Saturday, February 28, 2015

Halak Sets Isles Record on the Way To Victory

photo by ESPN

Tonight, Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak set the Islanders record for most regular season wins by a goalie as the Islanders defeated the Flames by a score of 2-1.  Here are some of my notes from the game;

-To start with, congrats to Halak on setting the aforementioned record.  It is quite an accomplishment that he should be proud of.  It is unfortunate that he was unable to get the shutout but the win is a win.  You could tell from the start that Halak wanted the record tonight as he really bought his "A" game.

-Good for Clutterbuck to get justice for his disallowed goal.  Initially, I actually thought disallowing the goal was the right call.  However, after seeing replays, I saw what an awful call it was and it is fortunate that it didn't end up costing the Islanders at all.

-Good to see the power play get one home even if it wasn't pretty.  However, as has been the case a few times, after the goal the power play didn't seem as effective as it had been.  They need to make the efforts more consistent and not be content with just getting one power play goal per game.

-Even though they didn't put any in the net, I thought the first line had a very effective game tonight.

With the standings as tight as they are every game matters a little more now, so for the Islanders to get this win in regulation is big.  They don't get much rest as they continue tomorrow against a Carolina team that isn't rolling at 100% right now after trading Jiri Tlusty and Andrej Sekera this week.  Assuming they don't lose a step, hopefully, the Islanders are able to take advantage of that and put another two points in the bank.

Next Game: Tomorrow vs Carolina

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pre Game: Flames @ Islanders

Tonight, our Islanders continue their home stand as they play host to Johnny Gaudreau and the Calgary Flames.

The goalie match up tonight features Kari Ramo for the Flames.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak will be back in net for the Islanders.

Beyond the change in net, the Islanders lineup will be the same Tuesdays victory over Arizona.

With the standings getting so tight in the eastern conference, each game is getting that much more important for the Islanders.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Isles Set to Make Boychuk Highest Paid Player on Team

According to Elliotte Friedman from Hockey Night in Canada, it is believed that the Islanders have made Johnny Boychuk at least one offer that would make him the highest paid player on the team.  This of course means his yearly salary would surpass 5.5 million dollars which is the salary of both John Tavares and now Nick Leddy.
When asked by Stan Fischler if he would be back next season following last nights victory, Boychuk said with a smile, "Hopefully."

I am very curious to see what the team ends up giving Boychuk as far as a new contract goes.  Initially, I thought that 6 million per season would get it done.  However, with Leddy getting 5.5 per season in his deal I am not sure 6 will do it for Boychuk.  His brothers seem to be confident in him remaining with the team.  For Islander fans sake, myself included, I hope they are correct.

Big Third Period Gives Isles Victory Over Coyotes

photo by NY Post

Tonight, with the help of a huge offensive third period, our Islanders defeated the Coyotes by a score of 5-1.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Congrats to Kael Mouillierat on his first NHL goal and NHL point.

-Great to see Brock Nelson have a multi point game tonight, if anyone deserved it he did.  It seemed like that questionable hit he took from Oliver Ekman-Larsson really helped him bring his game to another level.


-Another solid start from Chad Johnson.  With just 20 games left, getting Halak rest will be paramount as playoffs draw near.

-Lee continues his strive toward rookie of the year with his 20th goal of the season tonight.  He really can't afford to have many cold stretches as the season winds down to make it impossible for him to not be nominated for the award.

-Good to see Boychuk get one tonight, impressive wrist shot for someone who is known for his booming slapper.

While it wasn't a great effort by the team through 40 minutes tonight, the Islanders finally took advantage of a tired team with 4 goals in the third period tonight.  With the standings so tight the Islanders need to keep this up to maintain the top spot in both the division and the conference.

Next Game: Friday vs Calgary

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pre Game: Coyotes @ Islanders

Tonight, our Islanders look to rebound from Sundays shaky effort as they play host to the Arizona Coyotes for the final time in the Nassau Coliseum.

The goalie match up tonight features Mike Smith for Arizona.  Meanwhile, coming off a few good starts Chad Johnson gets the start for the Islanders tonight.

The Islanders lineup will be the same as Sundays loss meaning Frans Nielsen will remain.  His status for tonight was up in the air after being shaken up in Sundays contest.

BREAKING: Isles Sign Leddy to 7 Year Extension

photo by zimbio

According to Newsday, the Islanders have signed Nick Leddy to a 7 year extension worth 38.5 million dollars.
While I am thrilled that the Islanders inked Leddy for such a long time, the money is surprising to me.  I always thought that Leddy would top at 4.5 AAV.  For him to ask the 5.5 and the Islanders to give it to him really came as a shock to me.  Additionally, it shows that the Islanders have really turned a corner as a franchise that they were willing to pay him this much.  In prior years if a player asked for a contract like this, the Islanders would've either kept negotiations going deep into the summer, or simply showed him the door.

