Don't Panic ! Not Just Yet... Isles-Pens 7PM

 

Uniondale, N.Y. – Yet another disappointing loss at home highlighted by yet another 40 minute performance as the Isles lost 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens .

Quick post game notes from Habs-Isles.

  • Welcome back Matt Carkner. Did this guy make his presence felt or what last night? He is an old school big bad ashe, the likes of which I for one am hoping not only stays healthy, but is out there every night for us in seasons to come. He is a steal at $1.5 million/season. He changes the atmosphere as opposing players are forced to keep their heads on a swivel knowing he is lurking at the blue line for us! Big Welcome back !
  • Welcome back #40 Michael Grabner.  The only Islander who can do the Kessel Run in under 12 Parsecs.
  • Kevin Poulin wasn’t terrible but has very little control of his rebounds and though he may be a good goalie for us one day… not just yet.
  • Isles have now allowed 10 third period goals in last 3 games…
  • Islanders: have allowed 45 goals in the 3rd period of 30 games played. (most in NHL, by far). Anyone else see that bright red flag waving ?

Onto tonight:

… And after what was truly the worst two 3rd periods of hockey that I can remember in my 35+ years of watching, playing, coaching, and officiating the game we awake this morning with the fact that we are STILL IN IT!!

In what is a little quirk in the condensed schedule the Isles will now play twice before the two teams that are 3 points ahead of us for the final playoff spot play again. The Canes are off till Tuesday (how they got an all star like break is beyond me), and the Rangers do not play again till Sunday night.

The Islanders in hypothesis could move ahead of both teams as they remain idle.  Of Course this will like Pavlov’s dogs trigger a barrage of “but we got 2 games in hand” texts and posts from my beloved Ranger friends to all my technological revolutionary devices… But I Digress.

However for our mental well being, would it not be nice to wind down our weekend Sunday night in the 8th and final playoff spot with our favorite libation in hand watching the Rangers scramble to catch us as we prepare for a week without school for our offspring? Sounds great! Well then, why the heck not??

Nothing is over… Till we say it is !!

Look folks, what’s the point in being an Islander fan, going through the last 20 years of futility, and not at least having hope that this might happen? What, we cant win 2 games at home in 3 days? We can’t shake off 3 consecutive bad third stanzas? We can’t over come this? Of course we can! Come on after all we have been through these past two decades your gonna focus on a couple of lousy performances this week when we are still in the very thicke of things?

Have you really thought this through? Because if you’re an Islander fan then by process of elimination you are a “Die Hard”. If you are fired up for tonight’s game, if you can’t help yourself even if you wanted to you leave you can’t, you still love this team, or perhaps you are excited to see the best player on the planet? The “why” as always is irrelevant.  The fact, and the feeling of excitement is this.

If we win these next two games we are alone in the final playoff spot in the conference. Unconditional, non-negotiable, mathematical fact!

Now I know my Islander fan brethren, I would even go as far as to say that I have my well trained Gaylord Focker fingers on the very pulse of the Islander fan. With that being said, I am willing to wager you a dozen doonuts that if you take a moment to pause and realize what an opportunity this weekend presents our boys then you can not help but to get excited, even with the last 2 performances still freshly burned in out grey matter. I know that I know, that I know, that I’m right about this! And no Sir I will not put my poms, poms, down!

Mighty Flightless Ice-Birds Cometh:

Best if you read the next quote in a Chris Griffin voice in you head for accuracy and authenticity. “Yeah but it’s the Penguins, they are sooooo Awesome!”

Yes they are! The Mighty Pens (Mighty rested Pens) come knocking tonight riding an impressive 10 game wining streak where they have just been steam cleaning the competition.

Also as an added bonus last season’s MVP Evgeni Malkin may make his return from injury tonight versus the Islanders at the Coliseum. Why do Penguins stars always make their return from the IR versus us? The Pens enter tonight first in the Prince of Wales 23-8-0 for 46 points.

They have 4 players averaging greater then a point per contest, and another just below said mark. They are the class of the Wales, and to wax on poetically about how awesome they are is just not something we should do, because if we do we shall lose the contest before we leave the locker room.

It’s all bout us:

No disrespect to the Pens, but all that matters is that from an Islander perspective, is that we have to see this game as an opportunity to raise our game so to meet their level to even have a chance to earn 2 points tonight, and that is a very good thing. Expect the Isles finest effort of the season this tonight, for if not then I too may be on the fire Cappy band-wagon of which I have yet to purchase my ticket.

