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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Isles Falter vs Rangers at NVMC


Tonight, your New York Islanders (4-4-3 11pts) faced their rival, New York Rangers (3-7-0 6pts) for their first meeting on the season.  Newly acquired Thomas Vanek will play along side John Tavares & Kyle Okposo on the Isles top line.  The Rangers will start rookie, Cam Talbot in net.

 

Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey; Grabner-Regin-Clutterbuck; Nelson-Cizikas-Martin.


D-Pairings:  Hamonic-MacDonald, Donovan-Martinek, Carkner-Hickey.


Evgeni Nabokov will get the start with Kevin Poulin on the bench.


Vanek and Nelson in, McDonald and Boulton out of the lineup tonight.

 

In the first period, both teams come out looking a little disorganized.  Clutterbuck with some good pressure.  Isles get the first few shots on net, but Nabokov would come up big in close on two Ranger chances.  Casey Cizikas is active in the offensive zone and irritating the Rangers.  An early Isles PP is neutralized and becomes a Ranger PP & a Kreider rebound goal, 1-0 Rangers.  Isles need more physicality in their own zone in front of Nabokov.  Donovan with some good wheels and involved early.  Vanek with some good pressure in close, but Talbot makes the saves.  Rangers outplaying Isles.  Islanders missing the net on several shots, Talbot barely has to move.  Isles out shoot Rangers 9-4, but trail in the game.  The Ranger's take a rare lead into the intermission.

 

Kyle Okposo victimized again in the second period, Rangers to the PP.  Isles look shakey again.  Trouble settling the puck down, winning face offs and dictating tempo.  Isles with a good kill, Nabby took a shot off the mask but looks ok.  Isles being outplayed again so far in the second.  Big fan of how Donovan's game is improving.  Cal Clutterbuck (Carkner) with a nice steal off Staal, breaks into the zone and roofs it.  Its his first goal as an Islander.  Game tied at 1-1.  Matt Martin goes after Derek Dorsett to stir it up for the Isles.  Bailey breaks in close, Talbot equal to task.  Josh Bailey is really showing some maturity this season.  Isles starting to force Rangers into turnovers as period goes on.  Both teams with an energetic back and forth in the final two minutes of the period.  Isles came close a few times there.  Casey Cizikas is a penalty killing, offensive pressure wielding monster.  Peter Regin (MacDonald & Hamonic) puts it in off Girardi for the go ahead goal, 2-1 Isles.  Rangers out shoot Isles 15-7 in the period and 19-16 in the game thus far.

 

Nabokov comes up big again to start the period after the Rangers pressure the Isles net on a broken play in the Isles zone.  Isles get called on a too many men penalty, McDonough scores through a screen, game tied at 2-2.  Okposo cant seem to stay out of the box.  Martinek way out of position,  Pouliot scores to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead at 13:46 mark of the third period.  Isles net is empty with 1:00 remaining.  Isles out shoot Rangers 8-5 in the period, tied at 24-24 for the game.  Richards and Clutterbuck throw down as time expires.

 

Isles have some bright spots in the game, but lose 3-2 with tons of Rangers fans in the lower bowl cheering on their goals in all the game highlights for the world to see.  Talbot (22-24, .917Sv%) gets the win.  Rangers get the two points. 


Its not that they lost a close game and made a few mistakes in the process.  It was they way they lost and were unable to come out and show something.  Not the kind of statement game the Isles needed to make after the trade.  They were and have been unable to play a complete game on a regular basis.  They failed to play physical, fore-check, move the puck and cant finish consistently.  The team is never ready to play.  They sometimes just go through the motions instead of fighting through those challenges.  To me, that's what the head coach is there for. 

 
Their winning streak, comeback and lockdown mentality of last season is missing.  Instead of taking the next step, they seem to be uncertain of what to do next.  Vanek should make the team better.  His chemistry will come with JT.  Help on defense is need and its needed now with their injuries on defense.  Waiting for the deep pool of prospects probably wont cut it.  Will more trades come?  Who would they add and at what price?  Is it time for a gut check?  A players only meeting to call out those who need to improve? 

