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

Saturday, March 9, 2013


After losing to their arch-rival in a closely fought battle, creative penalty non calls, JT getting angry again and an assistant coach suspended for his critique of league officials, your 10th place New York Islanders have to move on and win a game against the 12th place Washington Capitals.  Two points today will put the Isles 1 pt out of 8th spot at the start of play today.  If they keep playing the way they have been, they should be ok.

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

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

Ullstrom in for Boulton, Visnovsky in for Finley.

In the first period, the Isles came out to the cheers of 14,819 fans with some jump and probably a bone or two to pick with the hockey world.  Their physical game has checked in and the 4th line is making some waves so far today.  Casey Cizikas making things happen with Martin & McDonald.  Josh Bailey takes a sweet feed from Frans Nielsen (& Streit), and puts it behind Grubauer for a 1-0 Isles lead.  John Tavares is knocked from his feet going to the Washington net, nothing called.  Crowd chants "the refs suck!"  A few minutes later, Islanders get a PP!  Call Guinness!  Nothing gained.  The period ends with the Isles out shooting the Caps 12-8.

In the second, Washington gets a lucky rebound off Hamonic's skate.  Game tied at 1-1.  Ovechkin turns it over, 2-1 results and Casey Cizikas (Martin & McDonald) scores.  2-1 Isles.  The Islanders continue with playing a good transitional game, jumping on give always and putting pressure on the Caps in their own zone.  Isles out shoot Caps 13-11 in the period and 25-19 in the game.  Assistant coach, Doug Weight has called this game, "an NHL slop fest" so far.  There has been a lot of giveaways, smash ups and loose pucks.  Isles D has been pretty good, but they need to tighten up more to control play.

The Islanders 4th line attacks with Cizikas coming close to another goal to start the third period.  K.O. with a nice feed to Bailey alone and in front, goes wide.  Game remains 2-1 Isles.  Islanders have let up a little defensively, not a good thing. And before I could finish typing the previous sentence, Washington scores to knot the game at 2-2.  The defense needs to wake up and continue playing the game that got them the lead, not a lazy, wait and react kind approach they seem to doing now.  Again, an issue of Isles consistency that gives away the lead - that's on the head coach.  A-Mac takes a puck off his heel and limps to bench.  Isles get a 4 minute minor PP opportunity.  A-Mac returns.  Isles continue to pressure the net and JT scores (Boyes and Visnovsky) to regain the lead, 3-2 Isles (99th NHL goal).  A-Mac takes a stick to the face, goes down hard, another 4 minute minor.  JT scores immediately, but play continues.  Was not called a goal on the ice but they will be sure to review this.  Play continues and Moulson scores in the second part of the 4 min minor.  4-2 Isles.  A replay shows JT scored on initial goal.  That's JT's 100th NHL goal.  No goal for Moulson.  The Capitals lack of discipline has taken them out of the game and Isles took advantage of the opportunity.
Play resumes with 7:15 remaining and Isles on a full 2:00 PP, take 2.  Penalty expires without "another" second goal on the PP.  Isles on the PK.  Nielsen and Grabner break in 2 on 1, Nielsen scores SHG!  5-2 Isles.  Isles back on PK.  Per Arthur Staple, "Matt Martin called for the world's slowest charging penalty in NHL history. Must be a new rulebook." 

The Islanders win 5-2 and add two points to their playoff push.  The Isles led in shots by a 19-5 in the third period and 45-24 for the game.  Evgeni Nabokov was big again today, especially late in the game with 22 saves and a .917 Sv%.  Do the Isles send Poulin back down to get some playing time to keep him sharp as Butch Goring and Howie Rose suggest?  Cizikas, Nielsen and Tavares are named three stars of the game. They are now 1 point behind the Rangers for the 8th spot in the east. 
Oh and they did it in the third jerseys.

We were also a witness to the lack of PP chances called for the Islanders all season long.  Although there were I think 5 called today, John Tavares continues to be mugged to the ignorance of NHL officials each and every contest, including today's game.  I would like to think its just me being pro Islander, but others have said as much to me as well.

The Isles are back to .500, 11-11-3 at 25 points.  They improve to 5-8-2 at home and have pulled the nose up in this 7 game home stand going 3-0-2 after losing the first two, getting 8 out of a possible 14 points.  In my opinion, this home stand was a big gut check for Garth Snow's Islanders and they responded to adversity by digging deep, win or lose and fighting for every inch.  They have character in so many guys with JT, MM, FN, CZ, MM, LV and EN just to name a few. 

The Islanders came out with energy and have been playing a physical game the last few outings.  Their defensive scheme has improved slightly and their forwards are doing more in the back end as well.  With better direction, consistent efforts, an efficiently working D and when more than just the top lines are contributing regularly, the Isles could make the 4th of 5th spot in the playoff picture instead of the 8th.  As I have said, the skill is here now to compete and with the forward and Defensive call ups coming, the team should be even better.

Pittsburgh tomorrow @ 7pm, Lightning on Thursday @ 7:30pm and Florida @ 7:30pm on Saturday.

Isles Notes:

Per Christian Arnold, "Team Staff" got a 10 minute game misconduct at 42 second mark of OT. As did Kyle Okposo."

Per NHL, "New York Islanders assistant coach Brent Thompson has been suspended for two games as a result of being assessed a Game Misconduct under Rule 39.5 for inappropriate and abusive comments he directed at the on-ice officials following NHL Game #341 against the New York Rangers on March 7, the National Hockey League announced today."

Per Arthur Staple, Nearly the whole (Isles) team let the refs know their feelings in the hallway off the ice.

"Thompson will miss the Islanders’ next two games – Mar. 9 vs. Washington and Mar. 10 at Pittsburgh. He is eligible to return Mar. 14 at Tampa Bay."

After Lubo Visnovsky missed the last two games for the Isles returning home to Slovakia attending to a family friends tragedy, he returned to the Island last night and was reported to have found his family a house here.  There is no word on if this means anything more than wanting to bring his family with him for the next month or so.

Isles forward @MMoulson plays his 300th career NHL game today.

Per New York Islanders, Thank you to all Isles and Rangers fans who came out to the game last night, helping us raise $104,097 for @MissingKids (NCMEC)!

Per NHLhistorygirl, On this date in 2006, LA Kingsacquired Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel from the Isles for Denis Grebeshkov and Jeff Tambellini.

Per Spokane Chiefs, Isles D prospect, Brenden Kichton recorded two assists in tonight's win and is now tied for second all-time in franchise history with Pat Falloon.

Per NYPost, Craig Stanley, of West Hempstead, was charged Sunday with forcible touching for bizarrely smacking the woman’s rear outside Nassau Coliseum as a way to “congratulate” her because it was her birthday.

Sound Tigers Notes:

3/8 - Sound Tigers WIN! @SBacks16 nets two goals late in 3rd period, DiPietro makes 25 saves as Bridgeport comes back to beat Albany 4-2!

Per Michael Fornabio, Chad Costello is released from his SPC.

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