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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Isles Fall To Jets

Tonight, Casey Cizikas and your New York Islanders will face the Winnipeg Jets at the NVMC.  Cizikas is riding a 5 game point scoring streak (3g/2a).  This is a good a game as any for the Isles to snap back into the playoff chase.  To do that, they would need a win tonight against Al Montoya and the Jets to start the climb away from 8th in the Metropolitan division.

Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Grabner-Nielsen-Bailey; Bouchard-Regin-Clutterbuck;

D-Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic; Hickey-Donovan; Ness-Carkner.

Kevin Poulin will be in net.  Anders Nilsson, on the bench.

What was mostly a boring, back & forth game, the Isles seemed to be going through the motions, especially in a scoreless first period.  Late in the second period, the Isles got a PPG from Andrew MacDonald (Vanek & Tavares) and John Tavares (Carkner & Nelson) late in the third, the score would remain 3-2, Winnipeg in the final minutes.  The Isles late surge of urgency came too little, too late.  Winnipeg would win 3-2 despite being out shot 30-29 in the game.  The Islanders were guilty of 19 give aways and were terrible with their fore and back checking.  Former Islander net-minder, Al Montoya got the win for the Jets.

Kevin Poulin was 26/29 with an .897Sv% making some big saves to keep the Isles in the game.  Although he could definitely improve, this was not on the goaltending or even the special teams that went 2/2 on the PK.  The urgency was not there again until the team was in a hole.  Secondary scoring is MIA.  Grabner, Bailey & Bouchard simply need to contribute or be moved if possible.  Casey Cizikas was unable to continue his scoring streak, but his effort was there, making things happen on the ice when he is out there.

Per Eric Hornick, "What was missing tonight? "About 12 minutes in the second period" -- Travis Hamonic.

Ultimately, the team lacked focus and then pushed themselves as time was running out, but fell short again.  John Tavares seemed disgusted to be addressing the same questions again after the loss, but he should be.  Someone needs to take control of that team.  The isles fall to 8-14-3.



Isles Notes:


Per Matt Saidman, "Isles Capuano said Brian Strait and Lubomir Visnovsky are "not close at all " to returning.

Islanders unveil Stadium Series Uniforms today.

Per Katie Strang, "According to AHL's Charlotte Checkers site, Rick DiPietro has been released from PTO. Apparently his decision not club's."

“I don’t think I could go to sleep at night not knowing that I gave it one last try ” Dipietro to Globe and Mail.

Per Brian Compton, "DiPietro's final stats: 5 games, 0-4-0, 5.18 GAA, .846 save percentage. Released today from PTO by Charlotte."


Per NHLFREEAGENTS, "Rockford IceHogs signed (D) Brett Skinner to PTO & released (D) BlakeKessel from PTO ."

Do you reconsider Peter Laviolette as a coaching candidate?


NHL Notes:


Per Chris Botta, "$5.3 billion for 12 years from Rogers is a monumental victory for Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, John Collins and NHL owners and players."


"At NHL Network, count on major changes and, I'm told, future content upgrades as a result of today's broadcast deal with Rogers."


Per @reporterchris, "BREAKING: The number of former NHL players involved in class-action concussion suit has grown to 200."


Saturday, November 23, 2013

"We're Right There ..."

Your New York Islanders sit in 8th place of the Metropolitan division with 19pts.  A win against the Flyers tonight would move them over Philadelphia and they could bump Carolina down and assume 5th position.  Although they have faltered, The Isles managed to stay close by getting points in games that got away from them, but time is running out.  Teams like the Flyers & Rangers have improved where they have declined.  They need to play better and they need to do it now.


Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Bailey-Nielsen-McDonald; Grabner-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-Boulton.

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

Kevin Poulin gets the start with Anders Nilsson backing up.


"Good luck comes from hard work and opportunity."

The Islanders reach their 7th loss in a row and are only 2-8-0 in last 10 games.  Despite a nice effort to get the game back to within one goal after John Tavares (Vanek & Donovan) and Eric Boulton (Cizikas) made the score 3-2 after the first few minutes of the third period had a chance to cap off a nice comeback.  But the Flyers, who have made improvements from the start of their season, continued to man handle the Islanders and ended the game 5-2 with an open net goal.  Isles had the edge in sog 38-30.


Kevin Poulin started well, keeping the Isles in the game during the first period was left alone again and finished 13/16 with a .812 Sv%.  He allowed 3 goals in 3:02.  Anders Nilsson relieved Poulin and went 12/13 with a .923 Sv%.


