Postgame: Islanders @ Flyers 3/24/2008
When the scoreboard read 2-0 with the Flyers entering the third period, I was concerned. The Flyers had registered only 4 shots in the second, and the defense was looking a little shaky. Leads like that have been blown against worthy teams like the Rangers and failing teams like the Maple Leafs.
It came down to Martin Biron, and he did not disappoint. “Gaston” robbed the Islanders on several occasions. Among his terrific saves was a stop with almost 8 minutes remaining where he managed to get his toe to the post an instant before Vasicek could put the puck through.
While the NHL may think that Danny Briere’s performance (1 goal, 2 assists) deserved top billing in the Three Stars, the fans recognized Biron’s outstanding performance (32 saves, .970 save percentage). Chants of “Mar-ty, Mar-ty” filled the Wachovia Center late in the third. It was good to see Biron get the credit he deserves.
– Lasse Kukkonen had an excellent night. He’s definitely stepped up his physical play, registering 2 hits for the evening. Also, Kukkonen could be credit with a save. In the first period, a puck snuck through Biron’s pads and, but for the quick stick of Kukkonen, nearly crossed over the line.
– The hooking penalty on Jim Dowd in the third period was a poor call. The scrum in the corner for the puck was won by the Islander, but Dowd didn’t touch him with his stick during the pursuit. That said, taking an unsportsmanlike with 6 minutes remaining and a shutout on the line is unacceptable. A veteran should know better. It marred an otherwise strong performance by the fourth liner – 75% faceoff win percentage and 3 hits.
– Jaroslave Modry played well for the third game in a row – he finally got his 200th career assist and led the team with 4 blocked shots.
– Danny Briere was a +1 tonight. It’s been rare this season for him to come out positive in that category.
For futher reading on the implications of last night’s game, check out Eklund’s blog over at Hockeybuzz. It’s a great read.