It's dwindled to minuscule numbers, but there is no more passion and loyalty than what lies within those hardy souls at Nassau Coliseum.The seating capacity at Nassau Coliseum is currently listed as 16,170. Last night's attendance of 11,111 was well below the average attendance of 13,461, but it is an all too common sight these days. The Islanders inevitably taking a lead before a not too packed house, only to painstakingly let them all down, and send the crowd home angry and empty handed.
— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) January 7, 2014
However, last night was a fun exception. I was lucky enough to be in attendance. I bought tickets on a website for at least $90 below face value and they were great seats. Evgeni Nabokov got hurt in the first period, which usually is an ominous sign of things to come. After the first period, it felt like it was going to be another one of those nights where the Isles go through the motions in line for a loss, after which Jack Capuano will say the team's "battle level" wasn't there. Like we haven't heard that one before.
In the second period, that quickly changed. On the power play, the Isles got a break, and I got my camera out for what you see below.
Shortly after that, the die-hards in section 329 broke out into a 'Yes' chant that has to be seen live to believe and love.
For once, the Isles were the team getting the breaks, putting the puck in the net with regularity. The crowd at the Coliseum could sense it, as the Stars were held without a shot for almost 10 minutes in the second period. After John Tavares tied it off an amazing pass from Thomas Vanek. After that, Dallas called timeout to try and regain their composure. It didn't work.
If Peter Regin scores, Isles win. It's that simple. They won when he scored in the preseason, and now they have won both times he scored in the regular season. His tap in of a Josh Bailey pass gave the Islanders a lead.
Then Dallas tied it. At this point, I started thinking, "Here we go again." However, Brock Nelson singlehandedly brought the Isles the lead going into the second intermission.
In the third period, it was the John Tavares show. First, he set up Brian Strait during a 4 on 4 to make it 5-3. Then, he came out of the corner untouched and knocked the puck past Kari Lehtonen to make it 6-3. While all of this was going on, Kevin Poulin faced only 15 shots in relief of Evgeni Nabokov, stopping 13 of them en route to the win. With under 4 minutes left in the game, the Islanders had nearly two minutes of 5 on 3 time to try and set up the captain for his hat trick. Here's what happened.
Maybe this game was a distraction from the fact that this is not where the Islanders thought they would be at this point in the season. Maybe it will be a turning point for them to build on in hopes of making the playoffs. But for one night, all is well on Long Island.
All the loyal supporters will just have to keep watching and hoping that something will happen.
Thanks for reading! Lets Go Islanders!