**Pictured Above: Islander Forward, Blake Comeau**

Written By: Alex Lowenthal

What better way to start this final stretch than to beat the 3rd best team in hockey? Tonight the Islanders got off to a bit of a slow start, but thanks to great goaltending mixed with shoddy goaltending from Chicago, they got themselves a gritty victory.
They looked a bit flat early, and were out shot 22-9 in the first period by a Chicago team who had previously won 4 games in a row, and trails only Washington and San Jose in the NHL with 87 points.  In this period, they were out shot, out played, and were only down 2-1 at the break, thanks in large part to veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson (who may not even be an Islander after 3pm tomorrow).
The Islanders were a different team coming out of the locker room in the second period.  Blake Comeau scored his and the teams second goal just 2:27 into the period, knotting the game up at 2 a piece.  25 seconds later Richard Park scored a bit of a soft goal to take the lead 3-2, with Jon Sim’s help parking himself in front of ‘Hawks goalie Antti Niemi.  Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville had seen enough at that point, pulling Niemi and replacing him with Cristobol Huet.  Chicago’s goaltending has been their biggest problem, and there’s a good chance they’ll have a new goalie before the deadline tomorrow at 3, maybe even Islanders’ hero Roloson.  This change didn’t help much, as Park scored again just 4:14 seconds later, making it 4-2 Isles.  They weren’t done yet.  Blake Comeau decided to record his first career NHL hat trick with 17.3 seconds remaining in this Islander dominated 2nd period, putting his team up 5-2.  The Isles out shot Chicago 11-8 in the frame, and looked like the better team doing it.
The third period was much more defensive minded, as they Isles were protecting their lead and trying to get the win.  They were out shot 14-3, only surrendering 1 goal.  Chicago pulled their goalie down 2 with 2:33 left, but to no avail.  Final score, 5-3 Islanders.  It was a big, much needed win, and hopefully this will give the team the momentum they need down the stretch.
Side Notes
-The Islander penalty kill was subpar, surrendering 2 goals on only three attempts.
-Chicago out shot the Isles 44-23, thanks for the 41 saves Rolly.
-Trent Hunter hasn’t scored now in 13 games, and had a terrific chance to do so on an empty net, but hit the post.
-Isles will face off Thursday night at 7pm in Atlanta against the Thrashers.
-The NHL trade deadline is tomorrow at 3pm, I have a feeling the Islanders will shed one of their three goalies.
-Isles traded D Andy Sutton to Ottawa today for a 2nd round draft pick in next year’s draft.

What do you think Islander fans?