Montreal Part Deux – Almost Got It

I don’t know if everyone else saw the game last night, but it was – how do you say, more of the same. Or was it?

If you wish to read my ridiculously bleak and furious tone during the game, head on over to my Twitter Feed to read my list of troublesome habits and areas of improvement the Islanders need in order to actually compete this season. I took part in a healthy debate with many of the other furious Isles fans last night too – which is always fun.

Instead of listing what went wrong first, let’s list the things that actually went O.K. for the Islanders:

  • The Islanders power play managed two points last night. In previous games, the Islanders were not afforded many chances with the man advantage, so it was nice to see it spring alive last night.
  • Jeff Tambellini decided he was a player, scoring his second and third goals of the season in the same game last night – both on the power play.
  • They enjoyed solid goaltending from Martin Biron, whom undoubtedly wanted a better showing from his previous attempt in Montreal last week.
  • The fourth line continues to have scoring chances.
  • The first line continues to have scoring chances.
  • Franz Nielsen is storming back into action and is a game away from breaking out.
  • The Islanders came from behind two seperate times to force overtime, a big difference when a team is struggling and needs to take as many positives as they can.
  • The Isles centers have been on point so far, last night was not an exception.
  • The Islanders penalty kill is also doing well.

Unfortunately, I have a laundry list of things the Islanders did not do well last night:

  • The Islanders were often caught out of position and were flat footed in their pursuit.
  • They chased Montreal around all night long and at times resembled a pee-wee hockey team.
  • There were numerous times where I spotted HORRIBLE line changes. Blake Comeau gave up skating back on defense and that’s what lead to the odd man rush in overtime that lead to the winning goal. You don’t leave a play when you are one of the only players capable of getting back.
  • The fourth line needs to finish their scoring chances.
  • The first line, especially Tavares, needs to finish their scoring chances.
  • The defense really needs to control whatever rebounds their goalies give up. I mean how many times are you going to blame bad bounces for goals.
  • Kyle Okposo gets his face shoved into the glass and Matt Moulson is the only player to stick up for him? Where was the physical response to him requiring stitches?
  • Way too many odd man rushes

I am sure you get the idea at this point.

My honest opinion of what is ailing the Islanders late in games, isn’t fatigue and the blame cannot be places solely on the coaching staff either – look no further at the makeup of this team. Young players without much NHL experience. Sure, there are veteran players strewn about the team, but this is the type of game you will have with a cast of kids and AHL players. That’s what a rebuild is, and this is what happens to a team rebuilding.

When Pittsburgh and Washington drafted Crosby and Ovechkin respectively, they did not just wake up one day and decide to light the league on fire – it took time, effort and most importantly – patience. The Islanders are not a player or two from being competitive, they need serious upgrades on offense and defense in order to have an even (keyword) spread of talent across four lines.

But that’s just this bloggers opinion, so take it how you will.

  • Michael Schuerlein

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