Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 11/15/13


Nov 14, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing

Matt Frattin

(21) takes the puck from New York Islanders center

Brock Nelson

(29) during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Kings won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

After 40 dominate minutes and a two-goal lead heading into the 3rd, the New York Islanders completely fell apart like a house of cards, letting slip two much-needed and much-deserved points at home against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Isles return to 3 games under .500 at 7-10-3 with 17pts, while the Kings now stand 25 points, 12-6-1, but for two periods, the Isles were the better team–much better.

The first two periods bore witness to aggressive forechecking by a fast-skating and aggressive Islander team, with the second 20:00 showcasing some of the energy and intensity and precision witnessed this past Tuesday against Nashville.

But a highly-skilled and physical Kings squad bolted out of the locker room and onto the ice in the third, never allowing the Islanders to establish any sort of zone presence, cutting down their 200 ft game to just inside their own zone.

Kevin Poulin played outstandingly in his first 40, and although giving up two goals that on other occasions he’s shown to tame rather well, Tyler Toffoli‘s deflection at the 18:33 of the 3rd, was a result of a puck being in the right place at the right time.

Two Islanders players scored their first goals of the season in Casey Cizikas and Aaron Ness, with the rookie Ness also tallying his first NHL point of his young career; but the loss casts a dark cloud over the latter’s achievement, as the young Ness is quietly going about his duties responsibly and proving his worth at an elite level–another silver lining amid the drudgery.

Another positive note was John Tavares‘s strong clip throughout the game, with his pass to Ness nothing short of brilliant–a cross-ice feed, dot to dot, with Ness shooting low glove side. Had the Islanders won this matchup, that one-two tandem would surely have been an on-going topic of conversation at this morning’s water cooler session.

Tavares now has 15A for the season, and continues to do whatever possible to secure a win.

The Islanders remain on the downtick with regards to faceoff battles, with the area in which they’re taken irrelevant to success or failure; last night’s numbers coming in at 31-22 favoring LA.

Special teams remain imbalanced as the Isles squandered 4 PP opportunities, while killing 2 of 3 penalties. Shots on goal were 25 to 24 Isles, but belies the momentum New York owned through the first 40.

Colin McDonald‘s penalty (check to the head) at the 10:50 mark of the 3rd led the LA’s tying goal (Tanner Pearson, his first of the season) and most definitely the game changer and back-breaker of the evening.

Dismiss the myth of the two-goal lead, but rather play-up the dreaded 3rd period curse when it comes to the New York Islander hockey club, for they let slip away a game they played well enough to win if not for mental breakdowns and a lack of grit.

Saturday the Isles play host to Pavel Datsyuk and the Detriot Red Wings, who bring speed, skill, and physicality that will assuredly put every New York player to the test.

Kevin Poulin‘s performance throughout his last three starts were most impressive, including last night’s, and some would/could argue for him to get a shot to start on Saturday. And all those who clamor as such would be in the right.

But perhaps a rested and focused Evgeni Nabokov can lift this team past Detroit and begin a necessary tandem between himself and Poulin that can assure some long-term security between the pipes.


Remaining November Schedule (7 games remaining)

  • Home Games: 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

Should’ve been four: three for the hit against Niklas Backstrom, and one for bowling-over Josh Harding. Not a good look, Kadri.

And nice to see Mr. Steve Stamkos in good spirits. Here’s hoping he makes a speedy recovery.

Presser Points

  • Aaron Ness postgame Reaction
  • Kevin Poulin postgame Comments
  • Captain John Tavares with his thoughts
  • Jack Capuano Presser

Around the NHL

  • CBJ @ BOS: 2-3
  • PHX @ CHI: 4-5
  • COL @ STL: 3-7
  • DAL @ CGY: 7-3
  • SJS @ VAN: 2-1
  • ANA @ TBL: 1-5

Across the Sound