Nov 16, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders centerBrock Nelson
(29) reacts after scoring a power play goal against Detroit Red Wings goalieJonas Gustavsson
(50) during the second period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
I haven’t written a lot of articles lately, but it’s not
because I’ve been lazy and taking advantage of my last winter break during graduate school. The Islanders have been winning lately and though they have had the occasional letdown, there isn’t a lot I want to say about the team right now. As the title states, I’m sitting each day watching every game and hoping they can get the necessary two points.
My patience has been renewed. I no longer expect the worst, especially after all of these comebacks from down two or more goals. The rest of the season needs to be spectacular for the Islanders to make the dance. Many don’t think they can, and maybe they can’t, but they’re making their push right here and now, so why not get on board. I believe in this team as much as I ever have and I think they can continue their solid play as long as they keep looking at the schedule game by game. It’ll also help with Travis Hamonic is back in the picture.
Things have been clinking for the Islanders first line, and though the defensive lapses are more than obvious, Kevin Poulin has continued to show that with a little more help in front of him, he is capable of handling an NHL load. The fourth line continues to impress me and is the heart and soul of this current Islanders squad. My only issue is with the second and third lines.
There doesn’t seem to be chemistry between the middle-six forwards on this team despite some changes. I’m not sure what the solution would be, but something needs to change to make sure the Islanders have more consistent secondary scoring if John Tavares has a bad night, which is rare. If anything, I’d like to see Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey switched for a few games. Reuniting Grabner with Frans Nielsen could add some necessary offensive power. Giving Bailey the demotion wouldn’t be the easiest thing, but with how he’s played this season and his role on this team he needs to earn back his ice-time.
It’s hard to say things like that when the team is playing well, but these next few games are against opponents that will score more than 2 goals against you when given the chances the Islanders have allowed. They need to strike early and often. They haven’t played with a lead much lately and it needs to change starting now.