Top-Shelf – Islanders Daily 10/18/13


Oct 17, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center

Casey Cizikas

(53) controls the puck in front of Edmonton Oilers defenseman

Ladislav Smid

(5) during the third period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders (3-2-2) keep the struggling Edmonton Oilers (1-6-1) buried in the Western Conference cellar, beating them by score of 3-2 in a game marked by speed and shooting.

The Islanders would tally up 40 SOG to the Oilers 29, almost mirroring their performance against Buffalo with only better results, especially in the third period.

The sense of urgency steadily rose as the game winded down, and the Islanders would show aggressive forechecking that would ultimately force Edmonton to take a penalty and lose any opportunity of regaining a stake in the contest.

Josh Bailey continues to surprise everyone with his shooting and finesse, scoring the opening goal, giving him 6 pts for the year, thus far, while captain John Tavares continues his point streak, now at 6, with 1 G and 1A at the final horn.

Kyle Okposo started the evening a bit sluggish on the backcheck, but as the ice opened up, made amends as he scored the tying goal while on the PP early in the second.

Currently, the Isles have the best PP while at home in the NHL.

John Tavares would score the game winner at the 18:53 mark of the second period, off a Okposo pass intended for a waiting Michael Grabner who was planted to Oiler goaltender Devan Dubnyk‘s right. The Isles captain would skate into the slot and bury the puck for his team’s 3rd and club-leading 4th G of the season.

The Oilers would have several PP opportunities, but the strong defensive play of Michael Grabner and Travis Hamonic proved too much for the young Oiler squad to overcome, although Taylor Hall would almost tie it in the 3rd with a blistering wrist shot that beat Evgeni Nabokov low and to the right, but clanking off the right post keeping the Isles’s lead in tact.

But Hall, nevertheless, proved a major factor in last night’s game, putting on a display of speed and scoring that assuredly makes him the most dangerous offensive threat now and for years to come, even in the most remote of scoring opportunities. Hall would notch 2 consecutive goals within the span of 8 seconds, setting a new Oiler record once held by Wayne Gretzky (thank you Gary Harding for that tid-bit.)

The Isles were unable to capitalize on a PP that engulfed whatever even-strength chances the Oilers had remaining in the game. But most importantly, the Isles continued their strong forechecking throughout the final 20:00, limiting Edmonton’s SOG and hemming them deep inside their own zone.

Of particular noteworthiness was the play of Casey Cizikas who showed some of his brilliant forechecking late in the game, using his body to keep the Oilers honest, and creating scoring chances in the process.

Matt Donovan showed some strong play as well, finishing the night at a +1, taking full advantage of his 13:32 of ice time. Donovan notched 3 SOG and 2 HT, showing a nice clip to his game and steadily improving with each shift.

Thomas Hickey also showed some aggressiveness to his game, improving on his marks and cycling the puck well. Hickey would finish the night with 4 SOG and 3 BS, and had himself a more even-keeled performance.

Lubomir Visnovsky showed assertiveness on his PP duties, tacking on 2 SOG , moving the puck well inside the offensive zone, while showing initiative away from the play and helping the Isles transition game.

[Permit the following digression: Matt Donovan with Lubomir Visnovsky is the ideal PP tandem, and eventually a consistent defensive pair. Donovan would hone his ‘two-way’ approach to the position, while his size and grit can help set up Lubo for the point shots with the man-advantage. Thomas Hickey and Brian Strait, on the other hand, can improve upon their shut-down responsibilities, helping to round-out the Isles defensive core. Just a thought.]

Moreover, Pierre-Marc Bouchard adds another point to his sheet, assisting on Bailey’s goal, while showing some steady puck control and responsibility away from the play as of late.

Argue all you want, Bouchard is steadily progressing on his current line, and don’t be surprised if he eventually moves up to skate alongside Tavares. Change is coming, for during his press conference Capuano expressed his dissatisfaction with it inconsistencies.

The Islanders have a chance to lay claim to second place this Saturday as they host the team currently inhabiting it, the Carolina Hurricanes.

Our own Andy Graziano will be in the press box that night, so follow him @tazman19 for all your updates and analysis.

And remember to follow our game thread, sponsored by New York Islanders Hardcore (NYHIC), as myself, Shane Blackburn and other staff member chime in during the game.


In Case You Missed It:

Our own Reagan King with the Post-Game ‘Snap-Shot’ Review. Snap-Shots: the only way to decompress after an Isles game, win or lose. (Eyes on Isles)

GREAT PIECE by Brian Compton who had caught up with captain John Tavares and chatted about his rise to the NHL, the Winter Classic, and a chance to play for Team Canada.(

Jeff Ponder with a comprehensive look at the Maxim Lapierre hit on Dan Boyle. (The Hockey Writers)

Hybrid icing plays pivotal role in the game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Canadian Press)

Ep. 5 of the DUMP & CHASE Podcast: special guest, legendary play-by-play announcer and voice of the New York Islanders, Mr. Jiggs McDonald. (Eyes on Isles)

Two Minutes for Tweeting

Tom’s never shy to wear his allegiance to the Isles on his sleeve, writes in so many words the need, nay, the grave importance of being sensible when it comes to a beloved franchise’s rebuild. Patience is a virtue, Tom feels, lacking in Islander country.

This tweet speaks for itself, theme of which was heralded throughout the night from ol’ section 329. (You know who they are.)

Not really, Jimbo. They’re giving him the Ryan Strome treatment, as in “take some notes; lift some weights; get some reps; see you next season.”  Nelson is a bonafide talent that will undoubtedly make this team stronger…just not this season.

It’s simple: patience.

‘Presser’ Points

  • John Tavares on the importance of keeping the foot on the pedal late in the game
  • Josh Bailey on the overall success of tonight’s victory
  • Travis Hamonic on his team’s ability to bounce back from Edmonton’s quick two-goal attack
  • Jack Capuano‘s full post-game presser. Pay close attention to his thoughts concerning Tavares’s line.

Around the NHL

  • VAN – BUF: 3-0
  • CAR -TOR:  3-2
  • PITT-PHI:  4-1
  • COL-MTL: 3-5
  • NJ-OTT: 2-5
  • MIN-TB: 1-3
  • BOS-FLA: 3-2
  • STL-CHI: 3-2 (go Blues)
  • LA-NSH: 2-1
  • SJ-DAL: 3-4
  • DET-COL: 4-2

Across the Sound

The Sound Tigers will face-off against Binghamton Senators on Sunday, October 20th at 3PM.

Here’s your Ryan Strome update: 0 G, 3 A, 3pts