Wins aren't going to come easy for the Islanders this season, so when they get one like Thursday's night's 4-3 overtime victory over the Lightning, we should all be happy.
Sure, they lost a 2-0 lead and a 3-2 lead in the third period to a winless Tampa Bay club, but let's look at it this way: In the first four games of the season, playing without their starting goaltender and playing for a new coach in a new system with a bunch of new faces, the Islanders are 2-2.
You think Barry Melrose would take that right now? The guy is tearing his mullet out.
This was a game that the Isles could have easily let get away from them—and they almost did. But credit the fore-checking Frans Nielsen for being where he should have been, and send a nice big fruit basket to Olaf Kolzig for wandering behind the net and coughing up the puck to Nielsen, who found Trent Hunter for the winner.
Hunter had two goals in the game. After looking a little sluggish in the opener he has picked up his game, with four tallies so far. We'll take offensive production wherever we can find it, and we know Hunter can score. If he can step it up a notch this season, that will go a long way.
Rick DiPietro looks like he could be back soon, if not Saturday against the Panthers then almost definitely for the home game against the Stars on Thursday, Oct. 23. D.P. had a solid practice this week and his return should provide a big boost.
Meanwhile, Radek Martinek is out 4-6 weeks and Blake Comeau is working on his game in Bridgeport. Martinek's injury hurts but is not surprising—he's pretty brittle. Hopefully, Comeau will get the message that no one is given a spot in the lineup—you have to work for it. He's a good young player with the kind of skills this team can't afford to pass up, but Gordon did the right thing by sending him down.
One last thing -- welcome aboard and good luck to the 10 new members of the Islanders Blog Box. That makes 20 of us. And who says no one cares about this team?
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