I don't want you to think I only post when we win. It's just that Halloween means busy times, I have costumes to make!
Since I posted that our streak was nearing its end and our slide was beginning, we lost 3 in a row, before beating Prucha and Korpikoski in their return to MSG. What happened? Nothing really surprising. Reality came back and reminded us that despite our newfound prolific scoring, we're not actually the top team in the NHL right now. A bunch of 20-year-olds skating really fast only works for so long.
Specifically, we knew we weren't playing great hockey, just getting the big goal at the right time. The Sharks game was the low point, giving up 7 goals (although the silver lining is that we scored 3 ourselves). In the Devils game, we found ourselves on the other end of what we're used to dealing out. After a weak first period, we came back and tied it 2-2 after 2, then continued to play a pretty good third period against a team that also played a pretty good period: they got the big goals at the right times, we didn't, we lost 4-2. Fine. This happens. My only issue, of course, was that it was the Devils. I think if we went 18-64 on the season, beating the Devils, Islanders, and Penguins all 6 times each, I'd call it a good season.
Then, the Habs game. The Habs game, the Habs game. This, to me, was the game that screamed trouble the most. We had our big loss to the Sharks, then we lost to our big rivals in a hard-fought game, now the 2-game slide was going to Montréal so we could meet Scott Gomez and Paul Mara and they could meet Chris Higgins. After a little over half a hockey game, we were up 4-2, and we had each only gone off for one minor penalty. It was the first time this season I really recall feeling like we inexcusably took a step back. Forgetting that we had just lost 2 in a row by an aggregate 11-5, forgetting that we were playing a pretty good hockey team and needed some discipline, forgetting how fucking scary a line of Gionta-Gomez-Cammalleri is, we decided this game was mostly in the bag. One 5-on-3 later, it was a one-goal game, and with 1:02 left in the second, it was tied.
Sure, we held them off for the third. We didn't let them do what they were always inevitably going to do until overtime, so we kept a point (half a "W" for playing half a hockey game). But we just did not finish playing this hockey game, and the Habs got a win because of it.
So, yes, after 3 losses, we came back to the Garden and won 5-2. But does anyone really believe that game put us "back on track"? The Coyotes outplayed us for swaths of Monday night's contest, and as much as I like them (we watched the Phoenix broadcast, and when Prucha winked at the camera pre-game, I almost cried), they really don't have a fantastic defensive squad. It's nice, but not particularly thrilling, when Gaborik finds the back of the cage twice in a game against a team like this. I'm not saying I'm unhappy about it, I'm just saying it hardly heralds a Thin Lizzy montage.
Tonight, the Islanders. News time. We will likely be playing without Marian Gaborik, who you'll note was missing for the end of the Coyotes game, following some sort of undisclosed "lower body injury" (but don't worry - "it has nothing to do with his hip or his groin, we swear"). P.A. Parenteau (remember him?) will be getting the call up, which is fine, 'cause he's totally the same caliber of player as Gaborik. Also, Lundqvist is fine, following a minor fender-bender.
Personnel review coming. But first: you have got to check this shit out.