Monday, February 23, 2015

NEWSDAY: Isles,SMG Owe Nassau County Millions

According to Newsday, the Islanders and SMG owe Nassau County more than 3.6 million dollars in unpaid rent, utilities, and revenue payments for the Coliseum.

The article states that this debt has been outstanding since 2011 with only two payments have been made on it since 2012.

I am sure this will only get messier as the Islanders lease in Nassau County gets closer and closer to expiring.  

Isles Can't Buy a Goal in Shutout Loss

Earlier this evening, our Islanders were shutout 4-0 by the Vancouver Canucks.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-This definitely was not Jaroslav Halak's best game and I am sure he would be the first to tell you that.  I'm not sure what happened with him but he has been a bit shaky over the last week or two.

-If there was ever a game decided by special teams, this was it.  The Islanders went 0-5 on the power play, on top of that they also gave up two goals on the penalty kill as well.  Special teams, which have been an Achilles heel for the Islanders at some points this season really came back to bite them tonight.

-Forgetful home debut for Kael Mouillierat today.  While the first penalty called on him was soft, the second one was a dumb play by him and he has to know better than that.  The power play goal resulting from that penalty sent the team in the downfall they couldn't get out of.

-Josh Baileys failure on that glorious opportunity in front of the net in the second period is exactly why there are some that don't like him being on the first line.  While he has played better, when I see Josh Bailey I still don't see a top line player.

-Anders Lee was one of the better forwards today, along with his center John Tavares.  Lee had a few great chances, especially in the first but Miller wouldn't give in.  Meanwhile, Tavares had his legs going all game and created a few chances just based on effort which is always fun to watch.

After yesterdays exciting game, this was definitely a let down.  The poor play in the second period really put the team in a hole they couldn't dig themselves out of.  While they did have a better effort in the third period, this was a game where they simply couldn't buy a goal.

Next Game: Tuesday vs Arizona

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pre Game: Cauncks @ Islanders

This evening, our Islanders return home to play host to Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks.

The goalie match up will feature Miller likely in net for Vancouver.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak will be between the pipes for the Islanders.  With a win tonight, Halak will set the team record for most wins in a season by an Islander goalie.

The Islanders lineup will also look a bit different as well.  Lubomir Visnovsky will make his return to the lineup tonight after sitting out yesterday.  To make room for him, Brian Strait will spend tonight in the press box.  Additionally, tonight will be the home debut for Kael Mouillierat who made his NHL debut in Washington yesterday.

Isles Fall To Caps in Shootout

This afternoon, our Islanders fell 3-2 to the Capitals in a shootout.  Here are some of my notes:

-If you look up the definition of a hard fought point you will find the box score to todays game.  Both teams really didn't give each other much to work with.

-The team showed a little of what it was made of getting the tying goal late in the third after surrendering the go ahead goal with 5 minutes remaining.

-Another solid start for Chad Johnson today.  If he has finally found his game, that could prove to be huge for the Islanders down the stretch.

Coming in, this game expected to be tough and it certainly lived up to the bill.  For the team to come out of this game with a point while isn't perfect is satisfactory.  It doesn't get easier for them with Vancouver coming to the Coliseum tomorrow evening.

Next Game: Tomorrow 6:00 vs Vancouver

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pre Game: Islanders @ Capitals

photo by thedistrict

Tomorrow, our Islanders travel to Washington for an afternoon matinee with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

The goalie match up will see Braden Holtby likely in net for Washington.  Meanwhile, the Islanders goalie is a tossup.  Personally, I am expecting Chad Johnson to get the nod tomorrow with Jaroslav Halak getting the nod on Sunday going for the team record for most wins in a regular season by a goalie.  However, I could easily see it being flip flopped with tomorrow being a divisional game it is more important than Sunday against a western conference foe.

With Mikhail Grabovski out, the Islanders lineup will see at least one change for tomorrow afternoons contest.  Replacing Grabovski will be Kael Mouillierat who got called up from Bridgeport earlier this morning.  Line combos as of now are unclear, check out Arthur Staple or the Islanders on twitter tomorrow to see those.

Isles Recall Kael Mouillierat From Bridgeport

According to reports, earlier this morning, the Islanders announced that they recalled forward Kael Mouillierat from Bridgeport.
In his second stint with the Sound Tigers, Mouillierat has 40 points in 51 games so far this season.  Mouillierat also played 44 games for Bridgeport in the 2011/2012 season and had 23 points in that time.

