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.
In a battle of the Olympics’ top two goal scorers, the New York Islanders came out on top on the strength of Lubomir Visnovsky’s snap shot from the slot 1:55 into overtime.
Toronto’s Phil Kessel and the Islanders’ Michael Grabner each had five goals in Sochi to pace Men’s hockey in the Olympics, and each of these wingers factored in tonight’s offense.
The NHL trade deadline is scheduled for March 5th, just a few days shy from officially being one month away. Typically, that would leave for plenty of hockey to be played between now and then, but that isn't the case this year with the Winter Olympics coming up in just a little over a week.
In fact, there are only seven NHL games to be played between now and then.
They currently hold a 21-28-8 record that is good for 50 points and 14th in the Eastern Conference. They are also 10 points away from the eighth placed Philadelphia Flyers.
With the Islanders having lost their last five games in a row, all signs point to this team becoming sellers at the deadline.
Center Ryan Strome has been returned on loan to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. Roster space had to be made with defenseman Radek Martinek returning from the IR. To put it lightly, this is another questionable move the Islanders front office has made and fans are already up in arms.
The New York Islanders continue their western road trip tonight with a stop in Los Angeles to face the Kings, still searching for their first regulation win after the last 11 games played.
The Islanders will still be without Evgeni Nabokov tonight, as Kevin Poulin is slated to start between the pipes. At the other end of the ice will likely be Ben Scrivens, who has taken over for Jonathan Quick after he went down due to injury. Scrivens has played exceptionally well, helping keep his team in the top three of the Pacific Division and 5th in the Western Conference.
Tonight, the Islanders led most of the game. As is the norm, it was the first line of John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo who led the way.
After defenseman Thomas Hickey forced a turnover with the Pens skating into the Islanders’ zone, the Isles top line skates into the Pittsburgh zone. Tavares hits Okposo with a pass and the forward skates up the left wing. Okposo then backhands the puck on net where it ricochets off of Pitt defender Olli Maatta and past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
With injuries to key players such as Lubomir Visnovsky, Thomas Vanek and Evgeni Nabokov, the New York Islanders are struggling in more ways than one. Their power play is ineffective, the defense is porous and they cant string together a streak of wins no matter what they do. Different players stepping up to lead and the youth in Bridgeport being ready to contribute could be the difference for the Islanders playoff aspirations this season.
Ryan Strome has been developing with the New York Islanders organization for the past two years, playing with their AHL farm-team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr).
In 10 games with the Sound Tigers in 2013, Strome scored seven points in 10 games (two goals and five assists). He has continued the high scoring pace this season as well, notching 14 points in nine games played (three goals and 11 assists) as the team's top scorer.
He also was cited as the best player in the Islander rookie camp before the puck dropped for this season as well.
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.