 

 
Kevin Schultz on Twitter

 

Isles Notes:


More on the Moulson-Vanek trade:



Per Bob McKenzie, "BUF retained approx $1.4M, give or take a few thousand $, or roughly 20 per cent of Thomas Vanek's remaining salary, as part of NYI trade."



Per Pierre LeBrun," Another wrinkle in the Vanek deal: if the 1st round pick NYI sent Buff ends up top 10 in June, Isles have option to defer the pick to 2015."

 

 
*** I will be away on business this weekend.  I will try and get to a review of the Ottawa & Boston games on Monday 11/4.***



Monday, October 28, 2013

Islanders trade Matt Moulson & Picks for Thomas Vanek


Per Arthur Staple, "The New York Islanders have traded Matt Moulson, their 2014 1st-round pick and a 2015 2nd-round pick to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek."



@MMoulson 27 Oct
Would like to thank all the great people and fans I was able to meet in NY..I will miss you all. This is the beginning of a new chapter.



The trade of Matt Moulson was a shock to fans & team mates alike. But Isles GM, Garth Snow mentioned that it was in the works for months at his presser at Isles practice today.  He also admitted that he did not speak with team Captain and Long time line mate, John Tavares of the trade.  Hockey is a business and sometimes, requires that you make difficult decisions.
 

"It's sad to leave people you care about and love behind," Moulson told ESPNNewYork.com when reached by phone Sunday night. "I think over the years I've shown my want to be a part of the organization and turning around the team into being successful. I guess, obviously, in the long run, they didn't feel the same."
 

Matt Moulson had 3 thirty goal seasons with New York and was on pace for a fourth with 15 goals in last years lockout shortened campaign.  This season, he had 6 and 3 for 9 pts in 11 games as an Islander.  Snow had this to say about Moulson, "In that respect, it's always tough to see a player like Matt go out the door but you have to give up something to get something."


"I guess this is what happens in pro sports," Moulson said. "I gotta move on. Obviously, I'll miss everyone, but this will be a new chapter."


Moulson had this to say to ESPN.com about being traded to the last place Sabers, "Obviously not the start they wanted," Moulson added, "Hopefully I can be the guy that helps them turn that around."  Matt Moulson had 2 goals in a losing effort for the Sabers tonight.  I wish him the best of luck.  He is a classy player and an even better human being for his work in the community and charity work.
 
 
 


On the trade for Thomas Vanek, Garth Snow talked of the team's success in signing free agents who came in and got a feel for the organization before negotiating for an extension.  Recent exaples would include Lubomir Visnovsky and Evgeni Nabokov.


On the added packaging of this summer's 1st rd pick and next years 2nd rd pick, Snow said, "With the prospect pool that we have, that lessened the burden of losing a first round pick and second round pick."
 

The Islanders have shown a lot of inconsistent play this season.  Despite having success on special teams and scoring goals, they need work on the defensive side of their game.  That will almost surely come with prospects like Reinhart, Pulock, deHaan, Pelech, Pokka, Ness & Mayfield.  The right deal could bring a top defensemen to the team if another deal can be made at what Snow considers a fair price.  The Goaltending situation should remain the same with Nabokov giving the team the best chance to win and Poulin getting his chance to show if his game is improving enough to be considered more than a prospect/back up.
 

"We have to be more consistent, we have to be better. We need to take that next step and we feel that Thomas can help us get there." 


The trade also sends a message to anyone Capuano calls "passengers."  Any players who aren't giving the effort required might find themselves moved as well. 

 

Isles lines at practice today:


Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey; Grabner-Nelson-Regin-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald-Boulton.


Thomas Vanek will wear #26 for the Islanders.

 

On his trade to the Island, Vanek had this to say, "I was excited to come here, it's a great young team and an up-tempo style. I'm looking forward to it."  That kind of enthusiasm would be what fans and management call a good sign.  Vanek's agent said that there has been no talks by the Isles about retaining Vanek beyond this season as of yet.  I would assume the organization and player want to see how things develop and talks can happen later on the season if things go well.  If not, Vanek can always be moved at the deadline to recoup similar picks that were lost.
 

On playing with John Tavares, Vanek said, "An opportunity like this doesn't come around much. I'm gonna try and make the most of it."  John Tavares has never played with a player of Vaneks skill level.  The eight time twenty goal scorer is an elite NHL player and with JT, can find another level in his game.