The Flyers won all the physical battles, beat the Isles to the loose pucks and dictated the pace of play for most of the game.  The Isles were poor on special teams and missed some key opportunities in both zones.  The Isles opponent has been able to crowd the Isles net regularly during the losing streak.  The Offense & Defense have not been consistent enough to garner any kind of success either.  Other than John Tavares and the 3rd and 4th lines, very little is generated by the offense.  Any offense is hard to come by if your players are being run over by the opposition with no price to pay.  Even JT was abused a lot tonight with no repercussions by Isles enforcers.


You should always try to play smarter than harder and if you follow the system, play a physical game and dictate play, success will come.  The Isles have looked good for "parts" of games, but they need to play hard for 3 periods and resist an offensive flourish from an opponent.  Coach Capuano says, "We're right there," when asked how close the Isles are.  That leadership needs to come from the coach and the captain. 

So where is it?

The Islanders fall to 8-13-3 and remain in last place.  Next week, The Isles will have 3 home games vs. Winnipeg on Wednesday @ 7 p.m., Detroit on Friday @ 4 p.m. and Washington on Saturday @ 7 p.m.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Crosby & Pens Best Isles

Your New York Islanders will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh tonight.  They will try to make it two straight against the Pens with Thomas Vanek in the line up.

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

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

Kevin Poulin starting in goal, Anders Nilsson on the bench.

After going down 2-0, the Isles Thomas Vanek (Okposo & Martinek) scored in his first game back off injury to bring the Isles within one, 2-1.  Pittsburgh would score a third goal to make it a 3-1 lead, but the Isles would fight behind the strong play of Kevin Poulin making some key saves to challenge the Pens once more.  Colin McDonald (Cizikas) and Thomas Vanek's (Okposo & Tavares) second of the game to tie the score at 3-3.  For much of the game, the Isles were strong 5 on 5, but were severely let down once again by their special teams which is so bad, that it could now be blamed for losing games.  Sidney Crosby Makes the Isles pay with just 1:16 remaining in the game when he is left unattended in front of the net to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 win and hands the Isles their 6th straight road loss.  Isles outshot Pens 35-34 for the game.

Kevin Poulin was 30/34 with a .882Sv%, but was left alone on several occasions and played pretty well, but not good enough.  The Martin-Cizikas-McDonald line was as awesome tonight as they have been in recent games, making things happen and opening up the game for New York.  Matt Donovan continues to show me good things out there.  The Isles played to the level of their opponent again tonight, but mental mistakes cost the Isles a huge two points tonight and holds them in last place at 8-12-3 with 19 pts. until their game against the Flyers tomorrow night.

Andrew MacDonald & Frans Nielsen will be evaluated tomorrow on the extent of their injuries.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Maple Leafs Power Past Isles

Tonight, your New York Islanders met the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game that would usher in the unofficial Kevin Poulin era.  Which Islander team will show up in front of him?

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

D-Pairings:  Ness-Carkner, MacDonald-Hamonic, Donovan-Hickey,

Kevin Poulin in goal with Anders Nilsson on the bench.


The Leafs scored on the first rush of the game just :22 into the period to take a 1-0 lead.  Although the Isles would have flourishes of good play through out the game, it was a poor effort for what is becoming a desperate team.  In the second period, Casey Cizikas broke out a scored a big one on one goal to bring the game to a 2-1 score.  The Isles were engaged and found their second wind, but it would be snuffed out soon enough after falling further behind until Frans Nielsen (Bailey) scored for the Isles at the 15:14 minute mark of the third period.  Toronto would finish with a 5-2 win despite being outshot 37-24.  Kevin Poulin would finish 19/24 with a .792Sv%.  He wasn't the issue tonight.  The Isles fall to 8-11-3.  Their dressing room remained closed to the media directly after the game.


Tonight the Islanders were abysmal on defense.  They lacked any consistent pressure on physical play or on the fore or back check.  Special teams is unstable and scoring depth seems to flicker into and out of play.  They are dealing with some key injuries that have directly affected their ability to play their game.  Losing Visnovsky, Vanek, Strait and now Nabokov is big.  Players like Aaron Ness,  Matt Donovan & Brock Nelson are young players who have a lot to grow into with the needs of the Islanders, but they have done pretty well with the situation they are in.  Plugging in Radek Martinek is a stop-gap solution who can act as an experienced defensemen when called upon, but he has big limitations.  All these factors are the reality.  The Isles need another top defensive player.  They could use an experienced goaltender as well.  We will see what Garth Snow is forced to do if the Isles are pushed into more lopsided loses.  Picks are thinned from the Moulson trade, but they do have several levels of prospects they can use to trade.  Which picks the team is willing to part with to get the player/s they want is another story.

