Snap Shots: New York Islanders @ Chicago Blackhawks – 10/11/13


Oct 11, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center

Jonathan Toews

(center) attempts to tip a shot with New York Islanders center

Josh Bailey

(left) defending and goalie

Kevin Poulin

(right) making a save during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to ‘Snap Shots’, our condensed, quick-fix post-game follow up after every match.

Gives you, the reader, bulleted results/impressions/reactions of the game in a flash.


New York Islanders at Chicago Blackhawks

United Center, October 11th, 2013

Islanders (2) – Blackhawks (3) 

SOG 28-19 ‘Hawks


Pre-Game Quips & Questions (Any and all stats courtesy of NYI Gameday Notes)

Kevin Poulin‘s start against the Stanley Cup champs speaks volumes of coach Jack Capuano‘s confidence in this young netminder.

And if ever there was a moment for Poulin to prove his worth, tonight’s not that night. Joking. (Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.)

Yes, this game is beyond a ‘proving grounds’ for the young Poulin. Understatement of the year thus far, wouldn’t you agree? But suffice to say, the validity of the aforementioned still stands.

And if you’re Kevin Poulin, you’re skipping the prescribed pre-game mantras and prayers, and resorting to nothing short of outrageous delusions of grandeur of the Napoleonic vain so as to confront the inevitable offensive onslaught that awaits.

Will Poulin, therefore, play inspired, almost possessed hockey, and not only withstand the inevitable barrage of shots sure to come, but also spirit his team to a most ‘unlikely’ victory in hostile territory?

Remember that chaos isn’t always bad, for as Friedrich Nietzsche writes:

"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star."

Will Matt Donovan continue surpassing expectations and emerge as the Isles definitive two-way defenseman that is so sorely needed? Will this evening’s contest prove a breakout moment for this talented youth? Or will Donovan’s game show its seams?

Will the Islanders establish control of the neutral zone early enough so as to stifle the speedy Blackhawk transition game?

Is Cal Clutterbuck‘s return to the lineup the missing ingredient to help round out the talent already on this squad, or will it prove to be the proverbial monkey wrench that spoils it all?

The two best “JTs” in the NHL (who, appropriately enough, are captains of their respective squads) take center stage this evening, and set out to prove who wears the ‘letter’ better.

The New York Islanders must avoid the penalty box, and thereby giving the likes of Patrick Kane and Toews even that much more space to wreak havoc. Stifle the PP and/or avoid being on the PK at all costs. But whatever the Isles do, they cannot played undisciplined hockey at any moment tonight.

Will Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, and Michael Grabner continue their point streaks?

Will Kyle Okposo find his rhythm on the first line, or is it time to make the switch everyone from Montauk to Inwood (and all points in-between) so desperately want made: Okposo down to the second line. But who replaces him? Don’t say it!

Will Peter Regin show that he was, in fact, the right choice for this evening’s lineup? Will Brock Nelson use this scratch as motivation to elevate his game further?

Win or lose, this weekend schedule will not allow this young Islander team to dwell on this evening’s outcome for too long–a good thing for a team in need of understanding the process of becoming great.

Let’s see how it all turned out….

OH and don’t forget to check out our ongoing contest. Win some free Isles stuff!



Period One

  • Each teams respective team’s top line starts the matchup.
  • Isles doing well in keeping pace with the ‘Hawks at the onset
  • Isles 4th line with some strong checking along the boards; forechecking deep in the ‘Hawks offensive zone
  • All NYI lines playing fast and with fierce forechecking in mind; Poulin doing well to cycle puck of his own zone
  • Isles 4th line continues to hem in their opponents deep in their own zone. Islanders playing on all cylinders.
  • Poulin with a nice save off a Toews shot inside the right slot area.
  • Peter Regin showing some jump to his forecheck late in the first, forcing the ‘Hawks in making a bad pass. Player to watch the next two periods.
  • Hickey does a good job of breaking up a play deep in own zone, and was able to help clear the neutral zone.
  • Josh Bailey gets one back for the Islanders, off wonderful playmaking abilties by Michael Grabner. Stick side. Momentum shifter 1-2 (19:05)
  • John Tavares holds the puck long enough to make a pass in front of ‘Hawks crease, with traffic, and Kyle Okposo (1) picks up the rebound and ties it. 2-2 (19:55)
  • The Isles go into the first intermission with the momentum and a tie.

Period Two

  • Hamonic with a key block off a Saad shot inside his own zone.
  • 4th line with some good offensive pressure deep inside ‘Hawks zone. Hamonic start to take more deliberate point shots.
  • Michael Grabner playing inspired hockey thus far this season, on both sides of the puck.
  • Isles on their first PP. Delay of Game on #4 Niklas Hjalmarsson (9:25)
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard on the PP unit instead of Frans Nielsen. Shows some passing ability throughout.
  • Islanders kill of ‘Hawks PP; only one shot on net.
  • Islanders PK unit keeping ‘Hawks on the perimeter for second PP. Killed the second. 0-2 ‘Hawks with only 2 SOG for both opportunities.
  • Poulin with an aggressive save late in the 2nd, off a 3-on-2, bad change by Regin.
  • Islanders’ 2nd line prove problematic once again for ‘Hawks late in the period.

