Welcome again to another edition of EOI’s, ‘Dump & Chase’. Our condensed, quick-fix postgame follow up after every match. Gives you, the reader, bulleted results/impressions/reactions of the game in a flash.
Here’s how it works: the “Dump” are the more unfavorable moments of a particular matchup, while the “Chase” are the better ones.
BROOKLYN, NY— Brooklyn, New York 11217. Can you believe it? Hockey in Brooklyn.
Suffice to say the NHL tries once again to unveil this momentous occasion to all interested parties; and not to drudge up the ugly past, but let us say, lockout notwithstanding, the wait was certainly worth it from a surface standpoint. But what was on the ice left much to be desired.
The Islanders were the more disorganized team tonight, especially on the Power Play, and kept at the perimeter for most of the contest. Although starting with an upbeat clip to their game, after 7 minutes of play in the first period, the Islanders would lack energy and vision on the ice for the remaining portions.
Almost all passing was either off the mark or intercepted, and it appears that, as of now, all the chemistry on display in May has dissolved; something to be expected at around this time, but nevertheless disappointing.
If there is any consolation to this matchup, aside from the wonderful venue, it’s that the Isles can now (officially) toy with the notion of bringing up their youth. For it’s only with that type of pressure that the veteran squad will return to form much quicker.
If the Isles finish October under .500, don’t be surprised if a Ryan Strome or a Brock Nelson joins the squad to liven things up.
Cal Clutterbuck is most definitely needed to add some nastiness to the overall Islander tempo, as Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas weren’t up to par this evening. The help that Clutterbuck can come bring to his own eventual third line tandem may very well help ignite the Isles overall forecheck, while avoiding being pressured into the corners.
Lastly, hybrid icing needs to be rethought. More on this as the preseason progresses.
- The ice surface started giving away right around the 6:96 mark of the first, as the referees delayed the game to address dry patches around the Islanders own zone. (This delay in action may very well have stunted the Islanders’s quick tempo established early on.)
- Jacob Josefson opens the scoring for New Jersey at the 10:14 mark, after Nabokov couldn’t control a generous rebound left in front of his crease. The goal came within seconds after an Islander penalty kill.
- The Isles would have trouble all night long clearing their own zone, and as explained earlier, forced to the perimeter for most of the evening. By the 13:09 mark of the first, the Isles would plateau and never regain any semblance of the initial spark that was undoubtedly fed by the fanbase.
- The Power Play has no identity of which to speak, and Lubomir Visnovsky has yet to establish himself as its quarterback. If any one aspect of their game requires immediate attention, it’s this one.
- Patrik Elias would find an open slot and bury the second notch for the Devils at the 15:11 mark, all due primarily to poor marking by the Isles defense.
- The Penalty Kill faired a bit better, even though it would give up a goal in the third (Steve Bernier at the 2:31 mark.) Without Michael Grabner, there’s little this unit can do to fend off an onslaught and shake off one-way play. Grabner is the key to the PK, as his speed keeps opponents honest on the blueline.
- Hybrid icing is still a mystery, for on one occasion Kyle Okposo clearly made it to the puck, splitting two Devils defensemen in the process, yet the play was ruled dead. Blown call, or pre-season rust on behalf of the refs?
- Matt Moulson and Pierre-Marc Bouchard looked unremarkable this evening, and their chemistry is lacking. Hurts John Tavares ability to open up skating room and make plays.
- Disorganized would be the word to describe the events that were on display this evening. Scattered players without absolutely no idea how to skate cleanly through neutral ice. Moreover, the Power Play lacked deliberateness.
- Close to a capacity crowd on hand, and the atmosphere was almost post-season like.
- The Islanders rolled out with Matt Moulson, John Tavares, and newly-acquired Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and, at the onset, showed some strong and steady skaing legs.
- Evgeni Nabokov looked at ease at the onset, avoiding big rebounds and coming out to cut off angles.
- The Frans Nielsen line was the best example tonight of battle ready play, as Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey seemed closer than any other tandem to be at regular season form.
- The most notable Islander player was, indeed, Kyle Okposo, who was the only Islander who carried the post-season tenacity to tonight’s matchup.
- The pairing of Travis Hamonic and Brian Strait appears to be Jack Capuano‘s attempt at a shut-down defensive core, and although not quite there, showed glimmers of that nature.
- John Tavares would’ve had two assists tonight had his respective linemates finished their plays. The Isles’s captain skated relatively well, but most definitely needs some more preseason games to bring himself to full speed.
- More scraps between these two clubs: Justin Johnson, Travis Hamonic both tangled with Devils players, while Matt Martin left late in the third with a Misconduct penalty. The Isles may have lost, but set up the season opener’s tone.
- Griffin Reinhart saw some action and looked as good as can be, considering where he is in his hockey career. Arthur Staple of Newsday asked Coach Capuano whether or not he was happy with the young defenseman’s play. Capuano said ‘Yes’ and believes he most definitely earned his spot on tonight’s roster.
- Jon Merrill blind-sided Kyle Okposo into the boards in the 3rd period, forcing the Isles forward to leave the game. Islanders confirmed in the locker room that he required some stitches over his left eye, but would be okay.