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Postgame: Islanders @ Flyers 3/8/2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

This was not a good night to be an Islander.  Losses are never good, but Ted Nolan should be upset with his team in the 4-1 Flyers victory: all 4 Flyer goals came during power plays.

Tonight’s Positive Points:

Scottie Upshall.  Upshall contributes the most to his team when he uses his speed and physicality to create space and scoring chances.  He did just that tonight.  Besides setting up Carter’s goal on a play behind the Islander net, Upshall registered 2 hits tonight.  He’s known for being an agitator, and he drew a couple penalties this evening with that style of play.  Yes, he was in the box twice, which is a problem.  But he had the puck frequently throughout the game and made good decisions that led to scoring chances.  Great game for Upshall.

 Scott Hartnell.  Briere launched the scoring; Carter had the game-winner; and Hartnell provided the cushion with two deflections.  Hartnell had only scored one goal in his previous 12 games, so logging two tonight should be a boost to his confidence – something he’ll need going into the divisional games ahead.  Also, Hartnell had an opportunity to play on the top power play unit tonight.

Jason Smith.  I love the way Jason Smith plays the game.  Shot blocking.  Huge hits.  Gritty play along the boards.  And the best thing about Smith: when one of his teammates gets roughed up, Smith is the first one on the scene with fists flying.  Scottie Upshall put a terrific hit on Miroslav Satan, which prompted Islander captain Bill Guerin to land an elbow on Upshall’s jaw.  The refs, looking right at the play, failed to call any penalty.  Smith jumped right in to defend Upshall, taking a 4-minute penalty in the process.  That’s the leadership that makes Smith worth his salary, and that’s the leadership that will hold this team solid through the playoffs.

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