I am guilty of saying that this team is inconsistent and that they are mismanaged by their head coach.  I still believe it to be true.  Success can build out from a stable base, but until the team can execute their game plan and regroup consistently, it will not be able to sustain a winning culture.  From his time in Bridgeport, I mentioned the value of Casey Cizikas to the New York Islanders Organization.  I think he will be a major part of the rebuild and is a major component of what works for the team.  They will arrive, its just going to take more time and frankly, more adjustments in my opinion.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Isles Net Worth

With the injury to Evgeni Nabokov early in the game vs the Detroit Redwings, Kevin Poulin assumed the position of Islanders starting goaltender.  Per Arthur Staple, "Anders Nilsson will join Isles tomorrow.  No plans to look outside org yet, though Nabokov injury seems to be 4+ weeks."  Barring a huge trade, which Isles fans know is far less than likely, the Isles organization would likely look to Poulin for the coming weeks to state his case as a franchise goaltender.  Poulin is 10-14-1 with a 2.75gaa. and a .908Sv% to this point with the Islanders as an NHL goaltender.  He is a highly respected prospect and Patrick Roy once called him the best goaltender in juniors hockey.  Per Eric Hornick, Coach Capuano: "This is obviously a time for Kevin... and he deserves the opportunity."


With Poulin taking over the position as starting goaltender from Nabokov, the Islanders would need to add another goaltender to the roster for at least the upcoming weeks.  Anders Nilsson was called up today from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Nilsson, missed most of last season with health concerns that turned out to be an unknown reaction to a gluten diet.  It set him back in his development and the organization tagged him to be the started for Bridgeport to get him closer to where he needed to be as their top goaltending prospect.  "[The @NHL] is where you want to be. It's unfortunate that Nabby got hurt, but I'm excited for the opportunity," - Anders Nilsson.


Nilsson's brief time in the 11-12 NHL season put him at 1-2-0 with a 2.75 gaa. and a .910 Sv% as an Islander.  So far this season in the AHL, Nilsson is 3-6-1, 3.57 gaa. and a .880 Sv% with the Sound Tigers.  Hardly, where an AHL goaltender needs to be to play regularly in the NHL.  But as a back up, I guess Nilsson can be further indoctrinated into the Islanders system and practice with the team regularly to build familiarity.  He can and will get some playing time on the NHL level and have a chance to be evaluated by the Islanders brass and help his team.  Perhaps, if things go well, even make the kind of impression he hopes for and have a break out season with the Islanders.


The other outcome, which is more likely doesn't look to be as favorable for Nilsson or the Islanders in my opinion.  What will most likely happen is that Nilsson will ride the bench as Poulin gets his shot as the Isles starter. It will set his development back even more from last season.  To me, its double dipping into Isles future & to use Nilsson to come up at this time just to sit is wrong. He missed most of last season with his dietary issue and to me, its too early to get meaningful evaluation of Nilsson in NHL.  He needs time to command the starting job in Bridgeport and become a defensive leader for his team.  He needs to learn the ins and outs of the pro-game from the AHL before he can be expected to do so as an NHL goaltender.


The competition will always be there between the two goaltenders. There is no reason I can see for Garth Snow not to make a Montoya type acquisition (late draft pick) or a Johan Hedberg type (or Michael Neuvirth) signing to create a stable and efficient solution to what could be more than a 4 week period to maintain organizational assets and give the team the best chance to win.  I have supported both Poulin and Nilsson throughout their tenure with the team thus far.  I think they are both very good prospects and will be good NHL goalies.  In the meantime, I will support whoever is on the ice for the Islanders, hope for the best  and cheer them on all the same.

Anders Nilsson, left, ((Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images); Kevin Poulin (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


Isles Notes:

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


The @NYIslanders trio of @91Tavares (9-16—25), Frans Nielsen (9-12—21), and @bookerT2116 (6-14—20) have combined for 66 points.


@91Tavares scored 1-1--2 to extend his point streak to 5 games (2-6--8) and move into a tie with Sidney Crosby for second in League.


Per Christian Arnold, "The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have recalled Parker Milner from the ECHL."


