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November is typically a tough month for hockey, teams begin to gel and string together wins – like the Rangers have or; in the case of the Islanders, begin to struggle due to weaknesses.

The Islanders have struggled mightily the last few weeks, they’ve had trouble scoring, hitting, and skating. They also have far too many players who are struggling offensively, or just struggling in general. Back on November 1st, I had started a post outlining all of the offensive woes of the current roster – but I got side tracked with the SEMA Automotive show in Las Vegas. I’ve taken on some more responsibility with my friends TV Show and Website – Motorz TV.

In any case, players up and down the roster are struggling – Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Brian Rolson, and Marty Reasoner – just to name a few. Head Coach Jack Capuano has stated several times now that there are certain players that are simply along for the ride and not bringing what they can to the game. He’s done little to wake his team up however, only scratching Blake Comeau for two games last month. If you have players who feel they automatically deserve a roster spot, sorry they should be sitting.

Thankfully, Nino Niederreiter returns tonight from his two week conditioning stint in Bridgeport. His style of play and energy should be a welcomed and much needed boost for the slumping Islanders.

Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported via Twitter earlier today, that Capuano will not speak about his roster adjustments until closer to game time, but – he did say that Evgeni Nabakov will be in goal for the Islanders tonight.

The Gameplan

This shouldn’t come as a surprise – but the Islanders need to execute their shot selection better. The last handful of games the Islanders haven’t been able to get through their opponents forecheck, or even establish anything once they gain the offensive zone.

Defensively they’ve been no better, as they’ve allowed the first goal on the first shot against way too many times. They have also made a ton of mistakes, miscues and not been hitting aggressively enough. It’s almost like the entire team is afraid to be physical, well – aside from Martin and Streit.

Pressure – simply put, pressure the puck carriers coming into the defensive zone. Put pressure on the opponents defense to force turnovers and for once, just shoot the puck. The team has held onto the puck for way too long at times, it’s almost as if they haven’t learned anything last year.

Fortunately, the Islanders always seem to step up their game when it comes to their cross-town rivals. If there was ever a game that the team would break out of their funk – tonight would be the night.

I know that everyone watching in that arena will be amped up to see some spirited hockey, but will our Islanders?