Period Three

  • Poulin with a great save off a terrible defensive turnover; Marian Hossa partial screened shot.
  • Okposo with a nice poke-check inside his own zone; good backcheck that prevented a high-percentage shot.
  • Nielsen seems to be okay, as he is out for the Isles 3rd PK tour of duty
  • Isles kill the 3rd PP for the Hawks. Most definitely the best aspect of Isles hockey this evening.
  • ‘Hawks called for Interference on Hickey. #65 Andrew Shaw (11:10)
  • Poulin proves strong on a blocker save late in the 3rd on Sharpe’s high-percentage shot. Looking better and stronger with every SOG.
  • Isles PK unit perfect for the night.



Period One

  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard unable to convert on a possible 2-on-1 entering the ‘Hawks zone.
  • No shots on net after 5m for the Isles, but the pace and tenacity is slowly becoming apparent.
  • Worrisome it is for a team playing at full tilt, but either haven’t had a SOG, or a goal. Isles must keep up their clip regardless, and must break free from perimeter play.
  • Poulin scrambles in front of his own zone, losing sight of the puck in the process. Looked a bit shaky on that play, but was able to cover his tracks in time. (6:00)
  • 7:19 demarcates first SOG for the NYI
  • The Toews shot inside the right dot is due to bad marking by Thomas Hickey
  • Matt Donovan and the 4th line get hemmed in, and on a delayed penalty against them, the Isles forfeit the first notch of the evening. #42 Nordstrom buries the puck stick side, passed Poulin. Nice pass from #4 Hjalmarsson. Donovan caught inside his team’s crease, prohibiting Poulin from making a save. 0-1 (9:32)
  • The Isles starting to show some let down after the first goal.
  • 13m mark the Isles fail to convert on a tic-tac play with a wide open net. Bailey-Nielsen-Grabner fail to capitalize. Harbinger of things to come? Let’s see if this comes back to haunt them.
  • Poulin giving up too many big rebounds. He has to start somewhere.
  • Jonathan Toews (2) scores off at the carom, as Hamonic fails to properly cover his man, looking tired on that mark.  0-2 (16:05)
  • Islanders unable to regain control on their defensive zone, and look flat and tired.
  • Islanders playing with apprehension, as most of their hitting is in their own zone. Forecheck nowhere to be found.
  • Terrible defensive play made it a one-way tilt until the last-minute of play. The Isles were fortunate enough to catch the ‘Hawks sleeping.
  • Isles outshot 13-7.

Period Two

  • Isles hemmed within their own zone and completely out of position. 4:00. Using their bodies as walls taking a toll on the likes of Matt Martin. Too much open ice for ‘Hawks d-men to walk in and take shots
  • ‘Hawks capitalize on a rebound and empty crease. No chance for Poulin as the defense is non-existent. Donavan missed his mark?  #26 Michal Handzus (1) 2-3 (6:45)
  • Hamonic not having a strong game overall, whiffed on a pass inside the offensive zone.
  • PP erased with a cross-check on Okposo (11:01). Poor discipline.
  • Isles called for their second penalty: Matt Donovan for Hooking (13:40). Showing his inexperience tonight.
  • Terrible coverage in the defensive zone for most of the night, but somehow are keeping the ‘Hawks with their backs against the boards.
  • There is no blueline coverage of which to speak, and yet, for whatever reason, the game is still within reach going into the 3rd.
  • Frans Nielsen a bit absent this period due to a possible injury.
  • Isles outshot 13-31.

Period Three

  • Isles still sloppy getting out of their own zone–a familiar tune serenading the evening’s play.
  • Travis Hamonic is called for Tripping at (6:02 ). ‘Hawks 3rd PP of the contest.
  • Bouchard having difficulties calming down the puck, and fails to create a rush deep within his own zone.
  • Matt Moulson called for a penalty. Handzus blocked Moulson from leaving the ice, and the Isles forward retaliated. 4-on-4 hockey for the remaining portions of the PP. Roughing (12:16) Coincidental minor with Handzus.
  • Nothing doing on the PP for the Isles.
  • Another bad penalty, this time on Peter Regin, deep inside of his own zone. Bad call. ‘Hawks 0-3 with only 4 SOG. (16:57) The Isles will lose the last 2:00 of the period killing off this PP.



Post-Game Responses & Reactions


O: Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Grabner-Nielsen-Bailey; Clutterbuck-Regin-Bouchard; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald

D: MacDonald-Hamonic; Hickey-Visnovsky; Strait-Donovan

G: Kevin Poulin

Although the Islanders did give up 13 SOG in the first, most of them came from the perimeter, and the second goal came off a carom. In all, the Blackhawks owned the majority of the energy and play, but the speed goes to the Islanders.

The most glaring negative throughout 2 periods was the lack of any blueline, as the ‘Hawks face little resistance in entering the Isles’ zone. None of the goals can be completely attributed to Poulin, as his defense is playing one of their worst games of the season.

Poulin did give up the occasional big rebound, but overall, it’s the defenseman’s job to clean up the mess. Instead the Isles’s forwards sacrificed too much of their body to make up for defensive lapses.

Cal Clutterbuck with a strong performance this evening, considering his injury and quick return. Only a matter of time before he regains his rhythm. Good sign for the newly-signed forward.

Poulin showed some aggressive netminding, coming out for most of the ‘Hawks shots, and that’s only a sign of a confident keeper. Something to consider next time he’s between the pipes.

The Isles were the stifled team throughout the night, and never quite able to convert on any odd-man rushes, lacking creativity coming out of their own zone.

But the Kudos goes to the Isles PK unit, as they shut down the ‘Hawks PP, limiting them to an anemic amount of shots. ‘Hawks 0-4 on their PP.

The missed tic-tac play back in the first comes back to haunt the Isles.

EOI first star goes to Kevin Poulin.

That’s your silver-lining.