Vanek can start when his New York Islanders face their arch rival, New York Rangers tomorrow night.


 


Isles Notes:

 

Per Arthur Staple, "Brian Strait (upper body), Lubo Visnovsky (concussion) not skating today for Isles."
 

Per Capgeek, "Vanek and Moulson rank among the 2014 UFA class's top 15 scorers." 


"Isles defenseman Andrew MacDonald leads the 2014 UFA class in average ice time."





An Up & Down Weekend For The Isles


10/26 vs Philadelphia:



The Islanders would follow up the Pittsburgh game with a home loss to the last place Flyers.  Kyle Okposo (Hickey & Tavares) & Frans Nielsen's SHG (Regin) would be the only goals for New York in the 5-2 loss.  Kevin Poulin (25-28, .871 Sv%) would struggle with positioning behind a poor defensive showing again for New York.  The game was another inconsistent effort in which they play down to the level of their opponent.  Carkner has become a glaring weak point of the Isles defense.
 

Per  Brian Compton, "Frans Nielsen already has more goals this season (7) than he had last season (6)."







10/25 vs Pittsburgh:
 

It was another late game comeback, but your New York Islanders got three goals in final 7:14 minute span of the third period vs the Penguins on Friday night to clinch a 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh.  It was the first time they had faced each other since the playoffs.  The news of the day was that Radek Martinek would join the team after signing a one year, $600K contract (in for Strait w/ upper body injury).  Matt Moulson (Nielsen & Tavares), Frans Nielsen (Hickey & Martinek), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Martinek), Josh Bailey (Nielsen & Okposo) would do the scoring for the Islanders.  Bailey's game winner would come with 1:40 to go in the game.  Evgeni Nabokov played well in net for the game.  Thomas Hickey broke his nose and had his strongest game of the year getting his first point and getting a +3 rating. 
 

Per Nick Trickster, "Tonight is the first time the Pens have lost when leading after two periods at home since Nov. 11, 2010 against Boston."

 

 


Isles Notes:


Per Larry Brooks, "Rick DiPietro, subject of tomorrow's Slapshots, has signed PTO with Carolina AHL affiliate Charlotte, Post has learned."



Per Kevin Schultz, "Brett Yormark says there isn't much to change at Barclays in preparation for the Isles."

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brock Scores 1st, Isles Lose In O.T.



Tonight, your New York Islanders will face John Tortorella's Vancouver Canucks.  It will be the 300th game for Isles Captain, John Tavares and the final game of the Isles 4 game home stand before going back on the road at Pittsburgh of Friday, then back home to face Philadelphia and NYR, on Saturday and Tuesday @7pm.



Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Okposo, Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey, Nelson-Regin-Clutterbuck, Martin-Cizikas-McDonald

D-Pairings:  Hamonic-MacDonald, Donovan-Strait, Carkner-Hickey.

Evgeni Nabokov gets the start, Kevin Poulin is on the bench



Isles F, Brock Nelson and D, Matt Donovan will return to the Islanders line up tonight with the absence of Grabner (suspension) and Visnovsky (concussion).



In the first, the Isles come out hard, hitting and finishing their checks.  A much better start than recent games.  Recent call up and roster insert, Brock Nelson (Clutterbuck & Regin) picks up the rebound and gets his first NHL goal, 1-0 for N.Y.  Isles get a PP opportunity and Matt Moulson (Nielsen & Tavares) puts it behind a sprawling Luongo, 2-0 Isles.  Vancouver's Kesler gets one right back, 2-1 Isles.  Vancouver has definitely got their heads back into the game with a better effort.  Canucks Daniel Sedin evens the game at 2-2 mid way through the first.  Isles surrendering more at center ice than at the start of the game.  Team has lost some of their snarl.  Nabokov showing some rust, perhaps as a result of the accidental bump from Carkner last game?  Matt Donovan and Thomas Hickey looking good offensively for the Isles, making some things happen.  Isles out shooting Vancouver 12-9 in the period.
 
