January 7, 2012

Isles Miss Out on Opportunity

Going into Anaheim with a good amount of momentum, the Islanders were trying to do something they haven't in almost a year - go on a four game winning streak. For a while, the Islanders played a solid game and even were able to grab a lead in the third period.

But with about 13 minutes left, everything came crashing down hard and fast. Defensively, the Isles scrambled around and had no answers to the top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan.

Ryan made Andrew MacDonald look more like an AHL defenseman with his goal that tied the game, shorthanded to boot.

Getzlaf's goal that gave Anaheim the lead was his first in just over a month. It was a rather weak goal to give up, but Milan Jurcina didn't provide much help to Evgeni Nabokov on the play either.

The game did have some good flow, as little penalties were called. Even when the Islanders were down 1-0, they were doing things right and getting some chances in on Jonas Hiller. But the defensive breakdowns in the third period are what ultimately did them in.

We've seen Ryan dance around people before, but for him to do it on MacDonald is a bit embarrassing considering he's supposed to be one of our better defensemen. This isn't the first time we've seen that from him this year, so perhaps he's still feeling the effects of the surgery at times.

The Islanders have been caught flat footed in situations like this one too many times, and in games like this is really shows. While you expect the Getzlaf's and the Ryan's of the world to do what they normally do, the fact of the matter is the Anaheim Ducks are one of the few teams that's far worse than the Islanders right now, particularly on defense. And yet, the Islanders let the game get away from them with not a lot of time remaining.

They'll get another shot to walk away with points tonight in Phoenix, but they really needed to walk away with at least three points out West. With chances to nightly jump over teams (as opposed to last year, when they were so many points behind all these other teams) they can't afford to let any more slip away. They already have 18 regulation losses, and can't afford many more slip ups the rest of the way if they want to keep dreaming of playoff scenarios.

We'll see how they handle a solid Coyotes team Saturday night.



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