Third Period Plague Crushes Isles as They Head into the Weekend

This Islanders team is different. It’s better than last season, yet just as frustrating. It’s strong on the road, but absolutely miserable at home. One thing is for certain, and has carried over from 2011-12: the Islanders are still not a good team in the third period.

Oh, no, the Islanders are actually awful in the third. Currently, the Isles lead the NHL in goals against in the final frame with (47). In comparison, last season, the Islanders ended the season as the NHL’s worst team in the third period with 93 goals against.

You would like to believe that the Islanders could overcome it They have actually been a very, VERY, good team through two periods in 2013. Through 31 games, the Islanders have either been tied or winning going into the third in 26 of those games. They’ve only won 13 of those games.

The Isles just cannot figure it out in the final twenty-minutes of any hockey game. As a result, this home-stand has been a disaster, and could possibly ruin the Islanders season.

The New York Islanders should be 3-0 on this current home-stand, but three third period collapses have cost the Islanders six points in the standings. That’s the harsh reality, but it’s fact. The Islanders have not trailed after two periods in any of the three games. They also haven’t come away with any points in the standings.

On Thursday night, the Isles fell behind early to the Montreal Canadiens, but found a way to tie the game, and then pull ahead. The lead did not last long, as P.K. Subban would tie the game several minutes after Lubomir Visnovsky gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead.

Three third period goals against would sink the Islanders, who allowed a goal in the first two minutes of the third for the second straight game. Jack Capuano’s Islanders would fall apart, and the Islanders would fall to Montreal by the score of 5-2 in Kevin Poulin’s second start of the season.

Unfortunately, the Isles’ third period woes continued last night against Pittsburgh. The Isles dominated the Penguins in the first, outshooting them 14-3, and pulling ahead with a 1-0 lead. In the second, the Isles also looked like the better team, taking the lead again after the Pens tied it, but Nabokov would allow a trade-mark softy with 13 seconds to go, less than 3 minutes after the Isles pulled ahead, that gave the Penguins the tie through forty-minutes.

Moving ahead to the final period, the Isles would allow a goal within the first minute for the second straight game, and the third straight game in the first two minutes. It was the typical defensive breakdown that led to a 2-on-1 in Pittsburgh’s favor, and Brandon Sutter would slam Matt Cooke’s pass home.

The Isles would get a couple of power-plays (finally) towards the end of the period, but fail to score on any of them.  Pittsburgh would add an empty-netter as the clock reached zero, and that would be the game. The Islanders would lose 4-2, extending their losing streak to 3, and the Penguins winning streak to 11.

There you have it. A quick summary of the Islanders back-to-back nights heading into the weekend. They came away with no points in the first three games of this home-stand, which might as well be a road-trip with the amount of visiting fans that show up to the arena on game night.

The Islanders aren’t a successful home team, and they aren’t successful in the third period. If the Islanders could figure out either one of those, they would be a playoff team right now. The window’s closing, though. Thirteen of the Isles’ final seventeen games come against teams that are seeded 6-15. Ultimately, it’s up to the Islanders.

Plus/MinusBoth Games

Plus:

-John Tavares continues to do John Tavares things. That goal against Montreal was impressive, and he set up two others in the back-to-back games.

-Josh Bailey’s 5 shots last night. He scored. See what happens when you shoot?

-Isles saw goals from Visnovsky and Streit. Against the Pens, Visnovsky almost scored for his third straight game.

-I thought Matt Carkner played well in his first two games back. He played over 18 minutes against the Penguins.

-Islanders play in the first two periods in both games. They could play with the best of them.

-That “Fire Cappy” and “Wang Must Go” chant never came to fruition. Time and place. Not the time, nor the place. Not while in reach of a playoff spot, and not while the Penguins are in our building.

-Kyle Okposo’s effort led to Bailey’s goal against the Penguins.

Minus:

- The goalies. It’s hard to put blame on Poulin because he hasn’t played in so long, but there were a few he would like back – especially the first two against Montreal. Also, Nabokov allowing that goal at the end of the second was a killer. Happens way too often where Nabby gets a huge piece of the puck, only for it to end up behind him.

-Hamonic was a -2 in both games.