The loss of Mikhail Grabovski to injury last night created the opening for Mouillierat.

Islanders Defeat NHL's Best in Impressive Fashion

photo by ESPN

Tonight, in their final regular season visit ever to the Coliseum, the Islanders defeated the NHL best Predators by a score of 5-2.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-After the struggle the third period was for the team in Mondays game, to come out tonight in the third period and put on the performance they did was impressive.  In a year that has been full of making statements, they definitely made another one tonight.

-Well wishes to Mikhail Grabovski who took a huge hit from Eric Nystrom tonight.  If he is out a significant period, I wonder if that will change Garth Snows trade deadline thinking at all.  With him out, I wonder if we will see Harry Zolnierczyk in the interim or if Casey Cizikas is healthy enough to return to the lineup.

-Anders Lee continued his quest toward rookie of the year tonight with an assist.  While he wasn't able to match his counter part Filip Forsberg with the goal, it wasn't for lack of effort as he had a few great opportunities.  The assist gave him his 30th point on the season which if you ask me is a solid rookie season, especially with over 20 games still left to play.

-Congrats to Nick Leddy on setting a new career high in goals for himself with his 8th of the season tonight.  He added two helpers on top of that to be named to the number one star of the game.  After a brief cold streak, maybe this will get Leddy going offensively again.  

-Brian Strait had an up and down game as he remained in the lineup again over Calvin de Haan.  On the one side he did score which was good to see.  However, he got burned defensively by James Neal on the Predators second goal.

-Solid game from Grabner who has been skating very well since his return from injury.

Going into tonights game I expected it to be a tough hard fought low scoring contest.  To get five goals by Pekka Rinne who has arguably been the second best goalie in the entire league this season is no easy feat.  Additionally, the effort in it of itself the team put forth for most of the night against the leagues best team was very impressive to say the least.  If they can continue to play like they did most of tonight going forward, I have a sense that they will continue to win a lot more games than they lose.

Next Game: Saturday 12:30 @ Washington

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pre Game: Predators @ Islanders

Tonight, the Nashville Predators become the latest team to visit the Coliseum for the last time as they face-off against the Islanders.

The goalie match up features Pekka Rinne likely in net for Nashville.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak will be back between the pipes for the Islanders.

The Islanders lineup will look slightly different than Tuesdays victory over Carolina.  Lubomir Visnovsky will be back in the lineup tonight after sitting out Tuesdays game.  It is unclear who will sit out to make room for Visnovsky.  Capuano making a lineup change after a win is rare as he usually leaves the lineup the same after the team wins.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nelson Winner Lifts Isles Over Canes

photo by zimbio

Tonight, our Islanders rebounded nicely from last nights loss as they defeated the Hurricanes by a score of 4-1.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Great to see Brock Nelson finally put one to the back of the net!  He must've felt a weight come off his shoulders when that goal went in.  Hopefully, this will be the start of a nice little stretch for him now as he could sure use it.

-Chad Johnson also had a solid game.  Important to see him put together a quality outing for the team when they needed it.  Like Nelson, hopefully he is able to build on this going forward.

-Good to see the power play come through tonight after last nights less than stellar performance.

-Anders Lee continues his quest toward rookie of the year moving back into a tie for second place in the NHL in goals among rookies with his 19th of the season tonight.

-Grabner had a good game in his return from injury.  His third period goal should serve as a bit of a confidence booster for him going forward.

After last nights loss, with the way the standings tightened up, this was a game the Islanders had to have.  While they didn't have their A+ game tonight, they were able to dictate play for most of the game and overall bought a solid effort in the game tonight.  While they were able to get away with less than their best tonight, the same can't be said for the game on Thursday.  If they don't bring everything they have, they are going to have a very tough time coming out on top.

Next Game: Thursday vs Nashville

Pre Game: Islanders @ Hurricanes

photo by stadiafile

Tonight, our Islanders look to rebound from last nights loss as they travel to Carolina to take on Eric Staal and the Hurricanes. 

The goalie match up tonight features Chad Johnson in net for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Anton Khudobin will man the crease for Carolina.

The Islanders lineup will see some changes tonight.  After being a healthy scratch for a few games now, Calvin de Haan will finally return to the lineup tonight.  To make room for him, Lubomir Visnovsky will be a healthy scratch tonight.  Also, Michael Grabner will return to the lineup tonight after being activated off IR earlier today.  He will take the spot of Casey Cizikas who was placed on IR today with a lower body injury.  

