Isles back to .500 as road woes continue
By Gary Harding
Once again – the 1st line of the Islanders is showing the only offensive numbers for the team. Although on this evening, neither of the two goals were scored in a 5-on-5 situation. Both goals were on the power play.
John Tavares is continuing his strong start on the season, assisting on the Mark Streit goal. He also deflected the second goal on the power play.
The only problem with the Islanders right now – is that they need a few cloned images of Tavares to complete the ensemble.
The first few minutes of the game – featured not only the first goal of the game, caused by a penalty 22 seconds in, but Evgeni Nabokov stopping a penalty shot on Tomas Kopecky just 2:39 into the game. In most cases, this situation would be a building block for a team to add more momentum and take the team to the next level.
Last night – this was not the case for the Islanders.
“We had moments where we played well,” Andrew MacDonald said to the media after the game, “and that came when we had our forecheck working. But there were more parts when we didn’t have it, and they turned it against us. We have to find ways to win these.”
To this author – it sounds like the players are working on the methods to reduce the complacency of being a road team, but getting from the brain to the stick, is another thing. But this is the first road matches of the season, so it is not into a panic mode. It is just a matter of working on their systems, and getting the kinks out.
Michael Grabner got three shots on goal, and had two breakaway chances. That is an improvement on nthe frist five games. He needs to get involved. That should also get Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen more involved. Honestly, I forgot about Nielsen, that is how invisible the players have been over their first two weeks of the season.
From what I have heard, Nabokov had a decent game. At this moment – the Islanders now have three healthy goaltenders. According to Jack Capuano – it is still a competition for the three, and with the team having an option that many do not have. Will it be a three man race for the entire season?
No definitely not – but for now – it is a good opportunity for the team to get the best out of these guys. The Isles will have a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday game sequence coming for each of the next two weeks, so each of the goalies will have the opportunity to get some game action. Coach Capunano has said to ride the hot netminder. This will give the opportunity to see each of the guys in game situations, and have the best be able to ride the net for as long as possible.
The Isles have a back to back set on Tuesday and Thursday against the hated Penguins. I do not believe that we will have the same scenario as we had in February, but the passion and fire should be there. The Penguins have already played 10 games as opposed to the 6 or 7 that most of the NHL teams have played. Then on Saturday, the Isles host the Sharks, on the night they are celebrating the 92-93 team that defeated the Pens in the Division finals.
This is a good chance to get the Isles a serious test on how they will get along against some division rivals and a team that is a serious Stanley Cup contender.
Have a good week!
For the recap from the Florida Panthers Side – check out the Rat Trick by the link below
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