Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Top 5 Games (so far...)

Happy New Year to all! Let's start 2008 by taking a look back at my favorite games of the season thus far.

#5 11-28-07 Islanders 3, Senators 2 (SO) - this game makes the list primarily because it marked our first victory over the Sens since 2004. But beyond that, it was a pretty exciting game in and of itself. Ottawa tied the game with under 2 minutes to go in regulation, leaving this Isles fan convinced that he'd have to wait another 4 years to see a win against the mighty Senators. Things looked all the more dim when Ottawa was granted a 4-on-3 power play in the OT session and sent out four forwards - Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Mike Fisher - to finish the job. The Isles PK was strong, as it has been virtually all season, and the game went to a shootout. Alfredsson put Ottawa up 1-0 and it came down to the Bill Guerin, the Isles final shooter, to tie it up. As we all know, he did and the shootout continued for six rounds, with Mike Sillinger scoring the eventual game winner.

#4 10-06-07 Islanders 3, Sabres 2 - there's always something special about the home opener, especially when the Isles win. The game completed the sweep of the home-and-home series with the Sabres to open the season. The game had a very different feel from the previous night's game, and the Isles played a much tighter team defense in relation to the free-for-all witnessed in Buffalo. Mike Comrie had us all talking "contract extension" with his second two-goal game in a row. For me personally, it was my first game in the NYI Blog Box and the start of an exciting experience.

#3 09-24-07 Islanders 5, Rangers 4 (OT) - normally a preseason game would have no shot at cracking the Top 5, but in this case I have to make an exception. In fairness, it can barely be called a hockey game. It was the type of night that validates the old joke "I was at a fight and a hockey game broke out". If you were there, you'll never forget it, especially watching DP throw left hooks into Al Montoya's head. I'm not normally into excessive fighting in games, but no can argue that the energy in the Coliseum that night was anything but electric. And let's not forget that the Isles came back from a 4-1 deficit to win the game in OT. It showed a lot of character for a team looking for an identity.

#2 12-26-07 Islanders 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT) - the most recent game on my list, Steve Mears referred to it as the "game of the year" during his post-game comments. The return of Jason Blake to the Coliseum was overshadowed by the game itself, specifically the overtime. Richard Park's hooking penalty ignited a flurry of Toronto chances, with Wade Dubielewicz making one phenomenal save after another. The Isles survived the onslaught and Park was able to redeem himself by poke-checking the puck from Blake to lead a rush down ice, resulting in Comrie knocking home Park's rebound with 9.6 seconds left on the clock. The fan reaction was the most exuberant I've seen all year.

#1 11-03-07 Islanders 3, Penguins 2 - Al Arbour night. I won't go into too much detail, as I've already covered the game in a previous blog entry. In short, it was a magical night and a great experience for all in attendance. A fantastic game, and a great tribute to one of the all-time greats in NHL history.

Feel free to share your favorites in the Comments section. And here's hoping the best is yet to come.


rudedog said...

I think one would need to includethe Isles versus Devils game in this list. what more can a fan ask for, Old Time hockey, hits galore capped by three fights including a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" by Andy Sutton and an Islander victory.

Jim McGlynn said...

Whats up Mike, good seeing you at the panther game as well. I enjoyed your either keep meticulous records, or have tremendous memory. I liked the 11/19 victory at msg, isles showed alot of grit and dp plays the villain very well in nyc.