Islanders Activate Grabner off IR, Place Cizikas on IR

Earlier today, the Islanders activated Michael Grabner off of injured reserve, according to reports.
Colin McDonald will remain with the team under emergency conditions with Casey Cizikas being placed on IR with a lower body injury.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Islanders Fall to Rangers, Refs

Tonight, our Islanders were defeated by a score of 6-5.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Halak certainly didn't bring his "A" game tonight.  He played like a goalie who was tired, it should benefit him greatly to have the next few days off.

-While Halak wasn't good, the defense in front of him was equally as bad.  It was amateur hour in their zone tonight, and that can't happen.

-I have been hard on Greg Cronin on here over the last few weeks, so to be fair, tonight it is Doug Weights turn.  The performance of the power play tonight, the first unit in particular was absolutely atrocious.  They rarely got the puck in the zone, let alone got any chances on net.  I don't know if he needs to switch up personal or if he needs to go back into that ginormous playbook he supposedly has, but he has to do something.  Efforts like we saw tonight, particularly from the first unit is simply unacceptable.

-The officiating was maddeningly inconsistent tonight.  How in the world is that tripping call on Hamonic made at the end of the second period, then those some officials come out in the third and let Tavares get boarded without a call and Boychuk get tripped on the way to the Rangers tying goal.  I guess this is another way for them to tell us you may be good, but you haven't gotten there yet.

-Why is this team seemingly allergic to two goal leads?  Earlier in the year it was three goal leads but now it seems like it is two goal leads.  This is the third game in a row that the Islanders have blown one.  Tonight they didn't just blow one, they blew three, that is unacceptable!

-One of the positives to come out of tonight is the performance of Ryan Strome who had another two goals.  This gives him three goals in the last two games.  After cooling for a while, it is good to see him get it going again.  Maybe he can give some aid to Brock Nelson and help him get out of his funk that he has been in the better part of the last six weeks.

-Also, after the loss tonight, can Brian Strait finally go back to the press box.  I called for this on Saturday and Capuano kept him in tonight.  While he wasn't awful, he wasn't good either.  Barring injury, Strait should spend the remainder of the season in a suit and tie.

To come out and score five goals and not get a point is very disappointing.  Especially against a team like the one they played tonight.  They need to put this game in the review mirror and not let it frazzle them though.  Tomorrow's game just became huge as the standings grew a little bit closer tonight.

Next Game: Tomorrow 7:00 @ Carolina

Pre Game: Rangers @ Islanders

Tonight, for the fourth time this season, the Islanders and Rangers are set to go head to head.  The Islanders have dominated the season series to this point and will look to continue that tonight.

The goalie match up tonight features Cam Talbot in net for the Rangers.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak will be in goal for the Islanders.

The Islanders lineup will be the same as it was for Saturdays victory over Columbus.  That means Calvin de Haan remains in the press box in favor of Brian Strait which is a little puzzling to me.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Islanders Discussing Long Term Deal With Nick Leddy

According to the Ottawa Sun, the Islanders are discussing a long term extension with Nick Leddys camp.

In 56 games this season, his first with the Islanders, Leddy has accumulated 22 points in 56 games.  With 7 goals already on the season, Leddy has matched his career high in that category.  He has also been near the top of the team in terms of +/- all season as well.

The report speculates that Leddy is using the 5 year 27.5 million dollar contract Brooks Orpik got from the Capitals last summer to judge what he is worth.

While they may not be far off in the term as I think 5-6 years for Leddy is fair, the dollar amount seems high though.  For me, when I thought of Leddy and what he would get in terms of contract I always thought similar money to what the Islanders gave Travis Hamonic.  If you recall, that was a 7 year deal worth 27 million dollars.  That works out to 3.85 million dollars per season.  I could see Leddy getting a little more than that, maybe 6 years 25.5 million, but the Orpik contract was out of whack for Orpik and definitely would be for Leddy as well.

Isles Activate, Waive Carkner

According to Newsday, earlier today, the Islanders activated defenseman Matt Carkner off IR.  If you recall, Carkner had back surgery which has kept him out until this point.

Following activating him, the Islanders placed him on waivers.  Unless he gets claimed, Carkner will go to Bridgeport to get back into some game action as he works his way back toward the NHL.
I am surprised he is making a return.  When he got injured most made it seem like that he would never skate in an Isles uniform again.  