Per Daniel Friedman, "Sound Tiger Watch: Ryan Strome -- 16 pts (4G, 12A) in 14 gms. Anders Lee -- 11 pts (4G, 7A) in 14 gms. Andrey Pedan -- 5 pts, +1 in 9 gms."

Isles to participate in 'NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other' to offer behind-the-scenes look at League's stars .  7-part series debuts on NBCSN on Jan. 22 and CBC on Jan. 23.

The Islanders will face Toronto @ 7pm on Tuesday, 11/19, Pittsburgh @ 7 pm on Friday, 11/22 and Philadelphia @ 7pm on Saturday 11/23 on a three game road trip.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Islanders Lose Nabokov, Defeat Redwings Behind Poulin

Your New York Islanders will face the mighty Detroit Redwings at home tonight.  For whatever reason, the Isles usually play them pretty well and I hope tonight is no different.  Jonas Gustavson, not Jimmy Howard will be in net for Detroit.  Eric Hornick said the Isles will be wearing thier third jersey's for 2nd time this year (0-1-0). They went 3-2-0 last season in their blacks. 

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

D-Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic; Donovan-Hickey; Ness-Carkner.

Starting in goal: Evgeni Nabokov with Kevin Poulin on the bench.

In the first period, John Tavares (Bailey) opened the scoring for the Isles and gave them an early lead in the game.  Helm & Datsyuk (1st career goal vs. NYI) would later score to give the Wings a 2-1 lead. Evgeni Nabokov was hurt with Helms first shot on goal and would leave the game for what would later be called a lower body injury or groin strain.  If it turns out to be a lengthy injury, Garth Snow may have to trade for a goaltender to act as Poulin's back up.  Isles out shot Wings 9-7 in the period.

In the second, the Isles came back with a strong effort on both sides of the ice.  Casey Cizikas (McDonald & Martin) would score early in the period to tie the game at 2-2.  Franzen would score just :33 later to regain the lead for Detroit.  Shortly after that, Brock Nelson would score a PPG (Tavares & MacDonald) to tie the game at 3-3.  The Islanders looked better on faceoffs and special teams and brought a complete energy not seen enough at home for quite some time.  Shots were even at 11 with the Isles holding a 20-18 sog advantage in the game so far.

In the third period, Pierre Marc-Bouchard (Ness & Regin) gave the Isles a lead at 4-3 that would last for most of the period.  Datsyuk would score his second career goal vs the Isles and tie the game at 4-4 in he 19:17 mark of the third.  Time would expire and the game would get to over time with the Isles getting at least 1 point for their efforts.  The Islanders out shot the Redwings 15-4 in the period.  Detroit was credited with blocking 19 shots as well.

In overtime, the Isles would out shoot Detroit 6-1 with some great pressure, but come up empty.  That would give New York a 41-23 shot differential throughout regulation and overtime play.


In the Shootout:

Frans Nielsen scores on the backhand!

Zetterberg is stopped by Poulin.

Pierre Marc-Bouchard is denied by Gustavson's glove.

Datsyuk is stopped 5-hole.

John Tavares is blockered aside.

Bertuzzi misses high.


The Islanders win, 5-4!


Tonight, the Islanders came out and clearly did some things better.  Their were out done in the face-off circle 27-25, but it was a much improved effort and it showed in the game. Defensively, it was a much better effort and the Isles fore and back checking was there as well.  They finished hits and fought off a quality team that would not quit.  Casey Cizikas, Brock Nelson and Kevin Poulin (19/22 .864Sv%) looked really good for the Isles tonight.  Also credit Aaron Ness for another well played game to help the Isles on defense.

Cizikas continues to wok non-stop with his line mates (Clutterbuck & Martin) and generate chances by frustrating the opposition.  In addition, he has a good nose for the net and was a scoring threat as well. Nelson was everywhere and shoed good hockey sense when he got into position to score a big goal for the Isles.  Poulin made headlines after the last loss to the Kings when he insinuated that the team faltered in front of him late in the game and that he might not be to blame for the loss.  But tonight, Poulin came on off the bench not expecting to even play. He didn't miss a beat as the Wings and Isles traded opportunities (and goals) throughout regulation and the overtime period.  His play in the shootout can be described as smooth & composed.

