Well, 1 out of a potential 6 points on the road trip was not what the doctor ordered at all for the Isles. No, there is no way to put it other than to say that, regardless of the time of year, this is NOT the kind of hockey this team should be playing nor have they shown the potential they do possess as a team.
The game was close going into the third period. Matt Moulson made it a 2-1 game with about 5 minutes left in the middle frame. However, that was all she wrote as far as the offense went. The Canucks put up 2 more goals in the third to end up winning the game 4-1.
I didn’t get to see much of the game, so I can’t comment on anything specific. I spent time reading about it, though, and it seems that the Islanders, once again, failed to show up both mentally and physically in 2 of the 3 periods. Yes, for yet another time, inconsistency was the ugly monster that came a calling. This is simply something any team can not afford to do against a Vancouver team, regardless of their own on and off play this season.To me, the pattern of giving up early goals and falling behind has been a major issue, just as troubling as blowing leads in some ways. If you have to play catch up the majority of a game, it leads to desperate plays and the potential for giving up odd man rushes. This was a game in which the Isles lacked physical play and gave the Canucks too much running room through the neutral zone. If you are trying to get back into a game, this simply are not ingredients for success.
I don’t want to start wandering down a negative road at this point, nor do I want to begin casting comparisons to last November. Nevertheless, I am, as a fan, not exactly feeling warm and fuzzy about the situation at this point. Again, this is a team with a great deal of potential, yet we only see a few guys who seem to show up to play every night.
Is it a lack of leadership? Do the Islanders need someone who really defines the “hockey” locker room voice and presence? Is it the coaching? Is Jack Capuano just not getting through to the players?
Obviously, it’s difficult to say, though it seems many folks have a variety of opinions on the matter. As far as I am concerned, it starts and ends with the team. I simply don’t think we have seen the best of this club on the ice. I don’t think it comes down to one single issue as much as things just not working the way they should. Yes, it’s easy to finger point, but when the game is done, it’s the overall team effort or lack there of that will reflect the most on the results.
Something, however, needs to be done. Whether that is trading Nabby or making some other move, or just really shaking up the lineup in some definitive manner, the ship needs to be righted NOW. There is no way in the world that this month can slip away with few points to show. The Islanders can ill-afford to be out of the playoff picture by Christmas again.
Hopefully, a meeting with their cross-town rivals, the Rangers, will inspire some fire and fury from this team. From all accounts, Nino Neiderrieter should be playing in his first game of the season tomorrow evening. Maybe, this is a “small” thing that will make a difference. Hopefully, we simply see the Islanders put a 60 minute effort together and nip this thing in the bud before it becomes a REAL situation for them.
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