Offensive Explosion Powers Isles Over Jackets

photo by zimbio

Tonight, our Islanders exploded for six goals as they defeated the Blue Jackets by a score of 6-3.  Here are some of my notes from their Valentines Day showdown:

-When discussing this game, you have to start with the first line who dominated tonight.  To start with, Josh Bailey comes out of nowhere and almost gets a first period hat-trick.  Then, in the third period, the captain took over and showed why he is the best hockey player and arguably the top athlete in New York sports today.  Meanwhile, while he didn't have any goals tonight, Anders Lee couldn't be held off the scoreboard.  He assisted on four of the teams six goals tonight.  Doing that nearly doubled his assist total for the season in just one game.

-Although there were many positives to come out of this game, one negative was the power play.  After looking solid against Toronto on Thursday night, the power play was just dreadful tonight.

-While Jaroslav Halak didn't have his best game, he gave the team a chance to win which is all you can ask from your goalie.

-Good for Hamonic for standing up for himself tonight against the more experienced fighter in Scott Hartnell.  Hartnell gave Hamonic cheap shots on two separate occasions so the fight shouldn't have come as a surprise.  In fact, I was a little surprised Hartnell didn't get an extra penalty on the play since his punch to Hamonics face is what started the altercation.  

-After looking decent at times in the last few games, the opposite was the case for Brian Strait tonight.  This was seen most clearly at the end of the first period when he got burned badly by the Columbus forward en-route to their second and at the time game tying goal.  Even with the victory tonight, I think we might see Calvin de Haan in the lineup for the Ranger game on Monday.

Although it was disappointing to blow yet another two goal lead, the teams overall effort tonight was very good.  They generated tons of offense, played mostly good defense although they struggled at times in the third, and didn't let Columbus push them around either.  This week, they took care of the teams they should take care of.  However, next week the schedule gets a little tougher so the Islanders really need to make sure they bring their "A" game night in and night out.

Next Game: Monday vs the Rangers

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pre Game: Blue Jackets @ Islanders

Tonight, our Islanders continue their extended home stand as they play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The goalie match up features Curtis McElhinney likely in net for Columbus.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak will be back between the pipes for the Islanders.

The Islanders will ice the same lineup as Thursdays victory over Toronto.  This means that both Calvin de Haan and Michael Grabner remain out.  However, both are expected to return pretty soon.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lee Leads Isles Over Leafs

photo by zimbio

Tonight, on the back of Anders Lee, our Islanders defeated the Maple Leafs by a score of 3-2.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Tonight was arguably Anders Lee's best game in an Islander uniform.  He was credited with 2 goals but he could've easily had one or two more if not for great stops by Bernier.  He also created a few chances as well as drew a penalty.  Lastly, he was shooting everything at the net tonight.  His pair of goals tonight put him in a tie with Mike Hoffman of the Senators for second in the NHL in goals among rookies, 1 behind Filip Forsberg of the Predators for the league lead.  Also, 1/3 of Lees goals this season have been game winners with tonight being his sixth.  The other rookies better watch out because Lee might be making a late push into the rookie of the year conversation.

-While Halak was solid tonight, his attempted play of the puck in the third period was the definition of unnecessary.  With the struggles he has suffered through playing the puck behind the net, for him to go out of the net like he did in the third period of a one goal game deserves a sit down from Mike Dunham and the other coaches to try and get inside his head.  Given that, congrats to him also on getting 30 wins in a season for the first time in his NHL career.

-The power play was pretty solid tonight, especially in the first period.  They generated chances and had pretty good zone time.  It was a nice change from what we had seen in the last few games.

-Good timeout call by Capuano in the second period after the Leafs tied the game.  In the past, even this season he usually didn't do that, so he deserves some credit for doing that tonight.

This game was much better than Tuesdays debacle against the Oilers.  While the team did struggle a bit for a part of the second period, they pulled it together and ultimately put forth a solid effort tonight.  They need to build on this performance and bring the effort, specifically the first period effort game in and game out.

Next Game: Saturday vs Columbus

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pre Game: Leafs @ Islanders

Tonight, our Islanders play host to Phil Kessel and the fledgling Toronto Maple Leafs.

The goalie match up tonight features Jonathan Bernier in net for Toronto.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak will be between the pipes for the Islanders.

The Islanders will see one lineup change tonight as Cal Clutterbuck will return to the lineup for tonights contest.  Clutterbuck will dress alongside Brock Nelson and Nikolay Kulemin.  To make room for Clutterbuck in the lineup, Harry Zolnierczyk was sent back to Bridgeport.  Calvin de Haan is ready as well but will be held out of the game tonight.

Islanders to Maintain LI Presence After Brooklyn Move

From the time it was announced that the Islanders were going to move to Brooklyn, most fans figured that the teams presence on Long Island would naturally decrease with it having a greater presence in Brooklyn and that surrounding area.

