Montreal just too much as shorthanded Islanders get taught valuable lessons
A single NHL season is 82 games long. Due to injuries, the New York Islanders were forced to include eight players in their lineup last night who have accumulated less than 82 pro games…in their careers.
Alexei Kovalev had three assists to help the more experienced Montreal Canadiens trounce the Islanders last night at Nassau Coliseum. The Canadiens received goals from Saku Koivu, Mike Komisarek, Andrei Markov, Mathieu Schneider and Alex Tanguay and Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves to ensure the victory. Jeff Tambellini recorded the lone tally for the home team.
This matchup was truly a case of “Men vs. Boys” as the Islanders scrambled to plug the holes with call-ups from their minor league affiliate club, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The inexperience of players like Sean Bentivoglio (playing in his first NHL game), Joe Callahan and Trevor Smith was obvious as Montreal simply controlled every aspect of the game from start to finish. Even their enforcer, Georges Laraque, had an easy time of dispatching the Isles' Joel Rechlicz during their fight, simply tossing him to the ice in a heap. Many of these Islander players are of college age. They may have felt that they were right back in the classroom.
However, as I've already stated numerous times in recent blogs, wins and losses are meaningless at this point of the season. All that counts right now is how the young guys develop and, by all indications, it would be difficult to classify this objective as anything but an absolute success. They grow together, learn together, absorb mentoring from veterans like Doug Weight, Brendan Witt and Richard Park and will be the better for it next season and beyond.
Up next for the Islanders is a game against one of their biggest rivals in the “Tavares-Hedman Sweepstakes”, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Many Islander fans have referred to this game as “Must Lose”…and they're really not kidding. If Tampa Bay were to win this game in regulation, the Islanders would be significantly closer to securing that all important last place finish that assure them one of the two top prizes in this draft.
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Written by Frank Mazzola