Islanders-Devils: New Jersey Wins the Battle of the Backups

Nick DeSilvioCorrespondent INovember 21, 2008

If you've been reading my articles you know that I'm a big Islanders fan. I have been looking forward to this game since the Islanders upset Vancouver Monday night, when they extended their winning streak to three consecutive games.

The Islanders had a really good game that night, and Joey MacDonald was fabulous behind the net.

I was so pumped! The Islanders were playing their best hockey of the season and clicking on all cylinders. I was ready for them to go on a nice five plus game run, which would continue when they took on the rival Devils at Newark in:

The Battle of the Backups!

I really believed this game would be a huge test for the Isles as they took on Kevin Weekes and the Devils, who have been playing their best hockey since Brodeur went down. But the Isles failed the test miserably. 

The first two periods of this game contained some extremely sloppy hockey that made me wonder if I was watching a high school game. The devils struck first blood when Clarkson scored, then within 10 seconds of the face-off following that goal, Zajac put the puck past Joey Mac to send the Islanders into an early two - nothing hole.

The Islanders were able to come within one goal when Andy Hilbert scored. But less then 30 seconds later, the diablos struck back, and cruised onto a 5-2 route of their island inhabiting rivals.

This game frustrated me in so many ways. I know that the Islanders had three days off and were going to be a little rusty, but I didn't expect them to go out and lay an egg like they did tonight.

And did anyone see the hit that Mottau laid on Nielsen?

The Islanders' announcers were just talking about how Frans had been playing his best hockey lately and he takes a vicious hit to the head, sending him tumbling to the ice. As he fell, the skate of a devil's player sliced into Nielsen. OUCH!

Hopefully he is Okay and won't miss much time.

Defenseman Brendan Witt made his return tonight, a man who will further strengthen the Islanders defense which has been raddled with injuries lately. Chris Campoli took a slap-shot off the ankle and looked shaken up, but he's fine.

Perhaps the lowest point of this game came late in the third. The Islanders committed two penalties at once, giving the Devils a five on three advantage for two minutes. The game was already out of reach by that point, but this caused any glimmer of hope I had that the Isles could rally to go right down the toilet.

Anyway, during the powerplay, two of the three Islander skaters broke their sticks, essentially giving the Diablos a five on one opportunity. The stick-less players tried to use their bodies to block the puck, but to no avail as the Devils drilled the nail in the coffin on this game, causing me to slap my forehead in disgust.

Maybe the devils were simply the better team.

Maybe I'm expecting too much out of the Islanders and getting too excited when they show glimpses of being a good team.

Either way, the Islanders better find a way to right the ship because they take on Buffalo tomorrow night and then the Habs on Monday when they visit Montreal, and seek revenge from a game that was STOLEN from us at the coliseum earlier in the season.