 
 
 


The second period sees both teams kill off power play chances.  Matt Moulson comes in from the right side, freezes Luongo and rips it behind him, glove side for a 3-2 Isles lead.  Arthur Staple adds Moulson is 4-3-7 in last three games.  A scramble in front of the Isles net results in the puck being forced over the goal line.  The Officials are deliberating.  No goal.  Nabokov still looks very shaky tonight.  Nelson comes close again from Donovan, playing a solid game for the Isles.  Game is getting a little more physical late in the period, but neutral zone is still unguarded.  Donovan with nice look to Regin, puck clanks off the post.  Off Vancouver rush, the puck comes off Nabokov from Daniel Sedin rebound, Henrik Sedin is there for the open net with D out of position, tied at 3-3.  Despite out playing Vancouver for much of the period, Higgins gives Vancouver a 4-3 lead in the game with :17 remaining.  Terrible rebound by Nabokov, has looked off all game and I keep thinking back to that bump from Carkner vs. Carolina.  Vancouver out shoots the Isles 12-11 in the period with the Isles holding the game advantage 23-21.




Evgeni Nabokov remains in net to start the third period.  The Islanders looks a little disorganized in the period.  Canucks go into Tortorella's shut down mode and although the Isles are moving the puck, they seem lack the energy or urgency that you would expect a team down by a goal to have.  With 1:12 left & the Isles net empty, MacDonald slapper goes to Frans Nielsen who ties the game at 4-4.  Islanders gain a valuable point.  Isles outshoot 9-8 in the period, 32-30 in the game.



In the O.T. period, Richardson puts its through Nabokov's pads from the side of the net, Vancouver wins it 5-4.



It's a good point in the standings to pick up, but another disappointing, far to difficult to climb back into, non-win. 


Per Arthur Staple, "Capuano: 'I'm not going to talk about the goaltending' Last time he said that, he was referring to DiPietro last season."

 



 

 
 
Per Islanders BoosterClub, "@MattyMarts17 will be at the Isles Booster Club meeting tomorrow at the Marriott across from Coliseum."
 

 

Isles Notes:


Per Brian Compton," Capuano said Kevin Poulin is going to get a chance soon and if he plays well, he will play more."
 

Islanders Forward Michael Grabner was suspended two games for a hit to the head vs. Nathan Gerbe of the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.  The play wasn't called a penalty in game action, but was reviewed by Brenden Shanahan of the NHL Safety Committee.


Free agent D, Radek Martinek was on the ice with the Isles in practice today.


Per Eric Hornick, "Ryan Strome w his 1st 3-pt game as a pro, helping erase both 3-0 and 5-3 deficits but BST fall 6-5 in OT to Bingo."


Former Islanders Marty Biron & Roman Hamrlik have announced their retirement.


Per Chris Botta, "From SBD: Barclays Center's first year operating income well below original projections."

 


Sound Tigers Notes:



Kirill Kabanov scored a Gordie How hat trick (Goal, assist and a fight) in a 5-0 win for the ECHL Isles affiliate, Stockton Thunder on Sunday.

 
Per Eric Hornick, " Kirill Kabanov and Mike Dalhuisen each with a goal and assist in 5-0 Stockton win to open."


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sloppy Play Hurts Isles Again


Your New York Islanders met the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at the NVMC in the infamous black alternate jerseys as 13,008 fans looked on.  The Isles could put themselves into second place over Carolina with a win.  Instead, they would fall to 3-3-2 in a 4-3 loss vs. the Hurricanes.  The score might indicate a close, well played game.  Not so much.  Although it is another 1 goal game, 5th in a row, its another loss and spotted lead through sloppy play.


Forwards:  Grabner-Tavares-Okposo; Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey; Moulson-Regin-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.

D pairings:  Hamonic-MacDonald, Visnovsky-Hickey, Carkner-Strait.

Nabokov in net, Poulin backing up.

Per Christian Arnold, "Capuano said Donovan sitting isn't indication he's played bad."

 

Instead, the Isles did some good things to start the game, struggled to score and left the first period in a scoreless tie.  What they did lose in the first period was Lubomir Visnovsky to a possible concussion off  a Dvorak hit against the glass.  The coaching staff said he will be re-evaluated tomorrow.  Shots were even at 7-7.

