Your New York Islanders saw the Anaheim Ducks & Detroit Redwings visit the NVMC over the weekend. On Saturday, the Isles fell to the Ducks by the score of 3-2 in what can only be called another very frustrating game. On Sunday, the Isles made some adjustments and found a way to break out in quite a few areas to defeat the Wings by a 5-4 score. Here is a Lookback of the games.
In front of another home sellout, the Isles struggled to keep pace with the Ducks in a back and forth first period. Lubomir Visnovsky (Strome & Hickey) scored late to tie the game at 1-1. After they fell behind 3-1 in the second and failed to capitalize on a 5 on 3 PP opportunity, Casey Cizikas brought them within one at 3-2 when he scored with around 5 minutes remaining in the game. The late surge was emphatic, but it wasn’t enough for New York who were dominated in the faceoff circle (30-14) and went 0/4 on the man advantage in the game. Turnovers and missed opportunities kept the Islanders struggling to keep up for most of the game and Michal Neuvirth went 21 of 24 with an .875Sv%. Per Staple, “Michal Neuvirth with the 30th-place Sabres: .918 sv % in 27 GP. Neuvirth with Isles: .881 sv % in 5 GP.” The loss kept the Isles winless streak going in March and pushed them to a 0-6-1 record in their last 7 games. One of their worst home losing streaks in franchise history. Visnovsky was named 3rd star of the game.
The game against the Redwings on Sunday would prove to be a breakout of sorts for the Islanders. They were able to end a 3 game losing streak and halt their 7 game shortcomings at home. While New York came out firing, the Wings would take the early 2-0 lead just two minutes into the game. The Isles would fire back three times in a 5 minute span on goals from Brock Nelson (PP-Visnovsky & Hamonic), Ryan Strome (Tavares) and Kyle Okposo (PP-Tavares & Leddy) to grab a 3-2 lead late in the first. Detroit would add a goal late in the period to make it a 3-3 game after 1. Frans Nielsen (Tavares & Leddy) would chase Mrazek from the net after giving the Isles a 4-3 lead on the PP just 16 seconds into the second period & Cal Clutterbuck would add a SHG on Howard a few minutes later for a 5-3 Isles lead. Detroit would score again half way through the second period, but the Isles would dig in & hold on to win by a 5-4 score. The Isles were 2 of 3 on the PK (ending a franchise record of 12 games without surrendering a man down goal) and a much improved 3 of 4 on the PP, a major factor in the win. John Tavares (matched a career high 3 assists in a game) & Cal Clutterbuck were named 1st & 2nd stars of the game. Jaro Halak held on and went 21 of 25 with an .840Sv% and improved to 36 wins on the season. Matt Martin set a new single season hits record, reaching the 377 mark in the game.
Rich DeKorte quoted Jack Capuano on the type of character he feels the Islanders have. “There are teams that crumble, that dissolve when adversity sets in...during that stretch it brought our guys closer." He added, "Our leadership and accountability amongst the guys has been key this year."
This has been a great season so far and we have seen this team truly take the next step. Even though the last bunch of games have been frustrating, the Islanders are building something solid. They have a compliment of vets, especially after adding Halak, Leddy and Bouchuk long-term as well as some serious young talent. You have to be intrigued to see how players like Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee perform in an even larger sample size going forward. They will need to recapture a balanced scoring attack, solidify on defense and fine tune special teams. When they play their game, they are tough to beat. Their enthusiasm and compete level are awesome, the question seems to be are they really disciplined enough throughout the roster and throughout coaching staff to make it to the next level this season?
Fans need to be patient and realistic when evaluating how the Islanders attack the playoffs in round one. Very few of us will be satisfied with a first round exit, but we should find comfort in knowing the pieces are falling into place and this team is exciting to watch. It will be a great ride to see how this group will end their season.
They are giving the old barn some kind of sendoff so far, don’t you think?
The Isles finished March with a subpar 4-6-3 record, but their magic playoff number falls to 6 (Won by Isles or lost by Ottawa). The Islanders are in Columbus on Thursday in what will be one of their last 5 games of the 14-15 season.
Lubomir Visnovsky has been named the Isles nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy as decided by @ThePHWA.
Ross Johnston Agrees to Entry-Level Contract with the Islanders organization.
Rich DeKorte, “Cap on sticking with Sunday's line up: "I'm not sure yet. We got other guys too now. Michael Grabner is healthy."
Per Arthur Staple, the Islanders have 3 D-men with 30+ points (Boychuk, Leddy, Hamonic) for the first time since 01-02 (Hamrlik, Aucoin, K. Jonsson).
Islanders to close out final regular season at Nassau Coliseum in throwback style.
So Ed Mangano got a letter about enticing the Islanders to return to the NVMC and increase the 13,000 projected seat refurbishment to 17, 000. What a great idea. http://www.newsday.com/business/nassau-coliseum-proposal-would-allow-forest-city-ratner-to-solicit-foreign-investments-from-china-1.10146278
Sound Tigers Notes:
C.J. Motte earns his first professional win with 29 saves as the BST defeat the Sen 4-1 on Saturday.