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Recap: Leafs at Islanders

Final - 12.26.2008 1 2 3 Total
Toronto Maple Leafs 1 0 0 1
New York Islanders 1 1 2 4

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Around noon yesterday I decided to see how much tickets for the Leafs-Isles game were selling for on Stubhub. $50 for a single, no pairs of tickets. I should have given up but I wandered over to eBay and scored a pair of tickets in the lower bowl about ten rows from the glass for $50 total. My stepbrother of sorts bought the single and along with my fiancee we jumped in my car and made our way from Philly to Long Island.

The trip started fine, at 5:00 we were on approach to the Lincoln Tunnel. At 6:00 we left the Lincoln Tunnel, and at 6:45 we had finally made our way across Manhattan's surface streets to the 495E on ramp that would take us out to Nassau Coliseum. I hit a bus with my car mirror near Madison Square Garden but it didn't do any paint damage. This left me with a good feeling as I was standing in the Nassau Coliseum parking lot at around 7:15. Then I heard the horn. Then my phone lit up with text messages from Leaf fans and haters alike. This could only be a bad omen.

I received four different "Toskalol" messages as I trekked from the farthest corner of the parking lot into the arena, bought four Labatts and sat down in my seats. I had been to two Islanders games previously, and both times the play of the Leafs left me disgusted, so I figured the beers were in order. As usual the Islanders fans were very friendly. I spent the first period talking to a nice guy to my left about the Leafs struggles and the year so far.

When the Islanders announced Lee Stempniak's goal, the row in front of me went crazy when they announced Sifers' assist. None of them had any Leafs gear on so I joked "Are you guys the Jaime Sifers fan club or what?" The 20 year old guy in front of me turned around, and said "I'm his brother". We talked a little bit about hockey, I mentioned how Sifers has been a solid callup so far, his brother mentioned how Sifers is itching to get into a fight. The first period ended tied at one but the Leafs were buzzing, it seemed inevitable that the blue and white would turn the tide eventually.

Obviously that never happened. In the second period Billy Guerin deflected a Josh Bailey shot into the net, probably the only goal of the night Toskala shouldn't feel bad about. It was announced as Bailey's goal which led to a standing ovation for his first NHL goal, and the scoring went unchanged until the second intermission.

Early in the third period Bill Guerin buried one of Toskala's gigantic rebounds to score his 400th NHL goal. Billy Guerin grew up in New England, so I've always liked him along with guys like Roenick. As the minutes ticked down and the third period died without much drama, I tried to make my way down to where CuJo was sitting to talk to him, but the Coliseum was oddly full and there weren't any empty seats.

I haven't talked about the Leafs play much, mostly because there wasn't that much to talk about. Antropov missed a couple of easy tap ins because of the bouncing puck, DiPietro had to handle a weird bouncing puck in the first, the ice on Long Island sucks. The ice, however, isn't why the Leafs lost. The Leafs didn't create any offensive chances last night, they were content to dance around the perimeter and take lazy shots which won't work against a goaltender like DiPietro.

After the Dallas game I wondered if Dallas had finally gotten their act together and were ready to start winning. I don't think that's the case. Toronto gave Long Island its first win since November 29th, dropping a 4-1 egg against the worst team in the league.

Sorry about the long form rambling essay about my Saturday.