 

At 9:08 of a terribly played second period for the Islanders, Carkner slides into a prone Nabokov and puts him down for several minutes.  Though Nabokov would not leave the game, the Isles were in need of anything good to happen down 3-0.  Matt Moulson (MacDonald) would get the Isles on the board, making it 3-1 Canes.  SoG were 12-7 canes for the period, 19-14 for the game.

 

The third period is usually when the sleeping Isles awake and struggle to get back into the game.  Tonight would be no different.  They did come on strong and play a strong, inspired period.  The Isles would score twice after Carolina made it 4-1 halfway through the period.  Frans Nielsen (Okposo & Moulson) would score a few minutes later and then Kyle Okposo (Bouchard & Moulson) would pull the Isles within 1 at 4-3, Canes.  But time would expire and the game would end a 4-3 Carolina win. Shots on goal were 11-4 Isles for the period and 25-23 for the game.
 
 
 
Per Newsday, "We didn't have much urgency at all," said Andrew MacDonald, who logged 30:25 of ice time with Visnovsky out. "We know how we have to play and it seemed like we were standing still a lot of the time."
 
 

Per Andy Graziano, " Concerning me a little (not a lot) is Nabokov not being available to media tonight. He's always available."  It may be that we find out Nabby's collision caused more damage than first expected.  How serious?  Does that mean a start for Kevin Poulin on Tuesday vs. Vancouver @7pm?  If so, what do the Isles do for a back up.  Call up a goalie or eventually sign one?

 

And on defense, Matt Donovan may finally make the line up for a few games with Lubo injured.  And then again, it may be Martinek or deHaan.  The roster move may seem predictable, but it you would have to think if a young player is part of the future, he would get the nod to start contributing to the team dynamic.  Or would he?

 

 

 
Sound Tigers Notes:

 

Bridgeport Sound Tigers recalled (F) Nick Larson from the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL .



Per Arthur Staple, "Brock Nelson leaving Coliseum with his gear, headed to Bridgeport. Will play tomorrow, then Isles will decide on a possible recall." 

 
He is officially being sent to BST "on loan," not assigned.  He is better off with the minutes in a key role at BST than healthy scratches on the Island.




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Isles Dig Deep, Endure & Win



Tonight, your New York Islanders will face the young & talented 1-5-1 Edmonton Oilers.  Edmonton comes in with the worst GAA at 4.57/game or 32 goals.  The Isles are 12th at 2.50/game.  Edmonton Goaltender, Devan Dubnyk is 0-3-1 with a 5.43GAA and a .829Sv%.  After letting the Sabers hang around on Tuesday, it is important to score early, play physical and keep the talented Edmonton forwards out of the game.  Evgeni Nabokov (2-1-2, 2.29GAA & .924Sv%) told Stan Fischler that the Isles need to keep their goals against under 3 to increase their chances to win. We all know what needs to be done, now lets see if they do it.


Consistency is the key to a winning culture.




Forward lines at practice: Grabner-Tavares-Okposo; Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey; Moulson-Regin-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.


D-Pairings:  Hamonic-MacDonald, Visnovsky-Hickey, Donovan-Strait.


Per Arthur Staple, "Nabokov in goal, McDonald back in, Donovan in. Nelson, Boulton, Carkner out for Isles."  Kevin Poulin will be Back up.

 


Per Daniel Friedman, Matt Donovan, on sitting out the past few games: "I was learning for myself what I have to do to get back into the lineup and play well.  It pushes you that much harder. I'm here now and don't want to get sent down. It makes you want to work that much harder.
 

Donovan, on what he has to do to stay with the team: "Play solid defense. They know I can put up numbers, but they want me to play solid D.  I have to be able to shut down some of the top guys in the world. In the NHL, you're playing against the best in the world."
 





The first period starts slow and sloppy, with the Isles bringing a strong, physical game.  Nabokov answers a fast break opportunity against Taylor Hall, big save. Isles getting shots against on Dubnyk, who leaves a lot of rebounds. Ryan Smyth feeling the love from the NVMC crowd.  Isles forcing turnovers, but haven't done anything with them yet.  Josh Bailey (Hamonic & Bouchard) puts it in off the top left side of the crease, 1-0 Isles.  From domination to stunned, the Isles get caught running around in their own end, Nabokov out of position, and Edmonton's Hall evens the score at 1-1.  8 seconds later, Hall gets a rebound and makes it 2-1 Oilers.  Hamonic, MacDonald and Okposo were passengers on those goals.  These fragile meltdowns need to go back to the team coaching. Its that simple. This team is still unstable and inconsistent. 