-Sitting Thomas Hickey against Pittsburgh. Hickey has not been a minus since February 11th. It’s not a tell-all statistic, but he’s been solid for the Islanders.

-Michael Grabner’s been invisible in his first two games back.

-Josh Bailey with 0 shots against the Canadiens.

-Moulson and Boyes a -3 last night.

-Marty Reasoner couldn’t buy a goal, and now Marty Brodeur has just as many goals as Reasoner through fewer games over the past two seasons.

-Andrew MacDonald telegraphs his shots.

-I like Keith Aucoin, but I don’t like how he has broken up the Islanders 4th-line.

-Kyle Okposo’s had 1 shot on net in the past two games.

-Sometimes, it takes all five players to get the puck out of defensive zone.

-Grabner failing to shoot on a 2-on-1 against the Canadiens, where he had the puck on his off-wing and had a clear path to the net. Instead, he passed and turned it over.

The Islanders have fallen back to below NHL-.500 and are 13-15-3. The pack is beginning to separate itself from the Islanders. Time to pick it up 200%, or fall out completely.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.

Follow @ChrisTriants

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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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  1. Isles5 says:

    To say that this isn’t the time or place for “Wang Must Go!” chants is reprehensible. Now, more than ever, with the team in striking distance of a playoff spot, Charles Wang’s neglect of this franchise is absolutely disdainful. By making even the slightest attempt to field a competitive team they could have a playoff spot firmly in their grasp. Instead we are reduced to watching the same garbage we have seen for the last several years since the “rebuild” began.

    Understand I am not asking him to spend to the cap limit. He could start by simply icing a team that makes the cap floor… or at least comes close. Even if that is too much for the crook, then he could simply allow the team to do things like waive Marty Reasoner. This team could be improved in so many ways, some expensive, some downright cheap. Wang doesn’t even have a passing interest in this team or the fanbase as he has allowed it to dissolve into the league’s laughingstock.

    In the thirteen years he has owned the team they are likely headed for their 8th playoff-less season. We lost one season to a lockout. The remaining four years we were bounced in the first round, three of those years failing to reach the 6th game of that round.

    In that time he has hired only ONE experienced NHL coach and that was a man who was blackballed from the NHL. He has hired ONE experienced NHL GM. That man too was desperate to get back in the NHL. Even he only lasted 40 days. Wang only likes to hire “yes men” like Garth who will feel forever indebted to him. He keeps Cappy as coach because he probably agrees to be paid an AHL salary. Wang has stripped down and gutted this franchise as we have virtually no front office outside of Garth. When has there ever been a successful professional franchise run in this manner? Never.

    We have had a run of lottery picks. Outside of the one obvious “gimme” pick in Tavares, none of those lottery picks have even scratched the surface of NHL success. This organization is rotten from the core out and until Wang is gone it will remain that way.

    You start off your article saying this team is better than last year’s. Really? Because they are on pace for pretty much the same garbage record this year as they were last year… and the year before… and the year before…

    As somebody who “covers” this team your inability to tell the truth as to what ails this franchise is nauseating. You think we should just all sit there and continuously take it as Wang spits in the face of this franchise’s fan base. As he continues to defecate on the pride and tradition that once accompanied the crest on our sweater. In the end it’s people covering this team, both mainstream media members and others, who allow there to be absolutely ZERO accountability, that share in the blame for the joke that we have become.

    So I am curious, when do all of the Wang apologists think would be an appropriate time for some accountability in this organization? When will fans be allowed to voice frustration and disapproval at what has become of their team? After another five draft lotteries? Another 20 years without winning a playoff round? Another QUARTER CENTURY WITHOUT HOME ICE IN A PLAYOFF SERIES?!?! If not now, when? Because I don’t think I can wait another Marty Reasoner shift for it to happen

    • ChrisTriants says:

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.

      While I appreciate the comment, I disagree. I believe in the “rebuild” and I believe the Islanders are well on the way to the playoffs sooner than later. At this point last season (31 games in), the playoffs were already out of the question. I guess you forget the early losing streaks the Islanders were involved in during the beginning of the past two seasons?

