Playing in the first exhibition game of the season is always a little exciting, a little nerve racking and as expected, a little muddled. Well, that’s exactly how the Islanders first preseason game in Philadelphia was played. The 3-1 loss to the Flyers was still a good way to start the season. After the Flyers scored their three goals in the first period, the Islanders completely shut them down on the offensive end during the final two periods.
And while it was the Islanders first preseason game, the Flyers had already completed five exhibition games, earning a 3-1-1 record. Along the way, the Flyers narrowed their roster so the team that faced the Islanders on Wednesday night was pretty close to final roster for the start of the 2010-11 regular season. On the other hand, the Islanders still have more than 40 players on their Training Camp roster, which they need for the two sets of split-squad games.
“(The Flyers) were five games in to the preseason. I certainly know that all the guys haven’t played five games, but most guys have played two, three or four and they had a strong lineup,” said the Islanders Assistant Coach Scott Allen.
While the first period of the game proved to have the normal mishaps of a first game, including more than a few defensive breakdowns, the second two periods were much better. After a series of give-and-go’s and one-timers just outside the crease, you’d think a goaltender would miss a step or two and lose sight of the puck. Instead, Roloson continued to slow down the game, see the puck, and find the right position to make the save.
I was trying to stay focused. For the most part our defense did a great job of blocking guys out and allowing me to see shots, allowing me to get in position and to make the saves. So I give them a lot of credit especially because there’s a lot of strong forwards on that team (Flyers) that like to go to the net hard, so our D did a great job. - Dwayne Roloson
“I was trying to stay focused. For the most part our defense did a great job of blocking guys out and allowing me to see shots, allowing me to get in position and to make the saves,” Roloson said. “So I give them a lot of credit especially because there’s a lot of strong forwards on that team (Flyers) that like to go to the net hard, so our D did a great job.”
The Islanders truly battled through every minute of their first preseason game, especially Roloson who showed why he deserves to be called a veteran goaltender.
“I think he knew beforehand he might face a lot of shots today, so I think he was mentally prepared for that,” said Islanders forward Matt Moulson
. “That one save lying on his back, I don’t know how he stopped that one, but he played great and that’s the type of goaltending we will need during the season to make a run at the playoffs.”
It’s great that Moulson is thinking to the future, but it’s also important to think about the ‘what’s next’ aspect for the Isles. The first exhibition games are over and the players should get past their nerves, so now it’s time to concentrate on the system, putting some pucks in the back of the net and making sure they aren’t making some costly mistakes in the defensive zone.
“We made some mistakes in our end, turnovers in areas that you can’t turn the puck over, but after that we played great,” Roloson said. “We played really well (in the second and third period). I think we took the game for the win the last two periods.”
Roloson would be right about taking the W in the last two periods of the game if you consider the Islanders shutout the Flyers both periods and Krys Kolanos scored a power play goal with assists by Dylan Reese
and Anders Eriksson. More play like that the Moulson will be right about the Islanders making the playoffs this season.