THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS SCOTTY BONNER’S
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – “Ahhh… Home Crap Home”. With tonight’s 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, albeit a truly inspired effort, the New York Islanders home record has now fallen to a refund demanding 2-8-0. Tonight they set a franchise record for futility, with the worst ten game start at home in the franchises storied history. It’s as if the Coliseum itself is saying, “You wanna go to Brooklyn? Fine don’t let the door hit you in the tush on the way out!”
To sit together and try to analyze this with numbers, and stats are fine, and dandy, but at the end of the day it truly wouldn’t be so frustrating if our road record weren’t a most impressive 6-3-1, well that’s not entirely true 2-8-0 at home is quite frustrating no matter what the road record stands at.
We’ve tried blue jerseys, we tried black jerseys, heck I’d even agree to a cameo by the fisherman if I’d thought it help. Perhaps the Isles could petition Gary Bettman to allow us to adorn our whites at home, do you think that’ll help?
Could anything at this point possibly hurt as much as this 7 game home stand, we are in the midst of? It’s like a long slow march to the sea, with nothing but scorched fans, and one misplaced dragon left in its wake of misery, and agonizing loss, after loss. All leaving all Islander fans left to thinking just what we did to deserve this?
All this on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the Isles last playoff series win. See when you’re an Islander fan you have become all too accustomed with taking the bad with the bad. But this one’s tuff for even us to swallow.
This evening the Isles took to the ice on national TV Versus the Boston Bruins on the NBC Sports Network. And if you read my pregame (and I thank you for your time) then you were already armed with the knowledge of the Isles dominance this season on national TV.
It’s always a little difficult to get a feel for the crowd at home in the confines of my living room as I set myself to watch the game with my beloved mutt Lord Stanley. However it seemed as though the crowd had good energy to it as the game begun, as did both teams.
The Big Bad Boston Bruins with their most impressive 11-2-2 record, and their even more impressive offensive line sized defensive corps simply took care of business on Long Island tonight. Disposing of the Islanders 4-1, they head back to Boston concluding their 5 game road trip (wish we could go on a 5 game road trip!)
Tonight was one of those weird games in which I can’t say the Islanders played poorly, that would simply be unfair. The skating was there, the hitting was there, the back checking was there (David Ullstrom effort on B’s 3rd goal not withstanding).
The goaltending was certainly there, the PK was there, most everything we needed for a good solid effort was there for most of the game. Now all of those accolades are nice, but it was one of those games where although the above stated all seems to ring true, it never felt as though we had a shot to acquire 1 let alone 2 points this evening.
Tonight’s game really wasn’t nearly as much about the Islanders as it was simply the Boston Bruins refusal to entertain the idea of heading back to Boston with a loss. Tuukka Rask played bigger than his 6’3 frame, seemingly leaving the Islander shooters with little to no net to speak of from which to find the twine.
Although he stopped 36 out of 37 shots he didn’t seem to be peppered nearly as much as his counterpart at the other end of the painted pond Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov was waffles down the Isles best player this evening, and on multiple occasions robbing the Bruins, so much so leaving Milan Lucicto just look upon Nabby with respect for yet another dazzling stop.
From his stellar play on back to back Bruin power plays in the 2nd, to his holding the line on Rich Peverley‘s semi breakaway, Nabokov did everything he possibly could to keep the Isles within striking distance.Unfortunately, the “strike” never came.
The Islanders never did recover from the Bruins quick start to the 2nd period. Turning what was an impressive 1-1 stalemate at the end of the first stanza quickly, and decisively intoa “No I don’t think so” game, scoring twice in the first 5:16 of the second to take a clearly insurmountable lead. This was quickly followed by back-to-back-to-back Bruin power plays, where to the Islanders credit they did not wilt, and allow the Bruins to make it a three goal game.
The likes of which make it very difficult not to start guide searching for some Duck Dynasty. The Isles to their credit hung tuff.Tonight’s game we saw both Josh Bailey’s: in the first he was that really good 2nd line player we hope he can be. Skating, fore-checking, hitting, making things happen.
He was on the receiving end of the Todd-to-Walker pass from Andrew McDonald as he assisted on Casey Cizikas’s (The National TV Kid) goal.In short, the first was Bailey’s best period of the season. And my optimism began to rise, as I begun to ponder how much this kid truly effects Snow’s entire body of work… Then one can only hypothesize what happened to him during the first intermission, because that Josh Bailey left, he gone, never to be seen from again this evening. Where’d he go? I dunno.
Kyle Okposo and Marty Reasoner both need to be sat down for a game or two. Okposo is the most baffling, frustrating, stone handed, ice cleaning Zamboni I have ever seen. However, I do not wish to jump on the trade Okposo bandwagon. He is still only 24 years old, and there is no point in trading him now while his stock is at an all-time low.
I would however insist he spend the summer with whomever helped JT go from the average skater to the powerhouse he is today.Hickey had some nice moments, the B’s 3rd goal notwithstanding, he does move the puck quickly from D to O. As a former net minder you appreciate those kind of defensemen, and not everyone can do that trust me. He may be another nice waiver pick up by Snow.
Overall the defensive effort for 55 minutes was solid, at times caught running around a bit in our own end, but really folks when you look at the Bruins as a whole, it really was the Varsity vs. the JV out there tonight.
- The Isles organization has little to no chance of winning when, “Jonny Franchise” doesn’t have his “A” game. John Tavares, seemed to have it early on, but as the game wore on, he became less, and less noticeable, and relevant. Now he clearly didn’t have his “A” game this evening, but it would be unfair not to state the absolutely fantastic job the Boston Bruins Defense corps did at shutting down the league’s most dynamic duo of he, and Matt Moulson. The two combined for a -6 rating while only registering 8 shots on goal combined. Tavares only had 1 shot on goal after the 1st stanza. Perhaps that’s why it felt as though we never were in this one. If a team can shut them down, they can shut us down. I’d love for this not to be true but we all know it to be.
- The Isles should model their future defensive corps on the Bruin defense, because we can’t move Theo Fluery out of our crease let alone the likes of Milan Lucic. We desperately need size and strength on Defense. Griffin Reinhart, and Scott Mayfield… Fellas, “get your suits on, we need ya !!”
With all that being said I still don’t think it was a horrendous effort like the 7-0 loss at the hands of the Flyers last week. We simply ran into a much better team in every aspect of the game. The Bruins are perhaps the most balanced team in the league, and in the texts of the Commish, “A Hawks Bruins Cup would be fun.” As usual he’s right.
So rest easy my brethren tonight’s loss wasn’t really on us, or Snow, or Wang, or Alexi Yashin, don’t rush to your devices calling for heads to roll. It was simply the best the Prince of Wales has to offer, showing us, and a national TV audience precisely why.
On a side note did anyone else enjoy watching Mike Milbury squirm in his chair as they discussed Rick DiPietro’s demotion to Bridgeport, after being at one time the first pick overall. I enjoyed it I have to admit.
Attempting to Capture the Spirit of the Thing
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Have a nice day