Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow missed each other. Tippett split them up for a few games. Being on new lines proved to them how great it was to be on their own line together and now that they’re back, they played like they never want to be split up again.
Ribs had FOUR assists and a goal, Morrow had a goal and two assists, and Loui Eriksson had two very nice goals as well. Even Krys Barch had a goal.
I had to take back some muttering I was doing at Krys Barch when he fell down. Right after that he made that nice tip-in for his goal.
While some of it could be credited to how awful the Islanders are, it was really nice to see the defense picking up their games. And Turco turned it on, too. He made some great saves in some difficult situations. He still gave up three goals, so I wouldn’t say he’s all the way back, but he did a lot better.
Philippe Boucher continues some very strong play. He makes very calm defensive plays that look even more calm compared to some of the other d-men. He had eight blocked shots in the game. I counted three on one shift. He had a really nice move early in the first where he managed to take the body and the puck. He bumped the guy while reaching around him with his stick to knock the puck away, too. He didn’t figure in the scoring, but he sure figured in the defense.
Even with all that going on in the game, the best part — the BEST part — was that beautiful penalty kill at the top of the second period. I don’t remember all the penalties so I just looked them up and Yahoo says Robidas got a minor for “kneeling” (sheesh) and Avery got a double-minor for roughing. So it was a full two minutes of a 5-on-3 power play for the Islanders, followed immediately by their two-minute 5-on-4 power play. While the Stars were shorthanded, Boucher took a cross-checking penalty, so for the few seconds of the delayed penalty the Islanders pulled the goalie for a brief 6-on-3.
All of that? Killed.
It was a beautiful kill. I’m sure some of it is the poor Islanders power play, but most of it was the penalty killing. They stayed calm, they got clears so they could change, they stayed in the way of shots and Turco made the saves that needed to be made.
It was so beautiful!