Top-Shelf – Islanders Daily 10/23/13


Oct 22, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie

Evgeni Nabokov

(20) allows a goal to the Vancouver Canucks during the first period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Last night’s OT loss closes out a most imbalanced Islander homestand string of performances, filled with more valleys than peaks, generating more questions than answers. Perimeter shooting, dreadful puck possession, shoddy backchecking and goaltending have plagued this team this season.

The Islanders are having difficulty finding the high percentage areas, forcing their shots while hesitating on others. Although their skating was visibly better for the majority of the Vancouver matchup, the ability to jump back on defense was the glaring reason for Tuesday’s outcome.

Vancouver would slow down the pace in the critical moments of the game, especially the 3rd, with some much more physicality and puck possession, forcing New York to chase and/or take poor perimeter SOG.

Also, the Isles game was marked with more ‘dump and chase’ scenarios in the twilight moments, rather than clean transitions into the offensive zone, making for difficult shooting/scoring opportunities. If not for the Frans Nielsen goal that came off a fortunate rebound from an Andrew MacDonald point shot, the Isles would’ve left the Coliseum below .500.

Going into Tuesday’s matchup the Islanders had 109 SOG through three games, only capitalizing 9 times in the process against some rather par or somewhat below average netminders. Tonight they would tack on another 32 to that tally, but still in a losing effort.

With regards to CORSI 5-on-5, the Isles were 25th at 45.9% before last night’s outcome, which roughly translates into poor quality chances and poor quality attempts.

Looking at the teams that round out the CORSI metrics–WIN, TOR, NYR, FLA, BUF–the Isles are in a most tenuous place at the moment.

After last night’s results, expect that CORSI ranking to drop even further. Keep in mind that coming into their game against New York, Vancouver was 5th in CORSI metrics (52.8% 5-on-5), proving to be the larger threat going in.

And with an Isles defensive core reattempting to establish some semblance of order and chemistry, with Donovan in for the injured Lubomir Visnovsky, players like Casey Cizikas and Josh Bailey must continue winning their battles, be they faceoffs and/or high-slot attempts.

On the brighter side, Frans Nielsen had himself a 3-point game (1G/2A) including the late tying goal in the third, while Matt Moulson scored twice on the PP giving him 5G for the season. Kyle Okposo would also contribute with 2A and improving his game inside the offensive zone.

Captain John Tavares had an assist on Moulson’s first PP notch, extending his point streak to 8 games (4G/6A/10pts).

The .500 Islanders head into Pittsburgh, where the high-scoring Penguins and surging Sidney Crosby await, and the rekindling of previous post-season bad blood brimming.

If ever there was a game in the immediate future upon which the Islanders can turn a corner for the better, then Friday is it.


In Case You Missed It:

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

Ep. 6 of the DUMP & CHASE Podcast. Subjects this week: Grabner suspension, Lubo injury, Moulson trade? (Eyes on Isles)

LHH’s own Dominik with more on Roberto Luongo and his relationship with Long Island. (LHH)

Newsday on John Tortorella’s return to the Big Apple. (Newsday)

Two Minutes for Tweeting

IslesBlog with the quip of the day, for sure. Suffice to say that Hall’s club has as much potential and equally as many issues as the Islanders. But both teams are the future for the NHL, and, with some time and actual consistency (not imagined), both hockey teams may very well relive their respective organization’s glory days…and then some.

Our good friend Christian Arnold with a most intriguing RT coming from ESPN’s Katie Strang. Will the isles own journeyman return this season to help this defensive core?

IslesBlog makes another appearance here, this time with a timely and sobering tweet during game night, which best describes the tempered attitude to carry along this full 82-game season.

There’s no doubt that John Tavares is frustrated with his team’s recent performance. The Isles cannot protect their leads in any period. Back to the drawing board…in time for Pittsburgh.

Yikes! Enough said.

Around the NHL

  • ANA-TOR: 2-4
  • NJD-CBJ: 1-4
  • EDM-MON: 4-3
  • CHI-FLA: 3-2 OT/SHO
  • NSH-MIN: 0-2
  • WAS-WIN: 5-4 OT/SHO
  • CAL-PHX: 2-4

Across the Sound

As mentioned previously, the Sound Tigers lost in overtime against Binghamton 6-5.

Eyes on the Strome:  1G/5A (Team points leader)