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ROSE: Isles must write own history

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Like last season, the atmosphere in the Nassau Coliseum for the Isles' Game 3 tilt against the was great. Last year, when the played the , the Leafs had some players (Darcy Tucker, et al.) who became villains based on the events of the games up in Toronto, so they were eminently more hateable as a team than the Ottawa currently are. I don't think that necessarily translated into any change or difference in the passion, but it's a great feeling to be in the building when it rocks the way it did to open up this year's postseason. Going into double overtime against the Sens in that first playoff home game may have conjured up memories of the ' success in the extra session over the years, particularly in the Stanley Cup-winning years. But those times are totally irrelevant to this group. None of these guys were a part of what happened during the 1970s and 1980s. You'd like to think that you feel some esoteric surge based on these reappearing ghosts and images from the past, but it doesn't work that way.

Shoot that puck, score that goal

Just about a half-dozen or so of the Islander forwards — i.e. , , — are overdue for a breakout game. Interestingly enough, once picked his game up in the last three weeks of the season, a lot of other guys went the other way. They definitely need to spread the scoring out among the forwards better than they have the last month. I don't think this kind of thing happens on a conscious level. I think there was a feeling all year long that if they could get Yashin going, then they would really be in a good situation given they were getting production from the -Jason Blake-Jason Wiemer line. They were not getting the same kind of production from the -Shawn Bates-Mark Parrish line that they got over the first half of last year. But one sort of felt that it would come sooner rather than later because Parrish is a streaky scorer, Bates would chip in points here and there and Peca would be Peca. But, including the first three games of the playoffs, Michael's gone 23 games without a goal. Parrish has been ice cold the entire second half of this season, and this team just doesn't have enough big-time scoring threats that they could afford that.

Matchup key

I thought all four of the Isles' top four defensemen were solid in Game 3. But the problem is, if you're going to play , , and as often as Peter Laviolette has, then, ultimately, you have to deal with the potential consequences of there not much being left in the tank. If you get to a second overtime period, everybody's tired. But when you have six defensemen rolling the way Ottawa coach Jacques Martin did, as opposed to four the way Peter did, the team that's got more depth is going to have the advantage.

What's more glaring than this number?

The 1-for-10 mark on the power play in Game 3 speaks for itself. The have to score on the power play if they're going to have a chance in this series because the are too good 5-on-5. And when you get as many chances as they did, particularly in the second period, what happens often is players wind up feeling that the more opportunities they let slip away, the more they don't cash in, then the other team will get chances of their own, or take advantage by scoring goals and turn the game around. And although it didn't happen in a profound way, that's how the are going to look at Game 3 and realize they missed the boat.

Don't waste spider's Webb

continues to fill the same role he has for the past four-plus years. The thing that he's learned to do is play under control and goad the opposition into taking penalties. A perfect example of that happened in the first overtime of Game 3, where he threw a good, clean hit on Ottawa rookie defenseman . Out of frustration of being creamed, or frustration stemming from the lack of a call by the refs, Volchenkov loses his temper, goes back at Webb and takes a penalty. And again, the whole power-play issue comes in, but that's typical of what Webb's done over the last few years, which is playing under control to draw penalties. Occasionally, he'll get an opposing player to drop his gloves and skate away, or lay a hard hit that draws retaliation in order to create a power play opportunity. That's Webb, and that's useful when your power play is working. Howie Rose is the play-by-play voice of the and Mets on Fox Sports New York. Howie's commentary appears regularly on www.msgnetwork.com.

Tagged: Islanders, Senators, Maple Leafs, Janne Niinimaa, Alexei Yashin, Roman Hamrlik, Adrian Aucoin, Dave Scatchard, Mark Parrish, Jason Wiemer, Michael Peca

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