Usually – a trip to California is ‘fun in the sun’. These next few days for the Isles – it may not be as ‘fun’ with the 7 game losing streak cloud hanging over their heads. It will be a time of soul searching, and looking for a way to ‘snap’ out of the funk, and gain those precious 2 points needed to get the respectability back in the NHL standings.
For James Wisniewski, it is a homecoming of sorts, as he returns to a team that he spent a few years with. The Ducks moved Wiz to the Isles, and the latter really appreciates it – especially with the loss of Mark Streit until March. Number 20 has stepped up and been the man on the power play – being at the top of the league in points on the man advantage. He is looking to show his old club, what they are missing.
Although he was saying “When it rains, it pours…”, he remained extremely optimistic about the team, and really feels that the Isles can come out of this funk, and be a much better team.
Last Season, the Isles let a 3rd period lead slip away, and they lost in the first minute of overtime. Look for the Isles to want to reverse their fortunes this evening, and try to get a effort like they had against the Flyers on Saturday evening. With the bad break of the Nodl goal, the Isles looked strong and focused. Keeping that on the road is not always easy. They need to keep their discipline, but be as aggressive as possible to steal the two points so desperately needed.
Jon Sim, fresh from 5 goals in 4 games at the Port, returns to the Isles, as insurance for Zenon Konopka, who hurt his foot blocking a shot on Saturday evening. His ‘pest’ attitude can be of help to this team right now. They need someone to play that role, and when he is on, Sim is a great portrayer of that position.
Also – tonight means seeing our old friend Jason (Here I come to save the daaaaaaaaay!) Blake. As a Duck he is not performing to the point totals that he had as an Islander, but has been on the board lately. You have to watch Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan, who are the three focal points of this Duck team. Jonas Hiller should be in nets as always, and he can put an “A” effort at any time.
So the goal for the Isles? Get on the board early, get aggressive, but smartly, and keep that 60 minute effort going. When they feel the pressure of the opponent going, they need to level it up. Easy to say, but always tough as a road team.
Hopefully this west coast swing will be a chance for the team to bond and put more efforts to play for each other, and get that ugly streak away from them. The home cooking will be coming in late November and December, so then – they can build on the momentum of the next few days.
Go get em Isles!