Islanders Still Searching For Answers

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Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders

Tonight’s Recap

Another home game, another loss as the New York Islanders continue to search for answers to their late season swoon. In a game they never really were in from the outset, the Isles dropped a 3-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks, who clinched a playoff spot in the process.

The first period saw the Islanders come out with an opening twenty minutes that can only be described as lazy and sleepy. Anaheim dictated play with their cycling and down low puck control and combined with the Islanders fondness for not being able to clear the defensive zone effectively, made for a dominant Ducks stanza that somehow ended with the score 1-1. After Rickard Rakell gave the Ducks the lead with a centering pass that banked in off the skate of unlucky Isles defenseman Nick Leddy, Lubomir Visnovsky, making his return to the lineup, fired a blueline blast that went in off Ducks blueliner Simon Despres.

In the second, the Islanders clearly came out with more jump but still conceded a goal early at 1:46. Kyle Palmieri was allowed to stand in front of Michal Neuvirth unchecked (Johnny Boychuk) and score on a falling sweep around the Islanders netminder. That was followed by more mental lapses for the Islanders as Lubomir Visnovsky was caught cheating on a line change while the puck was deep in the Ducks zone. Cam Fowler spotted it and sent a crisp pass to Andrew Cogliano, who beat Nuevirth to the backhand for a 3-1 Ducks lead after two periods.

The third period saw Anaheim do what they do best. Utilize their size to control the Islanders in the neutral zone, make smart clearances of their zone by chipping the puck high into center ice and keeping the crease in front of Frederick Andersen clear. The only mishap was when Fowler spotted Casey Cizikas a beautiful tap pass for the Islanders center to tap over Andersen to make the scoreline look deceivingly close.

Head coach Jack Capuano in his post-game holds belief his team will get through this adversity and figure things out with the playoffs looming in less than three weeks. “It’s just us in that room. Not you (the media) but us. It’s a great group and they know what they have to do. They will get things figured out. Teams go through this all the time.”

Captain John Tavares echoed his coaches sentiment that the players have work to do. “We are pressing, especially on the power play. It’s the time of year when the games are so tight and I don’t believe we are far away. We are losing a lot of one goal games lately. It sounds weird, but you have to relax and let the game come to you.”

The games are coming all-right…but the question has to be asked at this point. Are the Islanders going to be ready?

 

Observations

  • Neuvirth was Ok in the Islanders goal. Not bad, not spectacular. Could have used a big save though on Cogliano.
  • Nick Leddy led all Islanders with 23:11 ice time.
  • Travis Hamonic had 9 shot attempts to lead the Islanders.
  • Tavares, however, was an awful 7-14 in the faceoff circle.
  • Matt Martin played a team low 10:08 but led with six hits.
  • Tavares continues to press and make bad passes in all three zones. His first period giveaway led to the Ducks first goal. The captain needs to be better.
  • Isles will not win in the playoffs without a powerplay. Almost  two minutes of 5 on 3 against the leagues 23rd ranked unit. Two fabulous saves by Andersen but have to find a way there.

Stars Of The Game

1. Frederick Andersen – 29 saves, none bigger than the two when shorthanded on Tavares and Strome.

2. Ryan Kesler – Fantastic 20:18, 5 shot attempts and 14-5 on faceoffs.

3.  Nick Leddy – always so smooth, was the only reason the Isles got the puck out of their zone all afternoon.

 

Game Video

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