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Islanders Hockey Blog | Page 27

Written by Christian A. | 22 October 2011

The Islanders went 0-2 during their two game road trip to Florida, with their most recent loss coming tonight against the Florida Panthers.

The Islanders managed to keep the game close up until the very end, although the team played another game in which their offense was less than par to what it should be. Through two periods the Islanders recorded just 10 shots on net. Their opponents had 24.  And it wasn’t until the third period that the Islanders found the desperation that they should have had through the first two periods.

Mark Streit put the Islanders in the lead 1:01 into the first period on a power play goal. The Islanders would not sustain the offensive pressure and allowing the Panthers to control the play for a majority of the first and second period. The Panthers eventually tied the game up at one off a Kris Versteeg goal.

In the second the Panthers captured the lead off a backhand goal by Matt Bradley at 13:39. The goal lit a spark underneath the Islanders and they managed to tie the game on a power play goal by John Tavares. At 14:32. Mark Streit placed directed a shot at the stick of Tavares and he was able to redirect the shot past Jose Theodore.  The Panthers regained the lead in the third period after a tip in goal by Tim Kennedy four minutes in. They sealed the win with an empty net goal by Shawn Matthias in the final minute of the game for a 4-2 victory over the Islanders.

This is the second game in a row the Islanders have looked flat for a large portion of a game and have been unable to sustain any pressure on an opponent. The lack of offense is now a major concern for the Islanders, especially with a home and home against the Penguins this coming week.

However, the Islanders did have a successful night on special teams. The penalty kill unit killed both Panther power play opportunities and the power play unit scored both New York Islanders goals in the game. They were able to sustain pressure on the Florida Panthers when they were out there, but late in the game they could not produce a goal when they needed to the most. A large part of that has to do with the goaltending of Jacob Markstrom, who came into the game late and stopped al 18 shots he faced. Markstrom made key saves during the Islanders 5 on 3 and 5 on 4 power play opportunities late in the game.

Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau, who played 12:18 and 13:42 respectively, were relatively unnoticeable through most of the game. Comeau did have good scoring opportunity early in the game, but did not play the way he should have played after sitting the past two games in the press box.

The Islanders come back home to face the Penguins on Tuesday, expect some changes to be made between now and then to fix the lack of offensive production.

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Written by Christian A. | 21 October 2011

Last nights 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning exposed flaws in the 2011-12 Islanders, mainly the lack of secondary scoring.

Through the first five games the Islanders have primarily had their scoring come from the top line of Tavares, moulson and Parenteau, but have not gotten much production out of their other three lines. Okposo led the team with four shots on goal last night, but there was no cohesiveness with his linemates Nielson and Grabner.  By the second period head coach Jack Capuano had begin to make adjustments to his lines, primarily swapping Brian Rolston and Kyle Okposo.

“Our line combinations, for what ever reason, we couldn’t generate offense,” Capuano said in a post-game interview with MSG Plus. “There’s a good chance (of a shake up in lines) happening. Some guys deserve more of an opportunity, maybe some more minutes, but nothing to panic about yet.”

The players too understand that they need to produce more points.

“Still we gotta create more offense,” Grabner said. “Still not playing like we did last year, gotta get more pucks to the net, keep our legs moving a little more and feed off each other.”

The Islanders will have a chance on Saturday to get things back on course when they finish their two game trip Florida trip in Sunrise to take on the Panthers. Capuano will most likely make some adjustments to the lineup. Hopefully stimulating the offense to produce more.

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Written by Kenny Cari | 17 October 2011

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Written by Christian A. | 17 October 2011

In four games, New York Islanders star John Tavares already has five goals, three assists and eight points. The 21 year old Tavares has started his third NHL season with quit a bang, which includes scoring a hat trick in Saturday night’s game against the rival New York Rangers.

Since the season opener Tavares has looked like a stronger player. He’s a lot stronger on the puck and his skating ability has picked up. During the offseason he attended a power skating camp and reviewed game film to make adjustments to his game.

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano called Tavares the team’s best player following the Islanders 4-2 victory over the Rangers.

“He struggled his first game, but he knows what he has to do,” Capuano said. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself, you just leave him alone, he’s a student of the game, he works extremely hard and he’s going to get his chances. Right now he’s playing with confidence and he wants to help this team get into the post season.”

Matt Moulson, the Isles top line left-winger and Tavares’s friend, wasn’t too surprised at Tavares’s ability. Following Thursday nights 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, a game in which Tavares nearly had a had trick, Moulson believed Tavares would have a few hat tricks this season.

“It stinks, but I’m sure he’ll have a lot of three goal games this year, so not to worry,” Moulson said Thursday.

It only took Tavares one game to get his first of the season.

“He works hard every single day on his game and makes himself better on the ice and off the ice,” Moulson said on Saturday. “He’s just committed to being one of the best players in this league. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and when he does that he’s a scary player to play against. Like I said his first year, he’s only going to get better every year. The more mature he is and understands what he’s capable of and I think you’re seeing glimpses of it here.”

Time will tell what Tavares is truly capable of, but if he continues to play like the way he has early on then the team, and its’ fans, can expect big things to come.

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Written by Kenny Cari | 15 October 2011

Islanders vs Lightning

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Written by Christian A. | 15 October 2011

The best rivalry in New York sports starts up again tonight at 7pm. The Islanders will be playing the hated Rangers for the first of six meetings. The Islanders won two of the six matchups last season; winning 6-4 in the first game and 6-2 in the final meeting of the season.

Meet the Opponent:

The Rangers will be coming out strong and looking for their first win of the season. They were defeated in their first two games of the season in Sweden; falling to the Kings and Ducks in overtime. The Rangers have not played a game since last Saturday.

-No goaltender has been announced, but the Rangers will most likely send Henrik Lundqvist to start. So far he’s 0-0-2 on the season with a .931 save percentage and 1.86 GAA.

-The power play has been a struggle for the Rangers. They have not converted on one power play opportunity (0-8) so far this season.

-On the other hand the penalty kill has been a strong point for them. They’ve killed 11 of the 12 (90.9 %) power plays they’ve faced.

-The Rangers have been the best team in the league when it comes to faceoff’s. They’ve won 66 of 114 faceoff attempts, which is good for a 57.9% faceoff winning percentage.

-Ranger fans were very happy to see Marian Gaborik and new addition Brad Richards get on the score sheet in the fist two games.

Islanders News and Notes:

-Evgeni Nabokov will get his first start as a New York Islander. A surprising move by head coach Jack Capuano, but one that makes sense since he has not played this season and needs to get some playing time in sooner rather than later.

-If you haven’t heard, Rick Dipietro will be out indefinitely with a concussion.

-The Islanders have been stellar on the penalty kill. They are 14 for 15 on the PK, with the lone power play goal given up in the first game on a 5 on 3 against the panthers.

-However the power play has not been great for the Isles. They have only converted on one of the ten opportunities they’ve had no comments

Written by Christian A. | 14 October 2011

Rick Dipietro will be out indefinitely with a concussion according to reports today.

During practice on Wednesday Dipietro took a shoot to the mask that forced him to leave the ice.  He underwent tests on Thursday and news broke today of the concussion.

It is a tough break for Dipietro, who was coming into the season looking to regain the trust of the fans and return to his old form. During camp and the preseason Dipietro seemed to be moving in the right direction and was expected to start on opening night.

With Dipietro now out of the lineup the goaltending rotation will become easier for head coach Jack Capuano to manage. Fans will be seeing a lot of Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov until Dipietro returns.

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