Let me say this: I believe in this organization. It’s tough to remember that this team is still rebuilding, and the best is yet to come. It’s tough mainly because we have seen how well this team can play when they’re “on”, yet they run hot and cold so often (almost every period is a different story), that you never truly know what you’re going to get.
Last night’s 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators was the perfect example of this, and it’s frustrating. It also defines the Islanders’ biggest problem throughout the past two seasons. Their offense cannot score goals on a consistent basis, period. It’s great to see this team win games with five goals, as they did on Saturday night went Tavares went off, but this team finds a way to follow up that performance with one total goal in a two-game span.
Now, I would love to put their woes on the defense and goaltending, but the thing is, this team is clearly “built” for offense. It’s not like Nabby or DiPietro are stealing games, because they haven’t stole one this entire season. The Isles shouldn’t need to rely so heavily on them, though. Not the way they find opportunities.
The Isles found a way to outshoot their opponent again, only for their offense to come up short again. As much as we want to pin this one of Ricky, truth is, this game was a 2-1 game up until the final three minutes. That third goal was horrible, but the offense’s killer instinct was worse.
How many times do I have to hear that they “ran into a hot goalie”, because I don’t want to hear it anymore. The Islanders threw 38 pucks at Craig Anderson, to score one goal tonight. Ten days ago, the Isles threw 43 shots at Ryan Miller, only to convert twice. It’s not like they’re having problems finding the net (they average 30.2 shots per game, 9th in the NHL); their offense is just so bi-polar, it’s maddening.
Fun fact: the Islanders are now 0-8 when scoring 2 goals or less this season. The Islanders have scored 29 goals in their six wins (4.83 goals per game), but only 17 in their ten losses (1.7 goals per game). Again, they live and die by their offense, and that’s because that’s how they were built. Their team isn’t suited for fine defensive play, but when you look at this roster, you see guys who are supposed to be scoring goals, and they’re not scoring them in timely situations.
Did you know the Islanders have failed to score in the first period eight times this season, and in five of those times, they failed to score in the second as well? In five of those eight games, BOTH teams remained scoreless after one. The goalies are giving this team a chance, but the players aren’t giving the goalies any support.
The Islanders forwards need to show their killer-instinct. No more of these Josh Bailey crossbars, or Kyle Okposo fanned-attempts. Even Moulson is failing to get a good hold of the puck when he’s standing in “his” spot. The Isles need change offensively, and I’m not talking about how their 4th-line is playing. They need an offensive spark, because even JT is human. When he’s contained, so is this entire team, and it cannot be this way. Bring up Nino and Nelson. Mix up the lines. Something needs to be done with this offense. If we’re going to live and die by the amount of goals we score, we better make sure we can score goals consistently. The fire-power needs to be there, and if our “goal-scorers” such as Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner are non existent, the Islanders better make sure they have a few guys ready to pick up the slack.
Anyways, who’s up for some plus/minus?
Plus: Kyle Okposo played well in the corners last night. He worked hard, and he registered an assist. It was directly a result of his hardwork.
Minus: Kyle Okposo found himself in the penalty box during the second period, which ultimately led to the Senators taking the 1-0 lead. Bad penalty by Kyle for the second straight game.
Plus: Casey Cizikas works his ass off.
Minus: Matt Martin failing to hit a wide open net in the first after great cycling by that 4th-line.
Plus: The Islanders getting 38 shots on net.
Minus: The Islanders scored only once.
Plus: DiPietro had his best start of the season.
Minus: Any positive feeling about it was washed away when he allowed his second soft goal of the night, making it a 2-goal game with just over two minutes to go.
Plus: Travis Hamonic putting six shots on net.
Minus: Two defensemen led this team in shots on goal (Hamonic 6, Streit 5).
Minus: Still taking that extra two seconds to set the puck on their sticks, and then shoot, as opposed to pulling the trigger with golden opportunities.
Minus: Thomas Hickey was beaten a lot last night.
Minus: I don’t think I saw Michael Grabner once in this game.
Minus: When that first line runs cold, the whole team runs cold.
Minus: Islanders failing to score in the first two periods, again.
Minus: John Tavares getting frustrated. I don’t think it’s fair for Islanders fans to already be booking his flight out of NY. He’s not going anywhere, but he wants to win, and wants the help now.
The Islanders drop to 6-9-1. They face the red-hot Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night, against another “hot goalie” in Carey Price.
Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated!
Filed Under: New York Islanders
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