I am interested in hearing how long Nabokov is expected to be out and if that means the Isles will add a goaltender.  Michael Fornabaio reports "Nilsson (and Pellerin both) said he didn't know yet if he (Nilsson) was going up (to the Islanders)."  Anders Nilsson is 3-6-1, 3.57gaa & a .880Sv% in 11GP so far this season with the BST.  Nilsson lost playing opportunities most of last season to a mystery illness that turned out to be a dietary issue with gluten intake.

Per Daniel Friedman, Capuano, on Nabokov's status: "I'd suspect it'll be a little while."  It may give Poulin the starting job with very little safety net and really force him to show if he's got the minerals to be the starter. (Snatch reference)



Sound Tigers Notes:

Bridgeport Sound Tigers signed (D) Mike Cornell to PTO & recalled (D) Sean Escobedo from the Stockton Thunder.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cappy: "We were pretty good in the third."

Your New York Islanders face the LA Kings without Jonathan Quick, who has a groin strain.  Kevin Poulin gets his third consecutive start and in in position to solidify his position as the teams #1 goaltender if he continues to play as well as he has been playing.

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

D-Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic; Hickey-Donovan; Ness-Carkner.

Making his third consecutive start in goal is Kevin Poulin with Nabokov on the bench.


In a back and forth first period, Kevin Poulin made 10 saves and kept the game scoreless for the Isles.  It wasn't until the second period that a hard working Casey Cizikas (Martin & Clutterbuck) and Aaron Ness (Tavares) scored for New York.  It was Ness' first NHL goal and first NHL point.  The period was a microcosm of everything the Islanders could do right and they played a solid period in front of a confident goaltender who helped them take a 2-0 lead into the second intermission. Domination.  Isles had 15 sog while the Kings had 5.

The third period would be different.  The Isles have been outscored in the third periods 20-11 and this one would be no different.  After scoring in the first five minutes, the Kings took advantage of a PP chance and evened the score at the 12:15 mark.  The go ahead goal came in the final three minutes and that's where the scoring would end.  The Isles put a desperate flurry in the closing minute, but the game would end in a 3-2 Kings win.  Despite the tying and winning goal being deflected, the Isles still fumbled the lead and lost the game.  Isles were out shot 9-3 in the period, but had the edge 25-24 in the game.

Kevin Poulin was good tonight.  While he went 21-24 with an .875Sv%, he really kept the Isles in this one throughout the game.  He deserves the start again next game.  For whatever reason, the team finds a way to unravel, especially in the 3rd period.  Cheers to Aaron Ness on his first goal.  A great way to reward his strong efforts thus far in relief on the Isles blue line.

Colin McDonald put a check on Trevor Lewis in the third period that is sure to be investigated by the league as a hit to the head.  I felt Coach Capuano had a few opportunities to call a time out as the Kings were crawling back into the game, but choose not to do so.  Capuano:  "We were pretty good in the third."  I am speechless

Should the Coach be held accountable?  I don't think the Dynasty Islanders would have done what they did without Al Arbour, despite all the great players on the roster. 
How about you?


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Poulin Solid & Isles Rebound

Your New York Islanders faced a Nashville Predators team in the middle of a long road trip, 2 game losing streak and starting Mazanec, a rookie goaltender.  The Islanders, winless in 4 needed to get a win tonight before facing the Kings & Detroit.  More importantly, Kevin Poulin was starting again after playing well in Montreal.  The Isles need to get something going defensively and on special teams to turn things around.  I am convinced the scoring will come with the talent they have.

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

D-Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic; Hickey-Donovan; Ness-Carkner.

Kevin Poulin in net, Evgeni Nabokov on the bench.

By the time it was over, each team had 33 shots on net, but it was the Islanders that beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 in the NVMC tonight.  The Predators had a total of 24 blocked shots, but the Isles played a fast, puck moving game and did it with a physical  edge.  New York got tallies from John Tavares (Nielsen) PPG, Pierre Marc-Bouchard (Nielsen) and Kyle Okposo (Tavares & Nelson).  The Isles held that 3-0 shut-out from the 7 minute mark of the second until the final 5 minutes of the third before the Preds were able to score a goal.  The Isles played a close to perfect offensive and defensive based game with fore and back checking, especially in their own zone with a snarl.  Aside from an injury scare with JT, everything went well for New York.  Per Arthur Staple, "Tavares said he banged his hip falling into boards. Get treatment tomorrow, see how it feels. "I expect to be fine."

