So, just how long do you think it’ll take for Rob Schremp to get that smile off of his face?
The former Islander has said he holds nothing against New York for cutting him lose back on February 28. “There are no hard feelings”, he told Chris Vivlamore recently. “It’s a part of hockey…I appreciate what they did for me as far as giving me a chance”.
That’s the classy thing to say of course, and I’m sure Schremp was quite sincere with his remarks. But you just gotta know that somewhere in the back of his mind as he stepped onto the ice at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum he had to be thinking, “Man…what I just wouldn’t give to be able to score a goal here tonight”.
It’s only human nature after all. Kind of like returning to your hometown for a high school reunion… with your stunningly beautiful wife… in a brand new German luxury sedan…and running into the cheerleader who had turned you down for the prom years before.
Well, score a goal is just what Mr. Schremp did…and not just any goal, but the one that wound being the game-winner. Schremp’s wrister beat Isle goalie Al Montoya at the 13:56 mark of the second period to de-knot the score at one-all. The assists went to Schremp’s linemates Larry Fine and Mo Howard.
No, no…make that Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien.
Atlanta improved their penalty-killing skills from last Saturday night, denying the Islanders on all for of their man-advantage situation. They were very aggressive in pursuing the puck and pressured New York all night long while a man down.
Chris Mason made his first start in goal since March 5 and improved his season record to 11-10-3. He looked sharp between the pipes as he stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced in the first period.
Actually, the stats sheet reads the Islanders were only allowed 15 shots on goal for the entire game.
That’s right folks…one-fiver. That total is a season low for the Thrashers defense, besting the 17 allowed to the Carolina Hurricanes back on February 13…a game they lost 3-2.
Mason should almost feel like he should give back a portion of his pay for this night…almost.
Seriously though, Mason looked sharp when he was called upon. He was beaten only when John Tavares tapped home the puck after it had pinged the far post.
And of course, the 2-1 win on Long Island was the first in regulation for Atlanta since…flipping back through stacks of papers…since…flipping, flipping…ah here it is. It’s the first regulation win since February 11 when they knocked off the Rangers 3-2, snapping a streak of 15 games in which the Thrashers allowed opponents either 1 or 2 points.
That’s a long time. Too long.
But they will not have too long in which to celebrate this victory. They’ll wing their way back to Thrasherville for a Friday night matchup against the NHL’s best team, the 48-17-9 Vancouver Canucks. That’s not an easy way to wrap-up the tail end of a back-to-back set, mind you. But at least they took care of business on the front end.
Hopefully Schremp and his Thrashers buddies will still be smiling after that one.