photo by zimbio
Tonight, in a hard fought game, our Islanders came up just short of yet another comeback as they fell to the rival Penguins by a score of 6-4. Here are some of my notes from the game:
-What some thought was impossible, finally happened tonight. That being Josh Bailey finally put one to the back of the net. This was Bailey's first goal since getting the game winner against these same Penguins on October 25th. If this doesn't get Bailey going then I don't know what will.
-Poulin wasn't his best tonight, but he wasn't terrible either. He did let in a softie which is becoming to frequent a thing for him. However, he can only do so much when his defense doesn't show up on a given shift. A prime example of this being the Olli Maatta goal to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead. Just last week in Philly the team let Andrej Meszaros walk right in and snap one by Poulin. So what happens tonight? They let Maatta walk right in, make his move, and lift the puck past Poulin. Fairly similar plays with the same outcome, will they start to catch on that maybe they actually want to play defense instead giving the player a free shot on net? They haven't seemed to have good luck with their current strategy so maybe a change is in order?
-Rookie mistake on the fifth Penguins goal by Donovan.
-As usual the refs were inconsistent but what else is new with the Penguins?
-As we've seen in the last few years, you won't win consistently in the NHL by just playing 25 or 35 minutes of a 60 minute game. We saw it again tonight as from the mid point of the first period til pretty much the mid point of the second period the Islanders for the most part weren't there. They started to play better as the second period wound down and then played well in the third. However, efforts like that won't cut it in this league especially when playing a team like the Penguins and they need to start to realize that.
"If only we had a defense!" That is a phrase I found myself repeating a lot tonight. Recently, we have been able to mask the immense struggles of our defense because our tendency for comebacks has resulted us winning almost as many games this month as we did between October and December combined. However, tonight the "comeback kids" as some of named them just bit off more then they were able to chew. That is in large part due to defensive struggles most notably on Maatta's goal which I went over above. Lots of people always say that teams are constructed from the net out. It seems as though the Islanders have went opposite of that strategy and built from the red line back and it is costing them and has done so all season and did in the playoffs last year as well. Now it is up to management to give the team the help they need, and deserve!
Next Game: Saturday 1PM Vs The Blues