Isles Outshoot Oilers 16-7, down 2-1 and allow 2 goals in 8 seconds.  Wow.  They really look desperate and disorganized the minute they get challanged.


In the second, the Isles cash in on an early power play.  Visnovsky keeps puck in play, and hard working Kyle Okposo ties it at 2-2 (Tavares & Moulson).  Josh Bailey looking good tonight with some serious stick skills, moving the puck.  Shots are 23-8 Isles.  NY working hard, but give Oilers chances on the PP.  Isles have a good showing by special teams on the 3 PK's, minimizing Edmonton's shots.  John Tavares (Okposo & Grabner) makes it 3-2 Isles by not being denied the puck with just 1:07 remaining of the period.  Okposo is such an emotional leader out there for NY. 


Shots finish at 14-9 Oilers for the period and 25-21 Isles for the game thus far.  Daniel Friedman and I agree, " Once again, look what happens when Tavares and Moulson are on the ice together. Both got assists on that goal."
 

Isles to start the third period with 1:56 of PP time, but struggle to generate any pressure.  Dubnyk looking more comfortable & doing better with his rebound control.  Matt Donovan is making the most of another opportunity.  He has a great shot and is really gaining experience with his blue line play.  Thomas Hickey has really stood out tonight as well.  Outside of 8 seconds in the first, I have been pretty happy with the full defensive core tonight.  Isles to finish game on the PP thanks to the relentless effort of Kyle Okposo.  Oilers net is empty.  Casey Cizikas comes up big defensively in the last :30 of a nervous game.  Isles win 3-2.
 
 
Their 3 game losing streak is over.  Oh, and the team listened to Nabby and let up less than 3 goals.


Isles outshoot Oilers 15-8, 40-29 for the game.  They hit 40+ shot mark for second straight game. 


They started sloppy, played hard, won the battles and fore checked well, and aside from that freakish 8-second Hall-zone, the controlled a majority of the game.  Evgeni Nabokov was huge for the Isles and several players got the job done.  It was truly a great team effort.  3-2-2. 
 
 
 
NEXT!


 


 

Isles Notes:



Per Daniel Friedman, "Radek Martinek on the ice again this morning."


"Based on Capuano's remarks this afternoon, reasonable to suggest that Isles are considering sending Nelson and Donovan to Bridgeport."


Per Chris Triantafilis, "I don't think it's a big deal sitting Nelson. Isles trying to see what their vets can do....remember - depth. Isles did same with Zeeker."


Isles Nation followed Arthur Staples live chat today. 

"Based on Staple's live chat, it appears Isles will likely extend MacDonald and let Moulson walk."

"He also threw in the possibility of Grabner convincing his Austrian buddy, Thomas Vanek, to become an Islander. Interesting."

 
Take advantage now of Isles exclusive deal to our loyal social media followers! Go here and use the promo code “ISLES.”



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Buffalo'ed At Home


Tonight, Your New York Islanders welcome the winless Buffalo Sabers to the NVMC.  Buffalo has a lot of weapons New York wants to keep unloaded.  The Isles need to grab a lead and play hard, keeping Buffalo playing from behind and playing their own game.  With Eric Boulton (1st game of the season) in, the coaching staff is betting on a 4-5 minute player to make the difference by playing an enforcer role while a young skilled player like Brock Nelson is scratched along with Matt Donovan.  Nelson is part of the Isles offensive future while Donovan is an offensive minded defensemen. Both need the minutes to improve as an experienced NHL player.  The only way that happens is if they play.  These are the type of moves that I don't understand and why I have questioned so many of Coach Capuano's decisions.  This 4 game home stand is big as everyone knows and they should get 6 out of an 8 possible points with a good offensive output.


Arthur Staple has noted that Colin McDonald is day to day with a hip injury, thus explaining him being scratched.  Tonight is the home season debuts for Cal Clutterbuck & Matt Carkner.


Forwards:  Grabner-Tavares-Okposo; Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey; Moulson-Regin-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-Boulton.


