Isles get Mauled in Flat Effort Against Panthers

TheDriveForFive's picture

Well, it appears Rick DiPietro is healthy, even though through the first few minutes of the game he had most Islander fans’ hearts in their mouths. After coughing up an early goal that had DP way out of position, he settled down and made several solid saves, effectively keeping the Islanders in the game. Because of that, the Isles biggest concern turned into their biggest strength by the end of the game.

If the Islanders offense could have gotten something going, this game could have been won. However, they didn’t have the same jump in their step they had against the Lightning. It just felt like every time they got a cycle going in the offensive zone, someone committed a turnover or failed to pull the trigger. Simply put, many of the youngsters have to shoot the puck more and stop hesitating. There were a few instances last night where that happened and it ended up costing the Islanders the game. If this team is going to battle for the last playoff spot this season, they have to finish on offense. That didn’t happen last night.

And therein lies the biggest problem with this team this season; they don’t have a bona fide finisher aside from Bill Guerin. So they have to get the youngsters and guys like Andy Hilbert, Trent Hunter and Richard Park to pot in a few every time they get a chance. Otherwise, this is going to be a very long season.

The only line that really had their legs in my mind last night was the Jon Sim, Guerin and Doug Weight line, who were buzzing in the offensive end, making passes and taking shots when they had to. However, Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun battled back after a less than mediocre appearance against the Wild a few days back and shut them down. Even a pair of powerplay opportunities couldn’t get this team going on offense. Because of how dormant the sticks were last season, I’m sure many fans are hoping that the team doesn’t fall into the same rut they did last season. If they do, things could end up even worse. Remember, this team doesn’t have the depth on the forward lines they had last season either.

The defense, aside from a few terrible passes in his own end by Thomas Pock, the Islanders defense was pretty solid. Again, their play in front of the crease needs to improve, but they weren’t allowing as many second chances as they were in the other games they’ve played this season.

That was one of the only real positives I could take out of last night’s game.

Looks like Scott Gordon is going to have some video to watch this week before the team’s net game with the Dallas Stars.