No push back….
Those were the words of Jack Capuano as he walked into his post game press conference. He had just watched him team throw away a golden opportunity to gain 2 points on the idle Toronto Maple Leafs. Instead the Islanders were dreadful at the Nassau Coliseum on Presidents Day and were crushed by the 7th place Senators 6-0.
The Islanders were in a hole early as the Senators scored off a weird angle just 1:08 into the game. Norris Candidate Erik Karlsson scored his first of the day (more on him later). Just :27 later, Jason Spezza buried his 26th of the season. Nick Foligino and Chris Neil had the assists and it was 2-0. Both goals were completely uncontested and the Spezza goal was off a giveaway. Giveaways were the theme for New York today as they gave away the puck all afternoon. So before the fans could blink, the score was 2-0. Capuano, immediately noticing his team was flat and deflated, pulled rookie Kevin Poulin (who to that point had already seen 7 shots on goal) for Al Montoya. Things settled down for a bit, until Erik Karlsson buried his second of the game (and the period for that matter) and his 12th of the season. Alfredsson and Gonchar had the assists and the Sens were ahead 3-0. The shots on goal in the 1st period were 15-5 Ottawa and the score heading to the dressing room was 3-0.
The second period was more of the same as the Islanders continued to give away the puck and as Capuano said in his post game they didn’t “push back”. Ottawa again outshot the Isles 12-5 and added their 4th goal of the game by Chris Phillips. Matt Martin got Zack Smith to fight him, (and pummeled him in the process) but that fight was way too late as the Islanders were already down 4-0 and there was only about 7 minutes left in the period. That fight, or another, needed to happen in the first period. This is were the Islanders miss a Michael Haley or a Trevor Gillies (or a Zenon Konopka for that matter).
The 3rd period just got ugly. The Senators added 2 more goals, one by defense man Brian Lee (his first of the season) and another by Hart Trophy Candidate Jason Spezza. Erik Karlsson assisted on both of those goals (giving him 57 points on the season) to hand the Islanders a crushing 6-0 loss in front of 15,818 on President’s Day.
What I didn’t mentioned is PA Parenteau and his day. Parenteau was given a slashing minor in the first. Once he returned from the box, a usual called trip went unnoticed by the referee’s Mike Leggo and Gord Dwyer. Parenteau made sure that Dwyer heard his displeasure and was given a unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-min misconduct penalty. The second period was OK for PA but midway through the 3rd, his stick was slashed and broken in 2, when he looked at Dwyer and saw no penalty was called he lost it….throwing his stick to the ice and grabbing a new one from the bench. On the ensuing play, as Parenteau was getting a new stick, Brian Lee scored to make it 5-0. Parenteau immediately went to Dwyer and let him have it. That was the end of his night as Dwyer gave him a game misconduct. I know it was a frustrating day, but Parenteau didn’t make it any better only being on the ice for 11 minutes. The Islanders are a much better team with him than without him.
Next up for the Islanders is the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night at the First Niagara Center. The Sabres, much like the Islanders, are a hot and cold team. After winning 3 straight earlier this month, they have dropped 4 of their last 5. Though their last game was a 6-2 smoking of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sabres are 20-26-7 since starting the season 5-1. One of their 4 victories in February are against the Islanders (a 4-3 SO win at the Coliseum Feb. 4th).
- The Islanders AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers went 3-0 this weekend. They are now 16-1-1 since the beginning of 2012. Anders Nilsson won all 3 games for BST.
- Though I didn’t get to ask in the post game press conference, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some lineup changes for tomorrow night’s game.
- Can’t blame Kevin Poulin for the early 2-0 deficit, he was barraged by shots and the Isles gave away the puck like 10 times in the first 25 seconds of the game. Capuano pulling was more indicative of the Islanders play than his own. Montoya did what he could in relief, it didn’t matter who was in net, the team came up short, they let the goaltenders down today.
- Great to hear the Islanders and Evgeni Nabokov will begin contract extension talks soon. Regardless of what happens moving forward, it seems less and less likely you’ll see Rick DiPietro in an Islanders uniform again.
- If the Islanders lose tomorrow in Buffalo, the Sabres will be ahead of them in the standings. They currently site at 58 points, 6 points behind the idle Toronto Maple Leafs. Today’s game was the Islanders game in hand on the Leafs.
- The usual magic number is 92 points for that 8th and final playoff spot. The Islanders would have to get 34 points in their final 23 games. That’s 17 wins (or some variation of 17 wins) just to get to 92 points. That’s a tall order. Would also have to leapfrog 4 teams to make it (Tampa Bay, Washington, Winnipeg and Toronto).
- Never seen the team or coach as mad as today, Streit was especially upset during the post game interviews. Said team was “pissed off” more than once. Had some tough questions to answer after today performance.
For Hockey This Week ….I’m Tony Stabile
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonystabile