January 18, 2012

Islanders not Intimidated on Road by Captials

Have you ever seen two Jekyll and Hyde performances in a row as much as we've seen with the New York Islanders? On Tuesday night, the Islanders tweaked some areas and came out in a completely different manner than they did in the game on Monday afternoon.

The Islanders were able to accomplish something that hadn't been done in a while - beat the Capitals on their home ice, and beat them after having played the previous night (the Caps were 6-1-1 this season against teams on the 2nd part of a back-to-back and won their last three meetings in such games).

From the start, the Islanders defensive effort was fantastic. Everyone, both defensemen and forwards, used their sticks to their advantage. The Capitals had a hard time navigating around the Islanders poke checks, and when they did Evgeni Nabokov did all he could to ensure no damage was done.

When it was all over, Nabokov would earn his first shutout of the season, and he only had to make 17 saves to get it. Only a few of them were of the tough variety, as the Islanders did a good job of knocking the puck loose when anyone came close to their net. Washington also hurt themselves by missing the net often.

P.A. Parenteau, who has looked solid on the second line but doesn't have many points to show for it, finally got that monkey off of his back, scoring two goals. The UFA to be now has 39 points in 43 games, and while most of it has come when playing with John Tavares and Matt Moulson it is still quite impressive. He doesn't turn the puck over as much as he did last season, shows some more speed carrying the puck through the zone and makes some fantastic passes. It's no coincidence that once Brian Rolston was moved off of his line, they started to get some chances on offense.

Tavares extended his points streak to 10 games, scoring the opening goal for the Isles on the powerplay. Tavares was also able to keep up with his point per game pace for the season. As usual, he could have had more if not for some nice stops by Tomas Vokoun.

There isn't much to pick on for this game. Even the guys who normally struggle were solid enough, moving their legs and doing something to help the team.

If the Isles have plans to win a game in Philadelphia for the first time in a while on Thursday night, then they'll need to replicate this effort. As a matter of fact, with some of the goal tending issues some of their shots may have a better chance of going in although Sergei Bobrovsky did an excellent job of shutting the Isles down last week. We'll see if he gets a chance to start against them again.



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