Regardless of their unexpected success taking them into the playoffs last year, there were many areas that the Islanders needed to improve coming into the current season. The core of the team was established, but among many other things the defensive corps was a major concern and the departure of captain Mark Streit only made things worse.
The New York Islanders played host to the Florida Panthers this afternoon, looking to redeem themselves after a very embarrassing 6-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils yesterday afternoon. To the Isles' dismay, that would not be the case as they squandered a two-goal lead in the third period to lose to the Panthers by a score of 5-3.
The Islanders (10-20-7) come limping into this contest, desperate for a win, after failing to record a victory in 14 of their last 16 games. The Wings have not been too successful themselves of late as they have been completely ravaged by injuries. Detroit (17-12-9) is just 3-5-2 in their last 10 games and their normally strong home ice advantage is anything but with a record of 6-9-6.
It's been repeated dozens of times before: the Islanders defense is not as good as it needs to be, and the goaltending between the pipes is a major area of concern. But what hasn't been acknowledged is that the Isles offense, which has more or less been excused, needs improvement as well (Photo credit: THEFANBLOG/Flickr).
There's no denying that Matt Carkner's play has been less than superb, and that Matt Donovan has continued to make the expected rookie mistakes. Both of these players have led to Travis Hamonic and most notably Andrew MacDonald being forced into accepting more minutes and responsibility that is perhaps too much for this duo to handle on a nightly basis.
Add that Lubomir Visnovsky's veteran leadership has been missing for quite some time now and you have every hockey pundit saying "ya think?!" when asked if the Isles defense may be one of the reasons why they have slid in the standings.
But see if you can answer this: aside from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek (while healthy) and Frans Nielsen, where has the offense come for this team?
As the annual Thanksgiving week home stand approaches, the state of the Islanders is not what fans had expected at this point into the season. After last night’s 5-2 loss to the Flyers, the team now sits at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division looking to find any way possible to recover from this recent skid.
Prior to the Islanders game against the Carolina Hurricanes last night, defenseman Aaron Ness was recalled for some help on the blueline. It could have been for help, or for a bit of a shake up as well which I think is needed for this team at the moment.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers got off to a rough start to their season winning only one of their first seven games, however they seem to be back on the right track having won their last two games against the Worcester Sharks and Norfolk Admirals.
Can the Isles contain the Bruins? Boston is middle of the pack in the NHL for goal scoring, but the Islanders, at least so far, are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Tonight will definitely be a challenge for the boys in blue.
The challenge will not only be in their own zone but also in Boston’s end of the rink as Boston is boasting a team goals against average of 1.83 so far this season. It will be important for the Islanders to press the Bruins backup netminder and continue last night’s puck barrage.