An independent blog on the New York Islanders, the NHL and AHL by a guy from New York.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Damage Done, Isles Lose To Canes

On the anniversary of "The Brawl," your 13th place New York Islanders will face the 9th place Carolina Hurricanes at the NVMC.  The Isles swept the season series vs. the Hurricanes last season.

Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo, Ullstrom-Aucoin-McDonald, Bailey-Cizikas-Martin.

Defensive Pairings: MacDonald-Hamonic, Strait-Visnovsky, Hickey-Streit.

DiPietro in goal, Nabokov backing up.

The Islanders started out strong and moved the puck well.  And on a PP opportunity in the first 3 minutes of the game, Frans Nielsen scores (Bailey and Hamonic) first for the Islanders.  Its a PP goal, 1-0 Isles.  DiPietro looks like hes settled and comfortable early in the game.  Former Islander, Tim Wallace scored to even score, 1-1.  It looked to me like Wallace moved his skate distinctly to put the puck in the net, but goal stands.  The Islanders seem to be flustered and getting off track later in the period, even though they generate a few scoring chances before period ends.  Kyle Okposo looked better in the period.  New York outshooting Carolina, 11-6.

To start the second period, penaltys abound.  Matt Martin should have been awared a penalty shot.  JT flips it over Ward (Moulson and Visnovsky) for another PP goal, 2 for 2 tonight.  2-1 Islanders.  And only :20 afterTavares goal, Carolina makes it 2-2.  Another PP for the Isles means another goal.  Matt Moulson scores off a nice feed from Streit and Boyes, 3-2 Islanders.  PP is 3 for 3 on 4 shots tonight.  DiPietro makes a big save on Skinner to preserve the lead.  Isles with a 14-12 edge in shots.  Eric Hornick says, "have 3 PP goals for first time in a home game since 10/9/10 vs Dallas."

The Hurricanes storm back and score to start the 3rd period, game tied at 3-3.  DiPietro giveaway eventually led to goal.  The Islanders look flat and being out muscled by Carolina.  They have been weak in their own zone.  Capuano takes team timeout to regroup and calm things down.  Arthur Staple reports, " Capuano yelling "Wake up!" at his team during Isles timeout." A pass deflects off Travis Hamonic, 4-3 Carolina.  Islanders still look flat.  Carolina scores on a screened shot.  5-3 Hurricanes.  "DP sucks," chant can be heard in the Colisieum.  DP now getting the Bronx cheer after a save as fans get more frustrated.  This game isn't all on DP.  Isles PP clicks again, 4 for 4 tonight.  Lubo Visnovsky scores (Boyes and Streit) to cut Carolina's lead to 5-4.  Isles making a late push with DP pulled.  Final score, 6-4 Canes.  The Hurricanes outshot the Isles 31-28.

A few thoughts on the game:

Fortunately, the Isles PP had big success, although their 5 on 5 efforts struggled.  Matt Moulson and John Tavares lead by example and are just fun to watch for Isles fans.  I love Moulson's energy tonight. Ive never seen him get so physical.  Lubo Visnovsky has made a difference for the PP and on Defense.  He is a welcome addition in my opinion.  Bailey continues to look good.

DiPietro started ok, but looked lost tonight with a .883Sv%, he is trying to handle puck too much.  Kyle Okposo struggled again tonight, but works hard.  Thomas Hickey struggled on defense.  The Isles had some bad luck tonight with 3 flukey goals against, but that can not matter.  Change is needed after losing 5 straight, 3 games under .500 and falling fast.  Fore check needs to be better, forwards need to help on defense.

Doug Weight: "Puck responsibility is paramount. ...You have to have puck responsibility."

The truth is, the Islanders are just sloppy and not playing composed like they were at the start of the season.  To me, thats a coaching issue.  The team has reverted to a fragile psyche that results in team defense breaking down and getting outworked.  They need to put more shots on net and forcibly move bodies away from their own net.  To watch cornerstones like John Tavares with head in hand, so despondent in an empty team bench at the end of the game and Travis Hamonic smash his stick on the way back to the locker room, there are problems here that if not corrected, will start eating away at the team.

To Management.  This game has done some damage.  Please do something about it.

Isles Notes:

B.D. Gallof notices a stat on Nabokov, "Nabokov last few losses went from .923 Save Pct in loss to NJ lst week to .880 vs Pens to .875 vs NYR to now .800 vs Sabres.

On this date in 2011, your New York Islanders played the "Pengwhines" in the epic 9-3 contest, where 65 minutes of on ice penalties were handed out, including 15 fighting majors and 21 game misconducts, resulting in a total of 346 minutes.

Per Bob McKenzie, BOS is likely to sign former Islander, Jay Pandolfo to a contract this week. He has been skating/traveling with Bruins without a contract.

Per, Calgary Flames claim former Isles goaltender Joey MacDonald off waivers.

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