However, that may not be 100% true.  We learned earlier tonight that the Islanders still intend on having a presence in the Long Island community, even after the team moves to Brooklyn.  Specifically, as of now, the team event at Adventureland which has become a favorite among fans is still scheduled to be held prior to the start of next season like it has been the last few years.

This should hopefully ease some peoples fears about the team disappearing from the area.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NHL News: Buffalo Acquires Evander Kane, Bogosian From Jets

Well, the Buffalo Sabres and Winnpeg Jets got the NHL trade season off to a huge start today.  According to multiple reports, the Jets have agreed to send troubled winger Evander Kane, top defenseman Zach Bogosian, and unsigned goalie prospect Jason Kasdorf to the Sabres in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia (Buffalo's first round pick in 2011), Brendan Lemieux, and their lowest 1st round pick in this years draft.
To say this is a huge deal is an understatement.  I think this is a great haul for Winnipeg given the situation with Evander Kane.  With Winnipeg right in the middle of the things in the West, this gives them a step up and a few more chips to attempt to add to their team as the trade deadline gets closer.

It Was Ugly, But It is a Win

Tonight, our Islanders managed to defeat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 3-2.  Even with the two points, this is a win that I am sure will leave a sour taste in some players mouths as with the way the Islanders played tonight, they didn't deserve the two points.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-The Islanders puck management was atrocious tonight.  They were, "out of sync" as the fan next to me at the game said.  That is putting it lightly in my opinion, they simply struggled at making simple passes tonight which was infuriating to watch.

-The team also had nothing left in the third period tonight.  The Oilers who played last night mind you were out skating and out hustling the Islanders.  The shot total reflected it to as the Oilers outshot the Islanders 15-5.  That is a very troubling sign that the coaching staff should be all over the team for.  The Islanders played down to their competition tonight and it showed.

-The penalty kill continued their pitiful play tonight.  We have the players that should make the penalty kill solid, but the system they play hasn't worked this season.  That failing system falls on coach Greg Cronin.  While there may have been minor tweaks made to the system at points this year, I don't recall a huge change to the system which seems insane to me because it didn't work while Cronin was in Toronto and the lack of success has followed him here.

-One of the few strong points of the game tonight was the play of Jaroslav Halak.  He really came up big at key points for the team tonight.

-Colin McDonald also had his second strong game in a row.  If he keeps this up, he may make the coaches job tough when Grabner and Clutterbuck get healthy.

-How Josh Bailey get the extra penalty for that altercation in the second period is beyond me.  I don't usually point out specific plays like this but that one truly had me baffled.

Even with the two points, an effort like this wasn't a good way to start a long home stand.  While they were fortunate tonight to get the two points, that may not happen again.  With some more weaker teams coming on the horizon, they really need to shape up so they can take advantage of it like they should.

Next Game: Thursday vs Toronto

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pre Game: Oilers @ Islanders

Tonight, our Islanders look to exact some revenge on the Oilers as Edmonton travels to Uniondale for the teams final meeting of the season tonight.  This will also be their final visit ever to the Nassau Coliseum.  If you recall, the Islanders fell to the Oilers 5-2 in Edmonton early last month.

With Ben Scrivens having started for the Oilers in New Jersey last night, look for Viktor Fasth to get the nod in net tonight for Edmonton.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak will be between the pipes for the Islanders tonight.

The Islanders lineup will be the same as Sundays win over Buffalo.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Isles End Road Trip Right With 3-2 Victory

photo by ESPN

Earlier today, the Islanders ended their three game road trip on the right note as they defeated the Sabres by a score of 3-2.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-While they were going against the worst power play in the NHL, the penalty kill had a solid outing today.

-While there were a lot of positives to come out of today, the Hickey Visnovsky pairing was not one of them.  At one point they were very successful as a pairing but I think that time has passed.

-Solid performance from Anders Lee today.  He could've easily had more than the one goal he was given credit for.

-Congrats to Frans Nielsen on his 500th game with the Islanders, he picked up an assist on Grabovskis game winner to celebrate.

-Speaking of the game winner, nice shot by Grabovski to put it past Neuvirth.  If they are able to get that more consistently from Grabovski, that will go a long way in cushioning the blow for the team as they try to get back to 100 percent.

-Another game, another power play goal.  While it still hasn't been consistently good, this is definitely progress compared to where they had been as a unit the last few weeks.

-While Halak played pretty well today, I am sure he will be the first to tell you that the score today shouldn't have been as close as it was.

