Over the past few years the New York Islanders may have found consistency on the top line due largely in part to the chemistry between John Tavares and Matt Moulson. But the same cannot be said for much of the depth on offense.
That is until Casey Cizikas began centering Matt Martin and Colin McDonald.
The trio have been playing together as a fourth line, or as head coach Jack Capuano has liked calling them, "the energy line."
On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders took the ice with a new found confidence. This new beaming attitude carried over from their shoot out win against Ottawa on Sunday.
It would be a stretch to say that the home woes are in the past completely. However, there is optimism among the fan base after stringing together two impressive wins at the Coliseum over teams from Canada.
The most promising feature of Tuesday's game had to be the energy that the players exhibited. There was a jump in their step and the Isles kept the pressure on all night long. The Isles' excellent game could be captured in one picture of Casey Cizikas dumping his Montreal foe into the New York bench.
It took a dramatic finish, but the New York Islanders finally won a game on home ice during a Sunday matinee game, defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in the shootout.
The Islanders got on the board early in the game when Brad Boyes scored his fifth of the year, beating Robin Lehner glove side under the crossbar. The play started when Matt Moulson received a pass from Mark Streit at the Senators blue line and fed Boyes the puck as he was flying up the slot.
Not long after Boyes' goal, Matt Martin was found banging bodies all over the ice. In fact Martin had 6 hits in just over 3 minutes of play during the first period. Senators enforcer Chris Neil took exception to Martin's physical play and challenged him to a fight, but Martin ignored his request and continued to take out Senators along the wall.
He finished with 11 hits on the night. Coming into the game, Martin was just one shy of tying Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott for the league lead of 94 hits.
For the New York Islanders, home hasn't been very sweet. One of the National Hockey League's "road warriors" with a record of six wins three losses and one overtime loss, the Isles are conversely one of the league's worst home teams. How bad? 2-8-0 bad. The worst home start in franchise history kind of bad.
No, Nassau Coliseum has become "Home defeat home" in 2013.
After New York fell 4-1 to a talented and tough Bruins team, fans are clamoring to have the Islanders finish the remainder of the season on the road.
The Isles continued to look lost and slept walked through another tough home defeat on Tuesday. The team was able to put spurts of decent hockey together but it wasn't enough. The Bruins came in with an impressive record and their daunting presence steam rolled the Islanders from the first whistle.
In front of a raucous, Bruins jersey littered crowd, the Isles continued to search for answers on home ice.
After a promising first period with chances for the Isles, they were able to knot the game on a gritty goal by Casey Cizikas. Unfortunately it all went down hill after the Islanders went into the dressing room for the first intermission.
The Islanders begin a 7 game home stand tonight when Carolina storms into the Nassau Coliseum. New York has found a way to get back to winning ways and packing their bags may have been the medicine for their losing ways.
Fans have been frustrated with the fact that the team has not played well at home this year. Their league worst 2-6-0 record at home supports the notion that they are simply not playing up to par in front of the home fans.
For whatever reason, the Islanders have played much better on the road and even in losing efforts they just come across as a stronger team. They are truly fortunate that they have found ways to beat great teams in their own buildings marking down a 6-3-1 record away from Long Island.
On this edition of the Hot Seat, Erol Bal talks about Rick Dipietro riding the Bus in Bridgeport and how this chapter may not be over as many seem to think. Also, what are the Islanders chances of making the playoffs this season?
As the Islanders took to the ice in Montreal, they tried to erase their losing ways of the past few weeks. Aside from two wins against the Rangers and Devils, the Isles have come up empty in every game as of late. Isles are 2-7-0 over their last 9 games before they took the ice against the streaking Habs.
Perhaps the Isles hit rock bottom during what we will refer to as an assassination of dignity and credibility. After falling flat in a lopsided 7-0 loss to the Flyers, they were attempting to get back to winning ways in Ottawa.
Unfortunately, the Isles were unable to get back in the win column falling 3-1. They were very much in the game but poor goaltending and key mistakes by DiPietro was their demise.
In danger of yet another significant losing streak, the Isles didn't start well against the Habs on the road.
Keeping up with a disturbing trend as of late, they continued to give up early goals. They were down 1-0 before they could even get their muscles loose.
This is not an attack on the man. This is not a damnation of Jack Capuano. Don't take this article as creating a scapegoat for the Islanders' recent five game slide. There is only so much that the coaching staff can do and the rest lies within the players who make big money to execute.
Simply put, the Islanders are not executing. During this losing streak, they are able to right one aspect of their game at the expense of another. For example, the Islanders could not score yet Evgeni Nabokov found a way to make ridiculous saves. Now the Islanders have recently found their scoring touch again and they can't keep the puck out of their own net. (Photo Credit: Flickr/Robert Krowal)
It is this type of losing streak that makes Isles fans want to pull the hair out of their head. They literally are losing in every way imaginable. Creativity is something they do not lack when finding ways to lose.