      There is never a time to rip apart your home team in its own arena. If you think chanting “Wang Must Go” is going to get him to sell the team, you’re damn out of your mind. The only thing it’s going to do is prevent players from coming to this “circus,” which is as much created by the fans as it is created by ownership and management. There will NEVER be a day where Charles wakes up and says “I’m going to sell the team because the fans want me to.” I’d like to know what move you would like this team to make? Is there anything specifically this team could do? Perhaps they can trade Kyle Okposo for Steven Stamkos.

      I believe in there needing to be accountability. Zero accountability starts with the team, not the media or the fans that cover it. Jack Capuano should not be the coach of this team, but he will not be replaced this season. His decisions from behind the bench are miserable. That’s not the media’s fault, nor my fault. The only thing that the media does anyways is “defecate” on the Islanders. Wang hasn’t made any moves based off that, though – so much for making a statement.

      This team has talent. This team’s defense was supposed to be better than last season. Hamonic and AMac have regressed, but I guess that’s Wang’s fault. Kyle Okposo is on pace for 10 goals in an 82 game season, but I guess it’s Wang’s fault that he isn’t scoring goals. Nabokov let’s up a soft goal that deflates this team every single night. I guess Wang should have signed the sumo wrestler instead.

      I’ll tell you the truth. This team has talent. They’re not playing up to it. This team is underachieving, but you want to hear something different. I don’t officially cover this team, but I’ve been watching them since the early 90s and I can tell you that Wang is the best owner this franchise has had since I started watching.

      You’re allowed to voice your frustration. I’m open to all opinions, but it’s “nauseating” to me when fans rip apart their own team on home ice. There has never been a more divided fan-base in the history of professional sports.

    • Felon says:

      Complete and honest assessment of what really ails the Isles. Brilliant!!!

  2. Isles5 says:

    I actually haven’t forgotten the early season losing streaks from past years. Nor have I forgotten the five game streak we had earlier this year, the four game streak they had earlier this year, and the current, three game streak. Through 31 games last year they were 11-16-6, good for 28 points. This year they are 13-15-3, good for 29 points. SO excuse me if I am not rejoicing over a one point difference.

    I am under no illusion that Wang will sell the team over what fans chant. That fact, however, should not prevent fans from voicing frustrations or opinions. Especially since the media will never hold him accountable for the joke of a franchise they have been under him. I started cheering for the team before you did and can tell you that claiming he is the best owner they have had in that time is not exactly saying much. There owners have been a collection of crooks and guys who bought them for real estate. Wang fits both of those categories.

    As for what I’d like to see them do? I love how you throw out a nonsense trade as if that is what fans are clamoring for. Believe it or not there are plenty of things this team could do that are not pie in the sky wishes. To start with I’d like them to truly spend to the cap floor, rather than icing a team well beneath the floor every game. I’d like them to acquire real players who could help them rather than fantasy cap hits. I’d like them to waive Marty Reasoner and let Brock Nelson play in his place. I would like them to fire the coach who is clearly in over his head. I would like them to replace said coach with an experienced NHL coach. I’d like him to hire a scouting director, like most teams have. I’d like them to once again employ a director of player development since, you know, player development is sort of important when you are in the midst of a rebuild. None of these things are asking a lot. None of them are asking him to go above and beyond. They are basic things that professional organizations do.

    When I speak of the media holding him accountable, what I mean is that they should be asking the tough questions, calling him out for running a stripped down, gutted organization. Capuano never has to answer questions about his job security. Garth Snow never has to answer questions about his job security. All they get are softball questions from Newsday’s lackey Arthur Staple and the merry band of bloggers to whom Wang gives access. What a joke. Botta, for all his warts, at least would call them on the rug for different things and they respond by pulling his media credentials? How minor league is that?

    You think fans chanting “Wang Must Go!” would make the team a circus? THAT would make it a circus? Not firing a GM after 40 days? Not hiring the backup goalie to take his spot? Not BANNING Pat LaFontaine from the organization? Or playing the golden child Ricky for 5 years after it was apparent he couldn’t play anymore? Trading for Tim Thomas doesn’t come across as a circus type of move? Firing Billy Jaffe and replacing him with Butch? Having your radio broadcasts on a college radio station stocked with interns doesn’t make us seem like a circus, but fans, who have had enough of this charade chanting “Wang Must Go!” is where you draw the line?!?!