Given the Islanders struggles recently and Buffalos place in the standings, this was a game the Islanders had to have.  For most of the game they actually backed that up with their play as they dominated portions of todays contest.  With the division tightening up, it would be really beneficial for the Islanders to be able to string a couple wins together here.

Next Game: Tuesday @ Home vs Edmonton

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pre Game: Islanders @ Sabres

photo by stadiumjourney

Tonight, our Islanders conclude their three game road trip as they travel to Buffalo to take on former Islander Matt Moulson and the Buffalo Sabres.

The goalie match up tonight features Jaroslav Halak in net for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Michael Neuvirth will be between the pipes for the Sabres.

The Islanders lineup will see a few changes this evening due to some player dealing with injury.  As was reported earlier today, Michael Grabner was placed on IR so he won't be in tonight.  Additionally, Cal Clutterbuck and Calvin de Haan will both miss tonights contest due to injuries sustained in last nights loss.  Taking their spots in the lineup will be Colin McDonald and Harry Zolnierczyk up front.  On defense, after being a healthy scratch the last two games, Lubomir Visnvosky will get back into the lineup in place of de Haan.

Isles Place Grabner on IR, Recall McDonald, Zolnierczyk

In a season marred by injuries, it appears as the bug has gotten to Michael Grabner again as he has been placed back on IR, according to reports.
With the Islanders set to play later today, they recalled both Colin McDonald and Harry Zolnierczyk from Bridgeport.  Everyone knows McDonald from his time here and this being the fourth time he was called up in the last two weeks.  For those that don't know Zolnierczyk, he is a similar player to Cal Clutterbuck but with less offensive ability.  In 47 games this year for Bridgeport Zolnierczyk has 36 points which matches his career high in points that he set last season.

With Cal Clutterbuck not 100%, on top of Grabner being out, that would seem to me why two forwards were recalled rather than just one.

Isles Fall 2-1 to Bruins

Last night, our Islanders dropped their 4th game in their last 5 as they lost 2-1 to the Bruins.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-While Johnson wasn't great last night, he did give the team a chance to win which is all you can ask from your backup.

-While the power play did convert on their first attempt, they left a lot to be desired after that.

-On the contrary, although the penalty kill did give up a goal last night, they did kill off a couple as well which is progress.

-Surprising to see the physical game from Strome last night.  Not only fighting Torey Krug, but also mixing it up with Milan Lucic late in the game as well.

-Much like the Flyer game with Steve Mason, we have to give credit to Tukka Rask as well who played a solid game.

This is probably the toughest stretch this Islander team has gone through to this point in the season.  How they respond to this will tell us a lot about the team going forward.

Next Game: Tonight 5pm @ Buffalo

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pre Game: Islanders @ Bruins

photo by bostonmagazine

Tonight, our Islanders continue their three game road trip as they travel to Boston to take on Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins.

The goalie match up features former Bruin Chad Johnson in net for the Islanders.  Johnson had his best start of the season against Boston back in October so the coaching stuff is hoping that he repeats that performance tonight.  Meanwhile, Tukka Rask is likely to get the nod in net for the Bruins.

The Islanders lineup will be the same as the Islanders shootout win over the Flyers on Thursday.  This means that Lubomir Visnovsky will be a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Isles Snap 3 Game Skid With Shootout Win

photo by zimbio

Last night, our Islanders snapped their three game losing streak as they defeated the division rival Flyers by a score of 3-2 in a shootout.  Here are some of my notes from the game;

-Big game for Cal Clutterbuck, after getting the tying goal late in the second which snapped a long goal drought for him, he went on to get the winner in the shootout.  While his line doesn't blow you away with their offensive ability, they have been very solid this season.

-Good to see Boychuk is ok after taking the shot to the knee in the second period last night.  

-Nice for Nelson to get back on the score sheet with an assist last night.  While he is in a goal drought right now, if he is able to continue getting helpers that should help his confidence.

-Have to give credit as well to Steve Mason who stole a point for the Flyers last night.

Coming off the three sub-par games in a row and embarking on a short road trip, last night was a game the Islanders had to have.  Hopefully, for the team, they are able to put together another positive streak like they have done a few times already this season and try and create a little more space between them and other teams in the standings.

Next Game: Tomorrow 7:00 @ Boston

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pre Game: Islanders @ Flyers

photo by ilikephilly

Tonight, our Islanders look to snap their 3 game losing streak as they travel to Philly to take on Claude Giroux and the Flyers.  

The goalie match up tonight features Jaroslav Halak for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Steve Mason will be between the pipes for the Flyers.