D-Pairings:  Hamonic-MacDonald, Visnovsky-Hickey, Carkner-Strait.

Evgeni Nabokov will get the start with Kevin Poulin backing up.


In the first period, the Isles made some noise with a nice fore check, but follow that up with several miscues and mistakes that lead to man down situations.  Michael Grabner has a few nice fast break chances on the PK while Nabokov looks comfortable early in the period.  Their hard work pays off.  Josh Bailey and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (1st with the Islanders) pick up the assists on Nielsen's third of the season at 13:11 of the 1st period ripping one past Miller's glove, 1-0 Isles.  Isles come close again as PMB hits the crossbar.  Clutterbuck takes a stick to the face, no call made as usual.  Nabokov has been big in the period, even starting rushes up ice with solid passes.  I have to admit, the first line has been fast and furious this period and Casey Cizikas is fired up.  Isles out shoot Sabers 16-12 in the period, matching Nashville game's shot total.


In the second period, Isles continue to work, but Buffalo exploits a delayed whistle as the puck trickles behind Nabokov and slammed into the net, score tied at 1-1.  This is the kind of break seems to always seems to elude the Islanders.  The Islanders push the puck deep, Boulton to Cizikas, who plays the puck away from the boards as Matt Martin (1st of the season) waits at the top of the crease and slams it home, Isles lead 2-1. Vanek alone atop the crease easily ties it minutes after the Isles score, tied at 2-2.  The Isles are keeping Buffalo in the game, as I feared earlier today.  The Isles have made some things happen offensively thus far, but the fore-check has gone away and needs to return.  Any Saber players that crowd the net must pay the price.  Capuano calls a timeout to regroup and settle down his squad.  John Tavares gets physical with Foligno.  The new second line with PMB looking pretty good in the game thus far, doing all the little things.  Play getting chippy late in the second period with both teams moving the puck well.  Miller has gotten better for Buffalo in the period.  Shots are 16-13 in the period and 32-24 in the game, Isles with the advantage.


The bitterness continued in the third period between both teams.  Their were exchanges back and forth and penalties called, but it was the Islanders who reversed the heat and got under Buffalo's skin.  Foligno, Ott & Tallinder were victimized and the Islanders made it 3-2 on the PP when (Visnovsky) Tavares got a deflection from Matt Moulson and went by Miller for the lead.  The very thought of Martin AND Clutterbuck instigating is a nightmare for the opposition.  The Isles need to keep up the physical play and fore-checking while putting pressure into the offensive zone.  Safe is dead. And with 2:01 remaining, our pal Foligno evens the score at 3-3 on partial screen.  Sloppy clear and own-goalie screen by Strait.  Shots were 10-8 Isles in the period and 42-32 in regulation.


The game is going to O.T.  Both teams with two shots on goal in the extra period.


Shoot Out:


Matt Moulson scores!


Buffalo scores.


Frans Niesen stopped.


Buffalo scores.


John Tavares stopped.


Buffalo Sabers win 4-3.



The Islanders let a winless team stay in the game and were unable to finish them off.  They blew 3, 1 goal leads and kept Buffalo in the game so they were close enough to tie it as time expired.  With all the talent they have, the team cant seem to finish developing and consistently win the games they should win.  It always seems like a desperate struggle to play to the level of their opponent instead of sticking to their own game and dictating play.  Miller was good tonight, but costly mistakes by Isles personnel in front of the net need to stop as well.  The team is not going to create a winning culture when you outplay an opponent but fail to eliminate them.  When you do this, you enable them to stick around long enough until they can beat you.

They did some things right.  The top 3 lines seemed to work well despite me bitching about the changes.  Their shots on goal were much better tonight and they way the team got past the regulation and fought hard in O.T. was a great effort.  They hang on to a valuable point in the standings.  It is still early in the season and they should correct their mistakes and turn things around with the players they have. 

Lets hope it happens soon.  Edmonton is next & worse off than Buffalo. 

These loses are tough to take.






Sound Tigers Notes:

Per Michael Fornabaio, "AHL transactions say BST send D Mike Dalhuisen and D Mike Keenan to Stockton (ECHL). Hadn't played yet; gets BPT down to 7 defensemen."