  3. James says:

    Sorry Chris but Isles5 is right. The crux of the issue is this. If you say anything bad about Isles brass ou lose your media credentials to the team. Whereas fans like Isles5 and I do not.

    Your blog isn’t as bad as the crap that Cappellini or Daniel Friedman spout but all of you bloggers who get this forum to write about this team, need to start holding Islanders management accountable for assembling a team that is no better now than they were 6 years ago when the rebuild started. Know what their record was in year one of the rebuild after 31 games? 15-14-2 with 32 pts. Yeah we have Tavares here but this rebuild has seen zero improvement in 6 years of lottery picks. Perhaps if the season’s major move wasn’t to acquire a 35+ contract to get the Islanders more cap $ they have done nothing to improve the team. For every one of Snows waiver picks ups that work 5 do not.

    Stop defending the ownership because it makes you seem foolish.

    • ChrisTriants says:

      Thanks, Isles5 and James. A lot to read, so I’ll answer as best as I can.

      I just disagree with both of you. Respectfully, of course, but I disagree. Wang won’t spend. I get that. He’s very cheap with this team. He hasn’t always been, but once the Town of Hempstead stepped all over his projects, he has been. Personally, I don’t think Wang will own this team when they enter Brooklyn. I’ve made comment on this before, as his interest was never the team itself, but the potential it could net by using the team as the centerpiece for his Lighthouse Project.

      I’m not so much defending ownership, but telling you this team is underachieving. As I mentioned before, they are, INCLUDING, Marty Reasoner, who scored 15 goals on a terrible Panthers team before signing here. Is Wang the best for this team? Absolutely not, but the players on this team, outside of a few, are not meeting expectations either. I don’t believe that every case is money = talent. Ottawa is icing a team with less on-ice payroll right now….5th-spot. Sorry for that “pie in the sky” example, just get it a lot. “Make a trade” with no one in mind.

      I agree that I would like to see Brock Nelson, Nino Niederreiter and all the rest of them. I also think the Islanders will be better off once they finally get the opportunity to play – like addition by subtraction – , but clearly there’s no guarantee it will happen this season. It’s all about 2013-14. Nobody wants to hear that, but that’s when were going to truly see if the Islanders prospect pool is going to look like anything solid.

      What can I say, though? Does my voice really matter? I never had a chance to sit in front of Charles Wang, Garth Snow, or Jack Capuano. Hell, I don’t even have access. I don’t like “Simple Jack”, as I call him. No system, no accountability for his players. I also do not think Garth’s done a terrible job. He’s been hampered by the payroll, and has done what he can do – waiver-wire moves included. When the spending restraints weren’t there, he went out and brought in Ryan Smyth. It’s a different game these days, unfortunately.

      In terms of the rebuild, it’s frustrating and a process. This would have been a good year to see Strome and Nino, but it wasn’t the case. Fact is, out of all of Snow’s lottery picks, the Islanders have only seen two – Nino and Tavares. Nino was put in a shitty situation. Bailey, despite ALL of his flaws, happens to be one of the better players that entire draft. Snow made the right call considering everyone else was clamoring for Nikita Filatov. Other first round picks include de Haan (not management’s fault that he’s hurt), Nelson (we like him), Strome (should be great), Reinhart (developing needed). Along with those guys, there are other prospects to look forward to. Who’s to say they don’t impress? Suddenly, everyone’s views change?

      Perhaps I’m working with a lot of “what ifs”, but it’s all we have right now. I would do things differently if I had the reigns, but I don’t. Nor do we, nor does anyone except for Charles. Point is, I just don’t see what good it does to chant “Wang Must Go.” We’re not getting anybody’s attention. The hockey world already hates us, thinks we’re irrelevant. They all know what goes on. Wang has the team, though. Until he sells, or starts making money, team’s going to operate this way.

      Also, the record you gave me from last season was through 33 games. Through 33, Isles had 28 last season. Through 32, Isles have 31. Could be a 5-point difference on Tuesday, unless you mixed up the record’s numbers. I still believe this team may make the playoffs. Being two points out, I can’t say it’s out of the question.

  4. KO21 says:

    The Isles did a great job in their last game of this home stand. They pulled through and held their lead in the 3rd period against the Panthers. Maybe they finally got the 3rd period Monkey off their back and they will be better from hear on in.