The Islanders will see one lineup change tonight as after struggling on Tuesday against the Panthers, Lubomir Visnovsky will be a healthy scratch tonight.  Taking his spot on defense will be Brian Strait.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lack of Effort Cost Isles in 3rd Straight Loss

Tonight, in what was one of the more infuriating games to watch this season to this point, the Islanders fell to the Florida Panthers by a score of 4-2.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-The special teams struggles continue.  I mentioned this last week, but I wonder if the thought creeps into their head to let go of Greg Cronin, or will Cronin be able to finish out the season.  To this point, pretty much everything he has attempted to do has failed miserably which doesn't reflect well on him and his ability.

-While it has fared better overall than the penalty kill, the power play has also been awful recently.  Most of the time the unit spends nearly half the time simply trying to gain entry into the zone.  I don't know what Doug Weight has to do, but he has to dig deep into that playbook of his and do something because what they are doing now isn't working.

-The Hickey-Visnovsky defensive pairing struggled a lot tonight.  They were both turnover machines, and when the Islanders got hemmed in their own zone it was more often than not this pairing on the ice.  While they have been successful in the past, maybe some time apart from one another will do them so good.

-Arguably, the only Islander to show up tonight was Anders Lee who accounted for both of the teams goals.  The first goal was a great finish by Lee on an excellent passing play set up by his line mates.  His second goal was more of what he has become known for, tipping a Travis Hamonic shot into the net.  While that was the only tip he got rewarded for, he was tipping shots left and right tonight.  While most of the team took a third day off tonight, Lee was one of the few people that bought his "A" game tonight.

-Halak had some struggles in net tonight to.  That second goal is one that Halak has to stop.  Especially with a defenseman coming down the ice, in that situation the little backhanded shot like that is one that can't go in.  Also, he really needs to stay in his net more often.  When he comes out to the play the puck, to put it frankly, it is scary.

-For the second game in a row the officials were very inconsistent.  Additionally, for the second time in a week our captain got hit with a cheap shot with no penalty being called on the play.  If a certain captain in Pittsburgh was the recipient of these cheap shots rather than our captain, people would be up in arms and the perpetrators would be subject to supplemental discipline from the NHL.  I guess Tavares may have been onto something when he said after the Bruin game about their being a second set of rules in the NHL.

Considering the Isles situation, losers of two straight coming into the game tonight, their effort was disappointing to say the least.  The Panthers were the team on the back end of a back to back and playing their third game in four days, but you wouldn't know that if you watched the game tonight.  Tonight, the Panthers made the Islanders look like they were the team on the back end of the back to back.  Given the teams performance in the last few games and the lack of effort that has been put fourth the last two games specifically, the coaching staff might want to look into making a lineup change or two in order to spark the team.  They made line changes tonight which save for the first unit really didn't accomplish all that much.  The Islanders really need a rebound performance on Thursday against the Flyers like they have been getting all season to this point.

Next Game: Thursday 7:00 @ Philadelphia

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pre Game: Panthers @ Islanders, Return of the Fisherman

photo by galleryhip

Tonight, our Islanders play host to Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers.  Tonight will also mark the return of the dreaded fisherman logo.  In warm ups tonight, the Islanders will wear modernized jerseys affixed with the logo that were auctioned off last month.  Tonight will also be one of the final times Panthers executive Bill Torrey will be in the Coliseum.  Torrey, better known as "the architect" was the GM of the Islanders from the teams inception in 1972 until he was forced to resign in 1992.
The goalie match up tonight features former Islander Al Montoya likely in net for the Panthers.  Montoya was with the Islanders for two seasons in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.  Meanwhile, after getting Saturdays loss off, Jaroslav Halak will be back between the pipes for the Islanders.

The Islanders lineup could see some changes tonight with the status of Casey Cizikas uncertain.  With Cizikas status unknown, the team called up Colin McDonald again yesterday for the second time in less than a week.  There could be changes to the defense as well as some players are banged up, according to Newsday.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Islanders Recall Colin McDonald...Again

Also today, according to reports, for the second time in less than a week, the Islanders called Colin McDonald up from Bridgeport with emergency conditions.  If you remember, the Islanders recalled McDonald last Friday morning, but sent him back to Bridgeport the next day.

Tavares Named 2nd Star of the Month

According to reports, Islanders captain John Tavares was named 2nd star of the month in the NHL for January.

Tavares had 16 points in 12 games in January as the Islanders closed the month in first place in their division.  Additionally, Tavares tied the record for most goals in an all star game scoring 4 on January 25th.  He was the first player to score 4 goals in an all star game and not be awarded the MVP award.