Stinker in Uniondale

By Gary Harding

It has been at least 40 + games since the Islanders have endured a game like this.  It had to happen sometime.

With the playoffs all but mathematically out of reality, it does not hurt as much.  Just 7 shots after 40 minutes of play is not what a playoff bound team would want at the end of March.

As Coach Capuano said to reporters after the game (and I am paraphrasing), theteam was sluggish.  The first game after a road trip seems to be an achilles heel to most teams.  The good ones know how to step it up and endure.  This team will learn it with time and experience.

With all that – the score really should have been about 6 or 7 to 1, instead of just 2.  Al Montoya was outstanding in net – making crucial stops at difficult times.  He is so calm and cool – he makes a tough performance seem so easy going and relaxed.

JT got his 27th of the year last night and needs 3 goals in his last 7 contests to reach that 30 goal plateau that many were looking for him to reach before the season started.  He looked as he was one of the very few that was moving his legs, and did not seem lethargic.

Michael Grabner, at times, looked like his old self, but could not finish the chances he had.  So many people feel that if he learns hot to solve those breakaways, he is really going to be dangerous.  Some of us in the seats were saying last night, that he has to have an idea in his head before he begins a breakway as to what he wants to do.  I feel that maybe too many thoughts are in his mind as he is contemplating his move.  Again, that is an experience factor and this should dissipate the more comfortable he gets.

Defensively, the guys looked like they were confused bringing the puck out of the defensive zone.  Atlanta also seemed to employ a version of the left wing lock, which stymied the Isles at every turn.  The Thrashers also seemed to have the abililty to guess every move that the Isles were doing.  They knew when to be in the lanes, when to take the player off the puck, and when to double team.  It was like Robbie Schremp gave Atlanta the secret playbook (we know that doesn’t happen, but would make a good sit-com script).

Look at the tapes, then throw them out – and plan for Philly tomorrow.  Ricky will probably be in the nets for this one.  Probably wants revenge on the game in Philly when he wore the pink pads and got trounced.  Redemption will be on the minds, and for the rest of the team, maybe a chance for a victory against a Flyers team that just give the Isles fits.