Five Takeaways from the Calgary-New York Islanders game January 3, 2010 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Calgary Flames fell behind early and weren't able to make up all the ground they needed to, falling 5-2 to the visiting New York Islanders.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Flames, who now travel to Vancouver to take on the Canucks, currently the No. 1 team in the National Hockey League.
John Tavares (2), Matt Moulson (2) scored for New York.
David Moss tallied twice for the Flames.
The Flames trailed 3-1 after the first period, a period they would want a redo on.
Despite eventually outshooting the Islanders, 43-26, the Flames ran into some good goaltending from Islander rookie Nathan Lawson over the final 30 minutes of play."
Go fourth men. The Flames fourth line of David Moss, Tim Jackman and Tom Kostopoulos continue to be a spark. Moss scored the Flames only two goals of the game, one on a great individual effort, the other off of hard work by the entire line. Moss finished with a game-high six shots on net.
These guys keep it simple: Pressure the puck. Hit everything in site. Throw pucks to the net. And it is working. To call them the fourth line is probably an insult at this point. They are at least line 2.5.
Will Rick DiPietro ever get healthy? Plagued by injuries throughout his career he left Monday's game after tweaking something (groin? knee? back?) while sliding across the net to try and stop a Jarome Iginla wrister. The shot rang hard off the crossbar and DiPietro left the game after the play stopped.
DiPietro was placed on injured reserve just prior to Christmas because of a knee problem. He was taken off injured reserve on Dec. 26 after missing three games. He had played in one game since returning and Monday's game was just his second appearance in the Islanders last eight games. Hard to believe he was the first overall pick on 2000 and hasn't been able to establish himself as a regular.
He was replaced by Nathan Lawson, a Calgary boy who played midget hockey for the AAA Royals, played in the AJHL with Olds and attended the University of Alaska Anchorage. Lawson made a big-time sprawling save on David Moss in the second to prevent the Flame from collecting his natural hat trick.
The Flames special teams weren't so special Monday. Calgary had not allowed a power play goal over the past two games, turning back all seven power plays they faced. Over the span of their four-game winning streak they had allowed just two goals in 16 disadvantages.
Against New York they allowed two power play goals in the first period. Ouch.
To make matters worse, the goals were scored on penalties that shouldn't happen: A goaltender interference (Tim Jackman) and a neutral zone slash (Adam Pardy).
Tom Kostopoulos, one of the members of the energy line, stepped up in the first period to fight the Islanders resident fighter, Zenon Konopka. Normally that would something for linemate Time Jackman to handle but Jackman has a broken nose from a fight a couple of weeks ago in Columbus.
Clearly not a true match-up -- Konopka has 138 penalty minutes to Kostopoulos' 47 minutes and a 10 pound weight advantage -- Kostopoulos handled himself well in what turned into a bit of a marathon bout just outside the Islanders blueline.
John Tavares is just in his second season in the National Hockey League. Monday's game was just No. 116 in his career. Suffice to say he is going to be around a long time. Before the first period was done he had three points, two goals and an assist. His first goal was a total skill. On the power play he walked out from the corner, beat two Flames defenders and then when top shelf from in tight on Flames goalie Henrik Karlsson. Impressive highlight-reel goal. On his second goal he wired a snap shot over the shoulder of Karlsson, again on the power play. Again, pure skill.
In between, he beat Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester behind the Flames net and fed a pass out front where Matt Moulson finished things off to make it 2-0 for the Islanders. Tavares may toil on the island of lost hockey but that doesn't diminish the talent this 20-year-old has. Just imagine him on a team like Pittsburgh, Detroit or Washington.