February 27, 2011

Isles Blow Lead to Caps in front of Full House; New NYI FYI Sunday

The Islanders had a large and loud crowd on hand Saturday night to see them take on the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately, by the end of the night those who were in support of the Caps walked away happy.

The Isles had a 1-0 lead on a nice looking goal by Kyle Okposo as he Faked shifted into the slot and snapped a shot past goaltender Michael Neuvirth. It was just Okposo's 3rd goal of his injury shortened season.

The Isles would get a 2-0 lead on a knuckle ball shot that Neuvirth barely had a chance to see. It only took 33 seconds into the second period for Hamonic to get his 3rd of the season.

It was at that point where the Caps began to press, and get some of their chances. The Isles had been out-shooting the Caps 20-9 at one point, but things slowly turned in their favor.

Brooks Laich came out of the box after serving a penalty and Neuvirth hit him with a pass. He powered his way to the net and took a real nice shot that got through Montoya. Laich, who will be a UFA this summer, showed why many Isles fans on messages boards have been hoping that the Isles would make a run at him. He brings an element to a game that not many can provide, and certainly with much more consistency than anyone currently on the Isles.

Mike Knuble and Alex Semin would score about three minutes apart in the third to give the Caps a lead they would hold on to. Knuble's goal was on a broken play in front after Jack Hillen was taken behind the net, leaving Ty Wishart as the only defenseman covering and Josh Bailey scrambling to try and help.

Jack Capuano told us in the post game after that he thought they competed well against a tough team, but did have some lapses.

The one glaring issue however, was the power-play. "I felt our power-play was flat tonight," Capuano was quick to point out. I couldn't agree more, and on Twitter I pointed out that the Isles were playing too much on the perimeter with the man advantage. It's fine to get some looks for the defensemen and to try and create rebounds, but the Caps blocked a ton of shots coming in from the outside, especially early on. That is when you have to make changes and adapt to what your opponent is doing.

The locker room was very solemn after the game last night and for obvious reasons. Not only did they lose a game they could have easily won, but they also can be losing some friends. One look at Nathan Lawson's or Rob Schremp's face, and you could tell there was some pain there.

That is the other aspect in all of this. However, at the end of the day it is Garth Snow's job to build a successful hockey team. Having spoken to both Schremp and Lawson in the past, I can tell you they would probably say themselves how they haven't stepped up in the way they should have. In the case of Lawson, he seemed like he feared his NHL career may be over just as quickly as it started.

Regardless of that, we'll see what happens. There's a decent chance Schremp may be claimed by someone, while it's expected Lawson will clear waivers by noon Monday. There were a decent amount of scouts milling around the Coliseum, and the Isles even had scouts at some of the other games going around. There wasn't much talk in the press box of anything going on when it comes to the Isles. But as I said yesterday, expect the unexpected. If there's one thing we learned so far this year in the NHL, it's that almost anyone can be had for the right price.

NEW NYI FYI EPISODE: As usual, Sean and I will be getting together for our latest installment of the NYI FYI radio show at 11 AM. Please feel free to watch us and participate by going to our UStream page. There is a chat room that is up and running there, and we always read thoughts and questions from there. You can also feel free to @ us on Twitter with your thoughts and questions.

Enjoy guys!



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