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