ll be looking for revenge after being completely outplayed by the Bruins last Thursday.
By: Scott Charles
WLIE 540 AM SPORTSTALKNY Staff Writer
Islanders Insight Senior Editor
Follow us on Twitter @sportstalkny and @Scottmcharles
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