After three games, the Islanders are still looking for their first win of the season. It’s not that the team hasn’t played well, they have actually been scary good at times – but yet still suffer from either a lack of energy or experience late in games.
The team has spoken through the media about how gaining one point in each game, especially in two shootouts and one overtime in Ottawa just isn’t enough. They MUST play better, they MUST play for 60 minutes, not 55 or any other combination of minutes and/or seconds.
Some point to Scott Gordon’s systems, some point to Gordon himself – while others seem to point out a flawed defensive corps that SHOULD have been upgraded slightly during the offseason. Whatever the case, the Islanders have to play with the team they have, so the only real way around dealing with their shortcomings is by addressing what has gone wrong in each game.
Let’s look back at the three teams the Islanders have played since they opened the 2009/10 season:
The defending Stanley Cup Champions – Pittsburgh Penguins
The Islanders were out gunned all around, despite the Pens losing some key players during free agency, they are still potent and dangerous on the attack and defensively. The Islanders put forth a solid effort but the Pens would come back from behind and force overtime and a shootout. It was a game where we saw John Tavares play solid minutes and score his first NHL points right out of the gate.
Going on the road for the first time this season, the Islanders made their first trip up to Canada to take on the Ottawa Senators. The first period was scoreless with neither team really gaining momentum over the other. The Islanders fell behind 2-0 but would score late in the second period on an absolutely SICK toe-drag deke by Okposo and would get the equalizer on the power-play to force overtime. Unfortunately, the Sens would score 32 seconds in to deflate the hopes of the Islanders to gain the extra point.
Friday in Boston, the Islanders took on the Bruins and completely outplayed them in every regard for the first two and a half periods. Unfortunately, the flood gates would open due to a defensive break down and then a couple of bad bounces. The Bruins would eventually get a third unanswered goal to force overtime and then a shootout. The shootout win for the Bruins completely made those watching the game forget about the great play of the team earlier in the game – as well as another two points by Tavares.
This afternoon against a very HOT LA Kings (3-1-0) the Islanders (0-0-3) need to stick to what they have been doing right the last few games – puck possession, good passing, keeping their legs moving and of course a solid forecheck. Defensively, there are some lapses that they need to work on, puck support and clearing out the front of the crease as some odd deflections have wound up deciding the Islanders fate as of late.
Check out the preview on the Islanders website for more info on the Kings and who the Islanders need to watch out for this afternoon.
I will be at the game and sitting in the blog box doing a live blog, so be sure to check back after 2pm today for updates!