November 26, 2011

Isles Shutout by Devils

There is quite an alarming theme going on with some of the Islanders home games this season. It seems every time they get a fairly large crowd, they put a goose egg up on the scoreboard.

Montoya Stops Kovalchuk. Photo by C. Hessel
The Islanders were shut out again, 1-0 to the New Jersey Devils on Friday afternoon. Johan Hedberg made some nice saves and the Islanders had a few good chances, but it all resulted in the team suffering their 6th shutout of the season, and 5th on home ice.

To put it in perspective: the 2008-09 Islanders, one of the worst I've seen, was shut out a grand total of four times all season.

Michael Grabner had two chances on breakaways, with one on a penalty shot and he couldn't put one past Hedberg. P.A. Parenteau had a wide open net to shoot at but couldn't lift it high enough and a sprawled out "Moose" was able to kick it towards the corner.

The Islanders powerplay had a rough go at it, experienced a hard time getting shots through and kept a lot of their movement only at the perimeter. They hesitated to take some shots, instead waiting for Hedberg to perhaps go down a bit early.

Thinking twice about taking shots is something that Jack Capuano was obviously frustrated with after the game.

"You can say what you want about their goal, a broken stick, an unlucky bounce for us but it started with a shot, and Sykora was in the right place."

That is one of the challenges facing Capuano as he prepares for the second of a home-and-home against the Devils. He specifically mentioned the perimeter play, and needing to get more people towards the net. There aren't enough guys doing it consistently, and when the Islanders did have guys cutting the passes were way off the mark. There doesn't seem to ever be anything in the middle, but rather one extreme or the other here.

Al Montoya was brilliant, stopping Zach Parise on a breakaway and Ilya Kovalchuk point blank in the slot area. He was really involved with playing the puck, and almost put it into his own net on one occasion. I am glad to see Montoya play with so much confidence after not playing the last two weeks, and given the way he's played he should be the go to guy. We'll see if this is how it plays out. It's a shame the Isles couldn't support him yet again.

The Islanders don't have much time to figure out what went wrong as they have their rematch Saturday night in New Jersey.


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