I’m back from Sunny Florida, as I am sure you may have seen if you follow me on Twitter!
I had a great time on our trip, a lot of exciting things happened – but now that I am back it’s back to business.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch any of the games while I was away. I did catch one period of the Ottawa game last Sunday (a really bad stream online), but the rest I caught bits and pieces of via the WRHU iOS app.
On to the good stuff.
The Islanders will be completing a seven game homestand this afternoon against the Capitals and are 2-0-2 in their last four. To have points in four straight is a huge accomplishment for this team at home, as they have had major struggles in front of their own fans. The team is one game below NHL .500 and only a few points out of the final playoff spot with 24 games remaining.
The Islanders have been extremely frustrated as of late, as evident by John Tavares slamming the bench door after a hit by P.K. Subban in the Montreal game and again against the Rangers. It seems the team feels they have not been on the receiving end of calls lately – in fact, they have received ZERO power plays in two recent games. Ultimately, when games are decided by questionable calls, or non-calls – this is bad and the feelings on this have been the same league wide. It boiled over after the game against the Rangers, with several players earning penalties and even assistant coach Brent Thompson being suspended two games for his comments to officials after the overtime loss.
There have been several Islanders contributing as of late: Brad Boyes, Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Matt Martin. The power play has been chugging away, but the Islanders have been allowing some goals on the penalty kill.
Michael Grabner now has 10 goals along with Tavares and Moulson and has done so playing less than 10 minutes per game and on a line that is a much more defensive line. It’s a shame he isn’t trusted with more minutes or hasn’t been given a look with different linemates.
The Islanders have found success playing their style of game, smart defensive hockey and good offensive pressure that generates scoring chances. The Capitals are a team that can be dangerous if given the opportunity, so they need to limit scoring chances against and spread out their defense as they have against other opponents during the last week.
It should be a great game, and it’s a key two points during the final game of this home stand.
Now, only if they can generate some power play opportunities this afternoon. Only time will tell.