Tonight, your New York Islanders welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to the NVMC. The Isles can either handle a struggle Leafs team and get a win at home tonight or fall into a pattern of playing down to the level of their opponent. We shall see which Isles team emerges tonight. Per Kevin McGran, "The Isles are 5-1-2 in their last eight games against Toronto; each of the last three Coliseum games have been decided by an overtime goal."
Forwards: Conacher-Tavares-Okposo Kulemin-Nelson-Clutterbuck Bailey-Nielsen-Strome Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.
Defensive Pairings: Leddy-Boychuk Hickey-Hamonic de Haan-Strait.
Jaroslav Halak is in net with Chad Johnson on the bench.
In the first period, Nick Leddy (Strome & Bailey) puts the Isles on the board to give the Isles a 1-0 lead. Isles lose a little of their pizzazz after the Leddy goal, and Toronto ties the game near the half way mark. Nielsen puts it off the boards behind the Toronto net on the PP, John Tavares puts a nice one timer behind Bernier for a 2-1 Isles lead. And that's how the period will end, Isles on top.
Leafs take it to the Islanders early in the period, Isles defense looking a little unsettled. Isles PP continues to misfire. Leafs taking control of the game and beating the Isles on both ends of the ice. Toronto ties the game at 2-2, Isles too passive in the game. Defense continues to struggle as leafs make it 3-2. Isles look like they are getting into trouble in the period, they need to take back control of this game soon. Leafs make it a 4-2 game at the 3/4 mark. You wonder what it will take for Capuano to call a time out? Halak looks rattled and the Isles look baffled in front of him, no skating, no checking pressure at all. 5-2 Leafs late in the second. This collapse is not all Halak's fault. Kessel has been literally unguarded out there. Isles getting pushed around and look unable to regroup as leafs score 4 unanswered goals. Changes need to be made in the 3rd. Islanders are booed off the ice.
Some changes are made. Chad Johnson comes out to start the period with Kulemin on the first line replacing a struggling Conacher who has been added to a line with Nelson & Clutterbuck. Isles play with some urgency, Leafs call a time out early in the period. Hickey took a skate to chin, looks cut and goes in for stitches. Isles continue to play better and create chances, but need a goal to start this thing over again. Calvin de Haan shows his frustration with a hit to Clarkston's head and gets a penalty. We will see if the NHL looks at that tomorrow. Kulemin looks good on the first line. Toronto gets another one, but the late goal doesn't count, as it was kicked in. Time expires and the Isles lose 5-2 to the Leafs at home.
Isles out shot Toronto 36-28 in the game. Halak went 18/23 with a .783Sv%. Johnson was perfect in the third with 5 saves. So the Isles won the first period, but lost the game. It was another incomplete effort and a lackluster result. The Isles stopped skating in the second period and sat back to watch Kessel dismantle them. Halak looked shaky, but wasn't helped by the forwards weak checking effort in front of him. They need to be better 5 on 5, especially against this kind of team. The defense got worse as the game went on as well. The PP was horrible at 1/6, but the PK stood tough going 4/4. Toronto controlled face offs (36/24) and out muscled the Isles for much of the final 2 periods. The Isles lost two in a row after winning the first four, but that's no reason to panic. The Isles need to play hard from start to finish if they want to win night after night. They need to play their own game instead of trying to keep up with their opponents. They should get motivated to play Boston on Thursday. I know Boychuk & Johnson will be.
Consistency breeds success. The lines will probably be shuffled and some things will be addressed in practice tomorrow. I know its only two loses, I know they are 4-2 at the start, but Coach Capuano didn't impress me while he watched the game spiral out of control in the second period and didn't call another time out when his team needed it. I'm not a fan of his roster moves either. It's an all too familiar pattern for me. The players need to be accountable when they don't play well enough to win. Capuano thinks the Isles had some mismanagement on the ice that contributed to the loss. I'd agree, but I might be jaded.
Isles to officially introduce new owners at 3 p.m. press conference this Wednesday at
Per Tony Stabile, "Josh Ho-Sang gets some Hockey Canada love, invited to OHL Super Series Camp along with 5th overall selection Michael Dal Colle."
Toronto's, Nazem Kadri feels that he an John Tavares are close in skill level. Um, OK.
Per Ray Ferrero. "excited to be heading to Long Island for my last gm @ Coliseum / some of best memories there, '93playoffs, Al Arbour, fun teams