Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 11/13/13

Nov 2, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie

Kevin Poulin

(60) makes a save against the Boston Bruins during the third period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders beat the Bruins 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders (7-9-3) snap their four-game losing streak at home last night against the Nashville Predators (8-8-2), lead by sustained offensive pressure and the strong netminding by Kevin Poulin. 

Both John Tavares and Frans Nielsen finished the contest with two points, with the Isles captain scoring the only PPG of the evening; the isles were 1-for-5 on the PP, but showed much more fluidity with the man-advantage even if they’re still missing a good portion of their shots on net.

Moreover, the New York PK unit killed all 3 Nashville PP opportunities, topping off the best Isles special teams performance of the past two weeks, and assuredly bringing relief to a befuddled coaching staff scattering for quick fixes to glaring defensive issues.

But last night’s victory was as ‘combined’ or as ‘holistic’ an effort as one can ask for after a dreadful, perplexing, and somewhat disheartening road trip undercut by injury and the disarray that follows. As coach Jack Capuano stated in his press conference, the first game at home after finishing a rather drawn-out road trip is tough on a team, whether said trip was a positive or negative one.

Whatever the case, the Isles were the fastest and more focused team on the ice last night, as they put forth an effort that looked and felt more like a result of team chemistry rather than a Nashville team on its last legs.

Kevin Poulin was the catalyst for all the chemistry on the ice, as he looked strong on all Predator attempts except for the lone shot that cost him the shutout late in the third–a Patric Hornqvist wrister from within the near faceoff circle.

Poulin played his angles well and is noticeably improving upon his vision through screens, while doing a great job of peaking out of his crease at the right moments to cut off high percentage attempts.

Another important addition/change to the Islanders lineup is that of Brock Nelson (2G, 3A, 5Pts through 12GP), who has recently seen his share of top line duties with Tavares and Kyle Okposo.

I asked John to share his thoughts about Nelson’s play as of late:

He has great size and great hockey sense […] I like his ability to attack the net and that he’s not so worried about trying to make every play or trying to get pucks to me and Kyle. We tell him, if you’re inside the dot take the shot.

Coach Jack Capuano also likes the “confident, skilled” Brock Nelson, and thus amid the turmoil due in large part to injury, the Isles can say that Poulin and Nelson are their silver linings, and thanking them wholeheartedly when the team regains their form.

There was some concern over a spill John Tavares took late in the game, as he hit a rut, it seemed, crashing into the boards hip-first. After the game he spoke of the inevitable soreness that is to come, but the captain admitted everything seemed to be okay immediately following the win.

More positive news from Frans Nielsen, as he continues playing responsible hockey, helping Tavares on the PPG, while winning a key faceoff that led to the quick Pierre-Marc Bouchard tally–his fourth–at the 17:23 mark of the second.

But Capuano isn’t completely satisfied with Nielsen’s line, though, as he’s asking for more consistency from them, especially when his top line is having issues producing on even strength. Bouchard’s goal bodes well for that line remaining as it currently stands, however. And Nielsen doesn’t show any signs of slowing down as of yet. All pluses moving forward.

So, in all the Islanders played a strong, fast-paced game that completely overshadowed their first matchup against this Predators club, one that was defined by a lackadaisical, confused New York hockey team lulled to sleep in Nashville–a game that turned out to be the worst lost of the season until the Capitals defeat of 5 Nov.

The Islanders take on the Los Angeles Kings this Thursday, and with the added momentum and energy garnered from last night’s win, the stage is set for the Isles to emerge from the mire and regain their footing in the Eastern conference.



Remaining November Schedule (8 games remaining)

  • Home Games: LAK 11/14; DET 11/16; WPG 11/27; DET 11/29 (4PM); WSH 11/30
  • Away Games: TOR 11/19; PIT 11/22; PHI 11/23 

In Case You Missed It

Two Minutes for Tweeting

Mr. Gary Harding with the pic that defined an evening; let’s hope it defines a homestand, as well.

The fact that THREE Islander players are within the top 10 of NHL in points says something about the latent nay, actual potential  found on the Isles bench.

Presser Points

  • John Tavares on last night’s win and on Brock Nelson.
  • Kevin Poulin’s post-game commentary.
  •  Jack Capuano presser.

Around the NHL

  • LAK @ BUF: 2-3 F/SO
  • SJS @ CGY: 3-2 F/OT
  • TBL @ MTL: 2-1 F/SO
  • NJD @ NYR: 3-2
  • PHI @ OTT: 5-0
  • CBJ @WSH: 3-4 F/OT
  • WPG @ DET: 3-2 F/SO
  • COL @ CAR: 1-2
  • ANA @ FLA: 2-3
  • PHX @ STL: 3-2 F/OT

Across the Sound

Strome Tracker: (12GP) 4G, 12A, 16PTS