The 2013-2014 New York Islanders season was filled with hope and promise long before it even began thanks to a spirited playoff run last year against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Optimism filled the island with high expectations and preparation for a year that would see the Isles return to playoff glory and even better position in the standings (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
Sadly, things are looking quite the opposite with each game that passes.
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.
After another gut wrenching loss, the Islanders must look to thereal reason they are losing. The refs are always bad, Cappy has tried every line configuration there is, and the goalie play has actually been decent. Thomas Vanek has placed the most recent maloik on this team and it is time for everyone to realize it.
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.
On the day that the Islanders revealed their new threads for the Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium, they will look to get back to their winning ways in front of their home crowd. The New York Islanders will be taking on the Winnipeg Jets, who are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. On the other side of that, is the struggling Isles who has won just 2 of their last 10 contests. They have only walked away with 4 of 24 potential points. These losing ways have the Isles resting rather uncomfortably in the basement of the Metropolitan Division with a measly 19 points.
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?
All of the dreams of a positive season surrounding the Islanders have turned into nightmares. The Islanders fell to another division rival Saturday night as the Flyers held off the Isles late push with a 5-2 victory at a sold out Wells Fargo Center.