Tonight, your New York Islanders meet the Avalanche in Colorado. To beat Colorado, the Isles need to play better on defense, get stronger goaltending and bring their PK back to where it was to start the season. John Tavares & Brock Nelson lead the team with 12 pts each while Kyle Okposo will play his 400th pro game tonight for the Isles. Chad Johnson gets the start in goal and will put his 3-0-0 record to the test. Arthur Staple reported that their is no further discipline coming for Nikolay Kulemin from NHL. Travis Hamonic, Eric Boulton & Matt Donovan have been scratched for the Islanders.
Forwards: Conacher-Tavares-Okposo, Lee-Nelson-Strome, Grabovski-Nielsen-Kulemin, Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck.
Defensive Pairings: Leddy-Boychuk, Hickey-Visnovsky, de Haan-Strait.
Chad Johnson gets the start in net with Jaro Halak backing up.
In the first period, The Isles fail twice to clear the puck and Colorado takes a 1-0 lead. Bad goal for Johnson. Islanders respond with a stronger fore-check and better play in the offensive zone. The 2nd line continues to work hard. Isles making things happen, but not on scoreboard. Isles unsuccessful on their first PP chance near the end of the period. Colorado gets another delay of game Penalty. Tavares hits the crossbar as time expires. PP will carry in to the second period. Isles lead 9-5 in shots while Colorado has blocked 11 Isles shots.
The second period starts with 1:18 remaining on the Isles PP chance. Isles come up empty and go to the PK. Isles scrambling, Johnson and 2 of his 4 team mates go to the ice early and MacKinnon has all day to pick his spot, 2-0 Avs. How about a time out? Isles PK is now 21/32 with a 65.6% rate of success. Strait is absolutely awful and I think de Haan is suffering for it. Isles continue to ice the puck and are scrambling to make plays. Chad Johnson lets in another bad goal, 3-0 Avs. The Isles lazy play leads to another goal for the Avs, they now lead 4-0 without calling a time out. Isles go back to the PP, but cant make anything happen. Arthur Staple notes the defense pairs have been shuffled: 2-11, 14-44, 37-55. Isles will have some PP time to start the third period. Isles outshoot Avs again, 17-14 and are close in face-offs at 22-24, but are weak defensively and spiraling downward. Second periods continue to be tough for the Islanders. Credit where it is due. Varlamov is aces tonight and the Avs taking advantage of Isles misfires.
Chad Johnson remains in net for the start of the third period. Isles fail to score on PP, but go right back to the man advantage, and then take a penalty of their own (Boychuk) to negate the PP chance. PP is 0/5 tonight. Isles successful on brief PK, and things even out. The Isles continue to work in the final period, but are having trouble generating much in the way of real offensive pressure. More penalties cancel each other out with 6:23 remaining. Avs score directly off the face-off loss, 5-0 Colorado. Isles go to PP again at 3:16 remaining, but fail to score. The Colorado Avalanche win by the score of 5-0. Isles PP went 0/6 tonight, their PK was 1/2. They led in shots, 40-23, while the AVs blocked 22 shots in the game. Chad Johnson finished 18/23 with a .783Sv%. Isles were able to move the puck and generate chances, but lose 5-0 and fall to a 6-4 record on the young season.
The Isles have a lot of assets and have played well at times early in the season. However, their 4-0 start seems a mere footnote when compared to their current efforts. Its tough to see a team that I really believe in, blow games in this fashion and just unravel as their opponents pile up goals against them. This Isles team is making the same mistakes without consistent adjustments by the coach in my opinion. Puck management was a strength to start the season, but has become a weakness to this point. I know they are still 6-4, but the wins came at the start of the season and they have 4 loses in last 6 games. There needs to be a change in the Isles game plan or an adjustment to something in their preparation. You can not tell me its all on the players. The teams major consistency issue to me has been coaching above all else, but there's a lot of issues in these meltdowns. Players have to own it. But they also need to be coached well to win. I am so tired of saying it, so I'll just stop saying it. There are adjustments that need to be made by the players as well as the coaching staff. Maybe a few players (Strait, Martin, Conacher) who need to be waived or sat down to facilitate a change. Their suffering defense misses Travis Hamonic and should give Matt Donovan another try. He has made mistakes, but he also played well for this team with Calvin de Haan in the past. He needs a real chance to develop his game at the NHL level.
Capuano said, "some guys weren't very good." So do something about it.
Let's move on. Isles at SanJose on Saturday.
I will need to do a Weekend Lookback for the Isles-Sharks game on Saturday.
Dan Savarino points out. "Regardless the Isles outcome, Oct will end w/ most wins in the 1st month of the season since 01-02, 1st winning record in Oct. since 07-08."
Josh Ho-Sang with a 4 point game. It gives him 14 pts in his first 7 games of the OHL season.