Plucky Isles come up just short with aggressive effort
Apparently, Sir Elton John had it right: Saturday night IS all right for fighting.
Daniel Briere and Mike Richards scored in the shootout period to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a come-from-behind 4-3 win in a brawl-filled game against the New York Islanders Saturday at the Nassau Coliseum. The Flyers received two goals from Joffrey Lupul and one from Scott Hartnell during regulation. The Islanders responded with tallies from Radek Martinek, Jeff Tambellini and Mark Streit.
The Flyers Fan Club brought eight busloads of rowdy Philly fans to the game and the atmosphere was electric for once inside the old barn. Tension in the stands seem to spill out onto the ice as the two teams combined for 68 penalty minutes. Some of the usual suspects you'd expect to drop the gloves when these two teams meet were involved: Arron Asham scored a one punch knock out of the Islanders' Tim Jackman, Joel Rechlicz pounded on Riley Cote and was given a narrow margin of victory and Daniel Carcillo dominated New York's Nate Jackman. However, the most unlikely participant was the oldest one (not to mention someone who only recently returned from injury), 38 year old Doug Weight.
Weight is now the senior member of the Islanders Youth Club since former captain Bill Guerin was traded away on March 4 and has assumed a leadership role. What is ironic about that situation is that Weight, prior to his knee injury suffered on February 11, was considered the much more attractive bargaining chip and was easily the Islander most likely to be traded. However, it now appears that he might be in the team's plans for another year. Weight showed exactly what type of leader he is last night when he addressed a clean but punishing hit by the Flyers Darroll Powe on Weight's teammate Jackman. The grizzled veteran flew at the Philadelphia youngster and fought him, earning himself a very debatable instigator penalty and a ten minute misconduct as well.
The results of the games are, at this point, immaterial except for the purposes of determining draft position. Even coach Scott Gordon recognized this by putting rarely used defenseman Brendan Witt the first slot in the shootout. The Islanders are having fun, playing loosely and, most importantly, playing as a team. The outcome from this weekend's games (a 2-0 victory over Detroit and last night's game against a far superior Philadelphia team) has got to be seen as a beacon of hope for Islander fans everywhere. They finally look to be on the right track to respectability.
New York's next game is Wednesday night against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Expect another fun game as they take on the man I and many others consider to be the World's best player in Ovechkin and his squad of talented snipers.
Have fun, Islander fans….you're in a no-lose situation at the moment and the future looks bright.
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Written by Frank Mazzola