Life must be frustrating for Rick DiPietro and the New York Islanders. Leading 2-1 after two periods, the Islanders allowed eleven shots on goal in the third period, four of which went in.
Johnny Oduya hadn’t scored yet this season until 5:45 into the third period, when he snuck one past Rick DiPietro. A minute and eighteen seconds later, a melee in front of the net and some confusion allowed him to bat one past Di Pietro again, putting the Thrashers up by a score of 3-2. Two minutes later, a completely un-defended Rob Schremp flicked one past a badly out of position Chris Mason to tie the game at three-all.
Two minutes and twenty seconds later, during an offensive zone face off while Dustin Byfuglien was in the box, Bryan Little fired a shot past an unprepared Rick DiPietro. DiPietro wasn’t set when the faceoff happened, and little just shot it. DiPietro, had he been prepared, would have snagged the puck no problem. Three minutes and twenty seconds after Little’s goal, Alexander Burmistrov tipped a Brent Sopel shot between DiPietro’s legs to put the Thrashers up 5-3. Again, the shot happened right off of a face-off.
Blake Comeau scored the first Islanders powerplay goal in 47 tries tonight to bring the Islanders within one, but it wasn’t good enough as the Thrashers defeated them and built upon the Islanders’ frustration. In a contender for the most awkward fight of the evening league wide, John Tavares got lightly shoved by Burmistrov, and Tavares checked Burmistrov on the back. It lasted about 5 seconds with Burmistrov getting Tavares off-balance and taking him down.
Chris Mason has not allowed fewer than four goals in a game since November 3rd, and he has allowed fewer than three goals just three times this season. I’m not sure if he isn’t meshing with the Thrashers’ style of play, if they’re not as comfortable with him in net as they are with Ondrej Pavelec, or what, but this continues to be uncharacteristic play for Mason.
With a Tampa Bay loss to the Vancouver Canucks tonight, the Thrashers will be in second place in the Southeast Division and just four points behind the sliding Washington Capitals. Next game is Monday night at 7:30 in Ottawa.