Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 9/20/13


Sep 19, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin (60) and defenseman Griffin Reinhart (8) defend the goal against New Jersey Devils right wing Stephen Gionta (11) during the first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders beat the New Jersey Devils 5-3 in last night’s preseason contest as Josh Bailey recorded two shorthanded goals, Kevin Poulin made saves on 20-of-23 shots, and the line of Anders Lee–Brock Nelson–Ryan Strome played solid hockey.

Or, basically what Isles fans expected from their so-called “B” squad against a Devils team that was comprised mostly of roster hopefuls.

(Except for the part where Eric Boulton scored on a breakaway but that’s a topic for another therapy session because like most people I’m not really sure it happened and I’d like to confirm I didn’t imagine it.)

Analyzing a game like the one last night at Prudential Center isn’t worth much in the way of gaining accurate insight into how the Isles will fare during the NHL’s regular season, but there are a few takeaways that can be printed:

  • Bailey notched his two goals on just three shots; as the EOI staff discussed on Tuesday night’s podcast, if Bailey becomes more of a shoot-first player, his confidence – and scoring numbers – will increase dramatically.
  • Poulin’s performance was typical Poulin: making exceptional saves and wowing Isles fans with his skill at times, but letting in seemingly routine goals at others. Still, the backup goalie job is his and his alone.
  • Nelson earned considerable time on the penalty kill from head coach Jack Capuano, perhaps foreshadowing what his role could be if he makes the Opening Night roster. And considering the extended absence of Cal Clutterbuck – who was expected to kill penalties as part of the second unit – Nelson on the PK made sense last night.
  • The Bailey–Frans NielsenKyle Okposo was dominant last night, accounting for two goals and two assists and continuing to showcase the chemistry it found at the end of last season. To be fair, the Islanders’ top line was playing against a younger, more inexperienced Devils team, so take those stats with a grain of salt.
  • Capuano didn’t have anything bad to say about the team’s “Battle Level,” which I think is a win for everyone involved.

Stay tuned to EOI today and throughout the weekend, as we’ll have updates from today’s training camp sessions and more, including a post looking at what the Barclays Center means for the franchise as it nears the end of its rebuild.

-Mike (@MichaelWillhoft)

In Case You Missed It

EOI Debuts Our Very Own Podcast (Youtube)

Loss of Cal Clutterbuck Could Open Doors for Ryan Strome (Eyes On Isles)

Brett Gallant and Krys Barch Go For Three, Thwart Helmet Removal Rule (Hockey Fights)

Islanders Wonder Where Young Strome Will Play (NY Post)

Each NHL Team’s Most Efficient Scorer from the 2013 Season (Bleacher Report)

Should the Edmonton Oilers Lock Up Justin Schultz? How Much Should They Pay (Edmonton Journal)

Brett Connolly Making a Strong Case for Roster Spot With Tampa Bay Lightning (Rant Sports)

Two Minutes For Tweeting

Clutterbuck’s injury appears to be more serious than initially anticipated when he left the ice under his own power during Tuesday night’s preseason game in Calgary. He’s likely to miss more than a month, meaning someone will have to step up in a big way.

The Islanders captain turns 23 today, which is your yearly reminder that you really haven’t done anything with your life, while John Tavares is captaining a young NHL team ready to make its mark on the league for years to come.

With all the hype surrounding Nelson and Strome, it’s easy to forget that Lee saw limited time with the Islanders last season, making him a good candidate to replace Clutterbuck on—what EOI assumes will be—the Islanders’ third line.

This is probably true, because no bystander really wants to break up a fight between Barch and Gallant taking place at the Prudential Center’s loading dock.

Brooklyn awaits, Isles fans…

As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL coverage and up-to-the-minute Islanders news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff; we’re always happy to talk hockey.