Monday, December 28, 2015

Toronto Maple Leafs 3 at New York Islanders 1 - December 27, 2015

I don't post here when I see games in NYC as there is really nothing interesting to say. But I will make an exception for a Leaf win! The Buds were at Barclays Center on Sunday in their first game after the Christmas break, and surprisingly it was a sellout, only the third of the season after the opener and the Rangers visit at the beginning of the month. I have a pair of season tickets here but was having trouble selling the extra single, so I ended up selling them as a pair, buying a cheapie from the box office. The seat was in the second last row at the goal line and I don't know if I've ever sat further from the ice at an indoor NHL game. There are 26 seats in a row here and it is very, very dark, so getting to your seat is an adventure when you are in the middle of a full row. Truly one of the more unpleasant seating areas I have experienced, so much so that I didn't bother leaving at intermission.

Even with 15,795 on hand, the crowd was quiet for the most part, which wasn't helped by the Islanders play. They did connect on a few hits in the first period that elicited some cheers, but could not turn that into anything meaningful, struggling to create chances against Jonathan Bernier (warming up below). The Islanders fan next to me was stunned at Bernier's awful stats and implored his team to "shoot" but they had trouble getting anything on net.

Thomas Greiss started for the Islanders as Jaroslav Halak was out injured, and he allowed a couple 100 seconds apart in the middle frame. Tyler Bozak scored when the puck bounced off the end boards right to him, and ex-Islander Michael Grabner (#40 below) potted one when Greiss failed to handle a shot from the point and the puck trickled loose. That turned out to be the winner as ex-Leaf Nikolay Kulemin scored with 7:30 to go in the third, but James Van Riemsdyk found the empty net in the final minute to make it 3-1 and send me and a few other Leaf fans home happy.


Sparky the Dragon, the Islanders mascot unceremoniously left back at Nassau Coliseum, made an appearance. In the video they showed on the scoreboard to illustrate his trip, they included a scene where Sparky underwent a security check. Only at Barclays Center!

This was the fifth Leaf road game I have seen this year and they are 3-2, a good record considering how awful the team should be. I saw the Jays on the road seven times this past season and they went 3-4 for an overall mark of 6-6. I'll take it.

Next Up

A couple of college basketball games to round out the year, with Iona College tonight and then a Rutgers matinee Wednesday against Indiana as conference play begins. As well, my 2016 schedule is about to be released, so check back for that in the new year!



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