Oct 20, 2011

Recap: Lightning - 4, Islanders - 1

The Tampa Bay Lightning (2-3-2) defeated the New York Islanders (3-2-0) by a score of 4-1 on Thursday night.

(G, A)

1st Period: 
NYI: 0, TB: 1 - (PP) Ryan Malone (2); Vincent Lecavalier (2), Marc-Andre Bergeron (7_
2nd Period:
NYI: 0, TB: 2 - Vincent Lecavalier (3); Marty St. Louis (3)
3rd Period:
NYI: 0, TB: 3 - Steven Stamkos (3); Teddy Purcell (3)
NYI: 1, TB: 3 - Michael Grabner (2); Mark Streit (4), Brian Rolston (2)
NYI: 1, TB: 4 - Brett Clark (2); Teddy Purcell (4)


Mathieu Garon - 16 saves on 17 shots, .941 SV%
Al Montoya - 26 saves on 30 shots, .867 SV%

Final Score: 4-1 TB
Attendance: 18,181

The Islanders came out looking both flat and unprepared after a solid first five minutes. Tampa Bay made the necessary adjustments and really closed off the Islanders offense in the neutral zone all night. They deserved the win and were the better time for practically the entire game. Certainly, not what the Islanders wanted in their first road game of the season.

Marty Reasoner and Brian Rolston both had bad games tonight. They were giving up pucks, couldn't generate any forecheck, and looked sloppy and lethargic all around. These two veterans will need to be better as the season moves forward.

Kyle Okposo looks lost out there. Where did the player of two years ago go? He needs to be better in all three zones, as he has the potential to be a key part of this team. Likewise, Frans Nielsen was practically invisible tonight as well. Both have had a lackluster first five games of the season.

On the third Tampa Bay goal, Mark Eaton made the right play by clearing it to the boards with Steven Stamkos right on him. No Islanders wing supported the play, Mike Mottau did his best "fish out of water" impression leaving Stamkos all along in front. By far the ugliest sequence in a very ugly night. That said, Eaton did have a solid game blocking a few shots and passes.

Travis Hamonic was a little off his game tonight. He wasn't smart with the puck and backed up on Lecavalier as he waltzed into the slot, wristing one by Montoya with a ton of time and space to make soemthing happen - which he did.

John Tavares and Steve Staios were the best two Islanders out there tonight. Tavares is at the point of consistency that separates the great from the good. He is becoming a nightly "must-watch" player.

The decision to scratch Blake Comeau for Trevor Gillies still remains a complete mystery to me. Comeau may deserved to be scratched, but the Islanders need to find a suitable replacement for him in the lineup. Simply moving Matt Martin up a line and throwing Gillies in for five shifts is not good enough for a team with playoff aspirations. As we saw tonight, this causes players to be mixed and matched every shift. It's not a recipe for success and needs to be rectified by Saturday night's game.

The best thing the Islanders can do is move on from this. A win against the Panthers would still make this a solid two-game mini road trip. This is not the time to panic.


CH: Simply put, this game was awful. The Islanders have now put two clunkers in the first five games of the season. Better to get them out of the way now. Over time, this team needs to get more consistent or else they will not be able to keep up mid-season when teams are ramping up for a playoff push. It's not alarming yet, as they showed they can be a very good team at times. They just need to put it all together. That all said, a calming presence in net in Evgeni Nabokov should get the call on Saturday. We'll see what Jack Capuano decides to do.

Next game: The Islanders next game is Saturday night in Sunrise, as the Isles take on the Florida Panthers in a rematch of opening night. Gametime is at 7:30 on MSG+.

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