Come on Cap!!!

I am not one to moan, and groan. As it has always been my goal here at Eyes on Isles to always no matter what leave you feeling better when you have left our site then when you arrived.  So forgive me for this rant, but it has to be brought to light, and the question must be answered.

Why on God’s Greene Earth, Coach Jack Capuano have you broken up the 4th line of McDonald, Cizikas, and Martin ??

As if you didn’t know, I’m still very displeased with Capuano’s decision to break up the Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin, Colin McDonald line.  I just can’t for the life of me figure out how this is a good idea? Why has Cizikas who has at times been our best center man/face been displaced from his natural position and moved to wing? Why? No disrespect, but for Keith Aucoin?

When these guys were together all they did was produce and cause havoc on the opposition’s attempts to get the puck out of their zone.  Since this trio has been spilt the team has yet to compete for 60 minutes, and we just haven’t been the same. I just do not get it?

Put the boys back together, and if need be scratch Marty Reasoner, and have Aucoin center for Grabner, and Eric Boulton, or here’s a crazy idea scratch Reasoner, and Boulton and put Nino Niederreiter , or Anders Lee (when he signs) on the line with Aucoin and Grabner… For crying out softly do something, but get the band back together before it’s too late!!!


That’s all I got to say bout that…

Quick Notes:

  • Good call by Jack Capuano to start Kevin Poulin versus the Habs last night. 1. It gave the kid a start versus his old home town club.  I know this sounds cheesy and you would think it shouldn’t matter, but little things like that go a long way in the locker room. 2. We knew Evgeni Nabokov wasn’t going to start all 3 games in 4 nights so why not get the game out of the way, now at least he is rested for what is our most crucial, and most daunting challenge of the season.
  • Matt Moulson extend his assist streak to six games. Moulson leads the Isles with 19 dishes on the season, and is now simply a perennial all star.
  • Sidney Crosby has 50 points in 31 games and is a +22.  That’s 132 points over a full season.. I did the math…

In hypothesis:

 The Islanders .500 roller-coaster ride doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. So as my partner in crime Rich Diaz has advised time and time again, just enjoy the ride and hope we can keep it close enough that come the final weeks of the campaign we are still involved in very meaningful games. I myself have a difficult time keeping my emotions in check.

Truthfully because I believe this team is good enough to make it to the dance, so now I feel as though we are starting to underachieve, but if I take a deep breath I realize they are not under or over achieving.  However they are close enough, and the teams ahead of them are mediocre enough, that we truly should make the postseason.

At this point if we fade into oblivion I too will be calling for a coaching change.  Hopefully in about 6 hours our confidence will be sky high, our mood ecstatic, and our playoffs dreams alive and well but, first we have to slay Goliath tonight. If we want the post season then here is our chance to earn it!

Projected lines for tonight’s tilt:

Forwards

26 Matt Moulson – 91 John Tavares – 24 Brad Boyes

12 Josh Bailey – 51 Frans Nielsen – 21 Kyle Okposo

53 Casey Cizikas – 10 Keith Aucoin – 13 Colin McDonald

40 Michael Grabner – 16 Marty Reasoner –17 Matt Martin
Defensemen

3 Travis Hamonic – 47 Andrew MacDonald

14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky

2 Mark Streit – 7 Matt Carkner
Goaltenders

20 Evgeni Nabokov

Pens-Isles

7:00 p.m. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum             Uniondale, NY                                         Television: MSG+             Play-by-play: Howie Rose; Color: Butch Goring
Radio:WHRU 88.7 FM             Chris King: Play-by-

Thank you everyone enjoy the game, and the busy, important hockey weekend!

Scotty Bonner

Tryin to capture the Spirit of the Thing…

P.S. Have a Nice Day !! :0)

Follow Scotty: @moosiestmoose42

Follow Eyes on Isles: @eyesonisles

Follow the Dream @battle4theapple

And don’t forget to upload the new Fansided App, so you never have to miss an “Eyes” piece again… Which is nice…

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Tags: Crosby Evgeni Malkin Garth Snow HOCKEY Islanders Jack Capuano John Tavares Malkin Matt Carkner New York Islanders NHL Nhl Playoffs Penguins Pittsburgh Penguins

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