Without a doubt, the Islanders, at times, were guilty of sloppy play. Particularly, the defensive pairing of Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic had, arguably, one of their worse games that I can recall. It is one thing to have an “off night”, but it’s another thing to have one when things are not going well for the team.
Even so, well, the Isles did get 34 shots on net, and the trio of Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau and Brian Rolston played extremely well. There were some very good scoring opportunities, but, unfortunately, many of the rebounds or second chances were missed by the Islanders, who, at times, didn’t seem energized. In particular, the first and third periods sandwiched a very good second period that saw them do everything, but score a goal.
The problem is, the winless streak is now at 6, and good efforts are not good enough to convert into 2 points. It’s still early in the season, yet you don’t want to see the Islanders keep squandering points and losing games that were very winnable. This stuff adds up in the long run, and I am one who really dislikes lengthy winless streaks in a hockey season.
I can recall many times when I was running a small business in which I thought I was doing all the “right things” and really being proactive, yet had nothing to show for it. Those times were some of the most frustrating aspects of that sixteen year experience. When you work so hard and really feel like you are doing everything you can to get sales and grow your business only to find yourself running in mud can drive you to bang your head on your desk. I don’t recommend that sort of thing to anyone either ….
I can hardly imagine what it must be like for Jack Capuano and his staff, as well as the boys who go out there and play the game. These guys, from everything I have read, believe in one another and believe in the team itself. These are ingredients in a team chemistry that is not often seen and should be highly valued and commended. However, this most likely makes the experience of going through a winless streak that much more frustrating and difficult for a group of guys so close.
Sometimes, it can come down to simple bad luck and bad bounces. Rick DiPietro played one of his best games he has played in quite some time, and his improvement was noticeable. He didn’t deserve to lose the game, and like all of the goaltenders who have stood between the pipes for the Isles this season, the net minder could not be blamed for the end result. DP gave up two goals while in net, and neither one was really a matter of him being to blame.
The bottom line is the Islanders have to find a way to break through and convert those shots into goals. This is a team that has guys who can find the twine. Scoring should not be the problem for them. There were five guys who potted 20 plus goals and 2 who scored over 30 last season. I’m not going to start picking on any specific guys, as I believe that a team lives and dies on its overall efforts or lack there of in the end, but I will say that more than a few of the forwards have to step up and bring their A-games.
At this point, a 3-5-2 record is not a “disaster” at this point in the season. It is certainly frustrating, as a fan, to be in the midst of a 6 game winless streak, but I am sure the team is well aware of this and working hard to rectify the matter. To me, if it comes down to changing the lines and trying to find new chemistry, then so be it. We are not at a “panic” stage yet, but at the same time, being shutout to a team that was 28th in team defense does speak volumes. Andrej Pavalec played well for the Jets for sure, but the Islanders could have been more consistent and put more pressure on the defense far more often.
The task is not going to get any easier either for the New York Islanders. The Capitals are next up for the blue and orange on Saturday night, and the Isles are going to have to find a way to score goals. They can’t keep wasting solid efforts from the goaltending, and regardless of the mistake or two by the defense, you should be able to win games in which you keep your opponents to 3 or less goals in a game most nights.
It is difficult, but patience is a virtue, as the saying goes. Islander fans have heard this many a time, but it is the truth of the matter. Rome was not built in one day, let alone, in a year. There is still plenty of time for the guys to get their act together. As Jason often says at the end of each Ghost Hunters show, “on to the next”.
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