Last night, our Islanders dropped the first game of their 3 game road trip by a score of 5-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Last night marked the Islanders 7th loss in regulation on the road which is more then they had all last season. Here are some of my notes from the game:
-The Islanders defense was exposed terribly last night. They had many defensive breakdowns which really hurt them. They also gave Phil Kessel way to much room to operate last night and when you do that for a guy like Kessel he will make you pay and he did that last night.
-Their line changes were quite rough to. I never understood why they seem to change lines at bad times. That is something they are taught when they play Pee Wee hockey.
-Poulin didn't have his "A" game last night, but he wasn't bad. The lack of defense around him made his play seem worse then it was.
-Our struggles on the penalty kill continue! I'm not sure what they are going to do, but they have to do something because our penalty kill is a mess right now.
-It isn't fair to pick out specific defensemen from last night because the unit as a hole struggled. However, both Thomas Hickey and Matt Carkner (surprise surprise) really struggled last night. Hickey got turned around in the neutral zone and was unable to get back in time. Meanwhile, Carkner was caught flat footed at the line which led to the Leafs third and ultimately deciding goal.
-Good to see Casey finally getting hot and breaking out of his early season slump.
-Some of our guys, most notably Pierre Marc Bouchard need to be strong on the puck. Bouchard in particular gets knocked off the puck way to easily.
After how great the team was on the road last year, their struggles this year have come as quite a confusion. It seems as though maybe that teams were able to find out how to play us more effectively and we haven't been able to adjust to that. If we aren't able to fix our performance on the road, this will be a long season for us.
Next Game: Friday @ The Penguins