It has been a long week for the New York Islanders. The early season road trip has been an absolute disaster for the Isles and dropping a 5-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday continued the misery. Columbus came into the game losers of five straight, but clearly was a team that just wanted it more last night as they did something that has been the bugaboo of the Isles all season; they played the full 60 minutes.
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.
The New York Islanders returned home tonight to face the Boston Bruins, looking to build on last night's 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. And they did just that, defeating Boston by a score of 3-1 led by Kyle Okposo's three assists, strong goaltending from Kevin Poulin and Thomas Vanek notching his first goal as an Islanders forward.
The game was played in front of a packed Nassau Coliseum crowd, featuring both Isles and Bruins fans. In fact, the fans from Boston were loud, often and early. But the Islanders faithful would respond, letting the visiting fans know that they weren't exactly welcome at the old barn.
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.
The New York Islanders return home to host the Philadelphia Flyers after playing the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road last night, which resulted in a 4-3 win.
The Flyers arrival on Coliseum ice tonight also means the return of former Islanders captain Mark Streit. The puck-moving defenseman was let go over the summer and signed with the Flyers as an unrestricted free agent. He currently has two assists and is a -4 on a struggling Flyers team that is 2-7-0, sitting in last place for the entire league.
On the other hand, the Islanders have continued to find ways to earn points and win hockey games, currently holding a 4-3-3 record on the year. They sit 7th in the Eastern Conference and are in second place in the Metropolitan Division.
The New York Islanders wrapped up their homestand with a battle against the Vancouver Canucks. They are a rare opponent for the Isles. But, the man behind the bench for the Canucks is a familiar face. John Torterella, the former coach of the New York Rangers, is now leading the way for Vancouver
Going into camp this season a majory story line for the New York Islanders was who was going to step in on defense for the recently departed Mark Streit. Streit wasn't only the team's captain, but power play quarterback and large contributor on offense. The void that he left made for competition in camp among Islanders prospects as Garth Snow elected to not sign or trade for any defensemen. The clear cut front runner for the position was Matt Donovan who was figuring to be challenged by Calvin de Haan and Aaron Ness. Donovan put up huge offensive numbers in the AHL and as expected he eventually won the spot in camp. As expected he has been able to contribute offensively but has also found himself a healthy scratch multiple times this season. The reaction from fans has been mixed but I don't think it is as bad as some people are making it seem.
The Islanders began the first 39 minutes of the game against their divison 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 Islanders home stand continues tonight as they welcome a new division rival, the Carolina Hurricanes to Nassau Coliseum for the first time this season. This will be the first of 4 meetings between the two teams and the first of 2 on Long Island.