Islanders Disgust Fans on Home Ice; Questioning Reluctance to Play DP

Forget this one. Nothing good comes out of this game. The Islanders fell to the Flyers 7-0 in a game where there was really nothing going the Islanders way. Some will say they knew the Islanders would lose this one as soon as the team announced that they would be wearing their alternate jerseys. Maybe it was destined to be a bad one because it was an afternoon game. All I know, this game was reminiscent of last season as soon as the Flyers scored an ugly goal on their very first shot of the game.

It took only twenty-six seconds for the Islanders to fall behind, but that was only the first issue that paralleled the 2011-12 season. Later in the first period, the Islanders would also get a full two-minute 5-on-3 power-play. Unfortunately, the Islanders didn’t convert, which they couldn’t do once with the two-man advantage last season.

The power-play, like rest of the team, looked out-of-sync from start to finish (0/5). The Flyers did a good job breaking up passes, and keeping pucks from reaching Ilya Bryzgalov (only had to make 19 saves), but the Islanders just were not even playing their “C” game today.

“C”: the grade I gave the Islanders’ goaltending in my first quarter evaluation of the team. Today made me feel BAD about giving them a C, as Nabokov allowed 7 goals and looked bad on every one of them.

In my opinion, despite the lack of intensity from the Islanders through this one, I think the most questionable decision was to allow Evgeni Nabokov to come out for the Islanders in the third period.

There are several reasons to why I feel this way. I’m not going to say Nabby is not our best option in goal, because he most certainly is, but as I said yesterday, his play has been pedestrian. Today, his play was worse than any of the two starts we have seen from Rick DiPietro this season.

Nabokov let up seven goals on 25 shots (.720 save %), but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Through two periods, Nabby allowed four goals on 15 shots. Believe it or not, the Isles should have pulled him and let Ricky play-out the remaining twenty minutes of the game.

Why? How about why not? Rick is slated to start tomorrow night in Ottawa. Through two starts, Rick’s numbers are pretty awful, but he’s looked quicker, and as I’ve said, he looks more like a rusty goalie than an injured one.

Rick needs ice time, and today’s circumstances should have given DP the start. After the 2nd, it should have been clear the Isles were not winning this one. They were being out-skated, out-played, and simply out-worked by the Flyers. The Isles weren’t generating anything, and Nabokov’s play in the crease (I should say out of the crease considering he was way out of position for several goals in this one) wasn’t helping. Let Rick clean this one up.

Maybe Nabby wanted to stay in net, and maybe the Islanders wanted to just “get the game over with”, but you know what? Rick needs some time to play.

It’s possible that the Islanders did not want him to play in front of the Coliseum crowd, which ripped him to shreds one week ago (we REALLY need to stop that), but if Rick wants to shake off the rust, he needs to play.

Is it possible that it’s something else, though? Could it be possible that maybe the Islanders just do not have confidence in Rick DiPietro? There’s a scenario that the Islanders may not have faith in their $60 million man anymore. Maybe they don’t feel as if he would be any better than Nabby was in that abysmal third period.

Rick needs to get on to the ice, though. If the Islanders don’t allow that to happen, then there’s no point in having him on the roster. If he’s going to be on the roster, he has to be given the chance to be a capable back-up. Two games doesn’t tell a story. Give him a chance. He was booed at the Blue & White scrimmage, he was booed Opening Night, he was blamed for the Bruins loss, and made a couple of big saves towards the end of his lackluster performance against the Canes. We have to let him play. It’s not anymore of a “guaranteed loss” than the way Nabokov played this afternoon.

Plus/Minus

Plus: This game came to an end.
Minus: The final score was 7-0.
Plus: Frans Nielsen won 64% of his face-offs today.
Minus: Kyle Okposo’s penalty in the 2nd period, which took away an Isles power-play and allowed the Flyers to increase their lead to 3-0.
Minus: Nabokov slipping out of the crease on, just about, every Flyers goal. Terrible positioning this afternoon.
Minus: John Tavares was frustrated. When he’s frustrated, he tries to do too much. Also, he finished with a -3.
Minus: Visnovsky’s failure to keep the puck in the offensive zone twice on the same power-play in the second period.
Minus: Brian Strait is going to be out “a while”, according to Jack Capuano. Strait has been a gem for the Islanders. One of the two defensemen on this team with a + rating. I don’t know if most of us realize how important he has been to this team.
Minus: The Islanders were way too slow with their shots today. Golden opportunities presented themselves, and the players held on to the puck for 1….2…..3… more seconds, closing that window.
Minus: Team was beat to every puck.
Minus: Islanders continue to allow goals to obnoxious pests like Zac Rinaldo.
Minus: This has been more of a season thing, but the fact that the ice girls come on to the ice after the zambonis go off the ice really pisses me off. No one, but the players, should be touching the ice first.
Minus: Isles are now 3-9-3 in those horrid third jerseys, according to Eric Hornick.

The Islanders play tomorrow night in Ottawa, and are now last in the Atlantic Division. Their record is 6-8-1, good for 13 points.

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About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants

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