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/Minus: Both Games
-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.
- 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.
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