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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Unbearable And Still The Underdog

Your New York Islanders will face the 4th place Boston Bruins tonight on NBCSN at the NVMC for game 2 of a 7 game homestand.  The Isles are coming off a disappointing loss and need to improve their 2-7 home ice record in a big way. 
Matt Moulson: We've shown how good we can be. In wins against NJ, PIT and NYR we wore them down but we have to find that consistency.

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

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

Evgeni Nabokov starts in net with Kevin Poulin backing up.


Early in the first period, there is a lot of movement and physical play.  Isles look lost while Boston controls play and take the lead, 1-0 from the blue line.  Soft one to give up for Nabokov.  Soon after, Bailey misses a wide open net.  Michael Grabner splits the Boston D, and breaks in on Rask to be denied.  Isles need to keep their game moving to counter Boston's size.  It is frustrating to see John Tavares get roughed up by opposing teams each night with very few call made because of it.  Casey Cizikas brings hustle, energy and goals.  @Zeeker11 blows past Bergeron and ties the score at 1-1, Josh Bailey and Andy MacDonald with the set up.  Chara and Martin exchange hands to the face.  Isles survive slow start, PK holds up and they finish the period strong.  Isles hold an 11-10 advantage on shots.


Hickey leaves an opening and Boston goes up, 2-1 just :38 into second period.   Bruins easily break into Isles zone and bury another one, 3-1 Bruins.  Forwards need to play better defense and the fore check is missing from New York's game.  Islanders seemingly starting to unravel.  Michael Grabner misses another breakaway.  Isles taking too many penalties in the period (3) and relying on their PK a little to much.  Boston's brute force winning out over Isles speed thus far.  Shots are even at 22-22.

In the third period, the Isles struggle to play catch up.  Credit Evgeni Nabokov for keeping the score at 3-1.  They need to take some chances and bring some force to their speed.  John Tavares is awe inspiring as usual.  His efforts are legendary.  Bruins putting on full defensive pinch to thwart Isles best efforts.  The Islanders are really working hard late in the third to salvage this game, cycling the puck and playing more physically.  Think its too late.  Capuano pulls Nabokov way early with 2:30 remaining, a move that never works for the Isles. Bruins score on the empty net for a 4-1 win forcing the Isles to go 2-8 at home so far this season.  With just a few more wins at home and the Isles would be inside the playoff race instead of outside it.  The Isles out shot Bruins 14-12 in the period and 37-34 in the game.  Nabokov made 30 saves and had a .909 Sv%.


Tonight, the Isles started slow, went behind early and when they regained momentum they couldn't hold on.  Their lack of physicality has hurt them for most of the season.  Shaky back checks and non existent fore checking led to penalties and defensive breakdowns.  They did apply some pressure and show some punch, but couldn't finish.  When they did, Rask came up big or they missed an open net or breakaway opportunities.  The same formula of inconsistency that results in loses at home and on the road.  Energy and heart will not get the Isles where they need to be with the current line up.  At least not without some solid coaching.  If the team has passengers like Coach Capuano has said, make some changes and move or waive the under performers and make a call up or trade for an upgrade.  Just don't do anything and pretend its all good.  Saying that the Isles are only 2 points out of a playoff spot is reason to keep hope alive, but I think this team can do more with only a few tweaks. 

Staying calm and composed is a good plan if your machine is working.  But the Isles machine needs a tune up. 
This is getting so old.



Isles Notes:

Rick DiPietro has reported to Bridgeport today.  Per Michael Fornabaio, "DiPietro declined to talk today."

Per Brian Compton, "Aucoin has no goals and one assist in the past 12 games.

GAMEWATCH UPDATE: Okay fans, we've decided to leave the date of our next Gamewatch up to you! Please select one of the two available dates. Voting ends Wednesday March 6 at 10PM.
Vote Here @ Islanders Fans in Brooklyn

Sound Tigers Notes:

2/25  Bridgeport Sound Tigers released (G) Steve Valiquette from Pro Tryout Contract.

IPB's Kevin Schultz looks at the non-play of Anders Nilsson. 

NHL Notes:
NHL proposes realignment. 

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