How good was Frans Nielsen tonight.  He is having a dream season, ranked 8th in the NHL for scoring (Tavares is 4th, Okposo, 10th).  Brock Nelson looks good so far in his brief time on the top line.  Aaron Ness had another strong game on defense for the Isles.  Kevin Poulin was named 1st star, played well, let up just 1 goal and had a .970 Sv% tonight.  He is also 1.75GAA .939Sv% in his last four games.  Per Daniel Friedman, "Capuano, on whether or not there's a changing of the guard in net on the horizon: "It's tough for me to say right now."


Isles Notes:

The mighty Eric Hornick says, "1st Isles reg win over Nsh since 4/11/02 in Nashville (Garth Snow in goal); 1st reg win vs Nsh @Coli since 11/7/00 (Election Night)."

Stadium Series Logo unveiled today.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Isles Roadtripped in Montreal

Your New York Islanders are in Montreal to face the Canadiens.  Kevin Poulin will start for New York against his hometown team and Isles will try to rediscover their winning ways and reverse their offensive slump.  The Isles have been out scored 12-4 in their last few games.

Per Arthur Staple, Hamonic: "I think we spend too much time talking about the past -- good or bad. It's time to stop talking and start doing something."


Forwards:  Lines: Nelson-Tavares-Okposo, Grabner-Nielsen-Bailey, Bouchard-Regin-McDonald, Boulton-Cizikas-Martin.

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

Kevin Poulin is in net with Evgeni Nabokov on the bench.


In the first, The Isles moving the puck and generating chances, but they need to police the neutral zone a little better  Montreal has gotten some good return pressure and put shots against Poulin, who looks comfortable so far.  Shots were 11-10 in the period.  Although the Isles controlled the early part of the period, Montreal turned it up in the later part and Poulin has really made a statement with his play thus far.  Solid.


The second period starts with Ness , McDonald getting caught a little out of place and Gallagher gives Montreal an early 1-0 lead.  Carey Price looking good early as Isles with strong pressure, putting pucks on net.  After going 0 for 24 on the PP, Pierre-Marc Bouchard ties the game at 1-1 for the Isles.  Grabner puts the puck over the glass, PP for Montreal.  Lars Eller convers on the PP, Montreal retakes the lead 2-1.  Credit Poulin for the the first two saves on that flurry.  Hickey's double minor allows Diaz to make it 3-1 Montreal in the final minute of the period.  The Isles need to keep their crease empty and defensive zone clear.  Isles lead 20-18 in sog.


The third period needs to see the Isles play with some grit to give them a chance in this one.  Brock Nelson takes a Tavares feed and makes pulls the Isles within one, its 3-2 Montreal.  Goal was being reviewed for being kicked in, but it stands.  Galchenyuk is left alone in front of the Isles net and slides puck past a sprawling Poulin, 4-2 Montreal.  More struggling by the Isles top d-pairing.  Theses are basic defensive zone failures and the players keep committing the same errors, it falls on the head coach to manage his players and correct the issues before they become habits or slumps.  Travis Hamonic appears to be injured after sliding hard into the boards off a Pacioretty hit.  Time expires as Isles go 0-4 on this road trip and lose to Montreal 4-2.  Kevin Poulin finished, going 27/31 with a .871Sv%.

A few thoughts on the game tonight.  Even changing Capuano at this point would probably just make Doug Weight coach before he is ready.  Despite the Isles scoring a PP goal, the special teams still haven't contributed enough.  Their offense should be better with the talent available and their defense are missing responsibilities regularly.  No discipline.  The Islanders physicality has gone away.  Their crease is always occupied and no more punishments seem to be enforced as much as they are needed to be.  Especially when a top D-Man like Hamonic was slammed into the boards by Pacioretty.  Too little, too late.  Michael Grabner has gone 17 goals without a game and his speed threat for the Isles PK (now last in the NHL) is nullified by his inability to finish or convert a scoring opportunity.  While some of the call ups are looking good, I'd rather see them make more mistakes while they learn to improve the Islanders long term instead of Carker getting ice time.  With his play with the BST, Ryan Strome should get a look on the Isles soon. Kevin Poulin should be inserted as the starter to gain the experience and mental toughness of an NHL starting goaltender.


All is not lost, but it gets harder and harder to take.  I get your frustration, but I will continue to cheer this team on despite frustration.  I think there are moves to be made, but I am not sure if they will be. 

There is still time.  But it's running out.



Isles Notes:

The Isles have a 3 game home stand that starts on Tuesday, 11/12 vs Nashville, Thursday, 11/14 vs L.A. and Saturday, 11/16 vs Detroit, all 7 p.m. starts.