Isles Lose Game to 'Canes, Top D-Man Visnovsky to Concussion
The Islanders began the first 39 minutes of the game against their division foe Carolina Hurricanes, by playing weak, uninspired and just plain bad hockey. They ended up finishing the contest with some fight, but it ended up being too little too late as they fell to the 'Canes by a final of 4-3 in front of 13,008 fans at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
The 1st period was uneventful for both teams as they only took 7 shots a piece, but right at the end of the stanza defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky took a shot to the side that seemed to rattle him as he was helped off the ice by the trainers and some teammates. Initial reports said that Lubo hurt his shoulder but we found out later that the veteran was diagnosed with a concussion. He is currently listed as day to day and Coach Capuano stated that he will be reevaluated tomorrow.
The Hurricanes got on the board first 1:05 into the 2nd with and even strength goal by Jiri Tlusty, his first of the season. Tlusty slammed home a puck that was loose after an odd man rush that Carolina just seemed to want more. Michael Grabner watched his man skate hard as he drifted in his own zone leaving goalie Evgeni Nabokov vulnerable.
New York's poor play continued as Andrew MacDonald took a bad interference penalty and the Hurricanes power play quickly stuck with another Hurricane forward registering his first goal of the young season. Jordan Staal received a pretty pass from Ryan Murphy and recorded his first tally by wristing it past Nabokov. The Hurricanes stretched the lead to 3 as Jeff Skinner sped down the middle of the ice and used the backhand to beat Nabokov.
Skinner made a mistake a couple of minutes later by high sticking Matt Carkner and Matt Moulson scored about 20 seconds into the Islanders third power play of the night. Moulson was assisted by MacDonald and John Tavares with just about a minute left in the 2nd.
This latest goal seemed to give the Isles some life but their hard work just was not resulting in goals. New York's aggressive play ended up costing them another odd man rush as Alexander Semin streaked across the left side and saucered a beauty of a pass to Tlusty who ripped his 2nd goal of the game and season between Nabokov's legs.
Even though the Isles trailed by 3 they continued to push the tempo. Skinner ended up taking yet another lazy penalty, this time for hooking, and Frans Nielsen cashed in on a loose puck in the slot. This was Nielsen's fourth goal of the season and has had a nose for the puck so far this year.
The Isles power play would get one more crack at it with three minutes left in the game on a delay of game by Justin Faulk as he launched the puck out of play in his own zone. The first minute of the PP was unsuccessful so New York would pull Nabokov to make it a 6-4 two man advantage. Kyle Okposo finally got the puck passed Canes' goalie Cam Ward just as the penalty expired and shrunk the lead to 4-3 with just 1:01 left. This was Okposo's third goal this year, he only collected four all of last season.
The Islanders kept their goalie on the bench but they couldn't establish anything in the Hurricanes zone and dropped their record to 1-3-1 over their last five games, 3-3-2 overall. Carolina improved to 4-2-3 and in turn held on to their 2nd place position in the Metropolitan Division 3 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, while New York stayed in 3rd place, 6 points back.
The Islanders must start the game with the intensity that they had for the final 21 minutes of the contest. They have had issues with playing a full 60 minutes so far this season, something they must work on if they want to play into May.
Hopefully the injury to Visnovsky is not as severe as some of the recent concussions in the NHL. He is a big veteran leader on the team and took over the quarterback position on the power play once former captain Mark Streit left for Philadelphia this past off season.
Capuano also shook the lines up a lot throughout the game, including putting Moulson back on the top on with Tavares and Josh Bailey on the other side. The Isles continued to look weak offensively, especially even strength.
The Islanders will look to bounce back next week with games vs. Vancouver 10/22, @ Pittsburgh 10/25, and vs. Philadelphia 10/26.