January 24, 2012

Opportunity Missed

Coming off of the 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night, the Islanders had a chance to do something special. Going on the road for the first part of a home-and-home series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Isles could have made up a ton of ground on the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

So much for that momentum.

The Islanders, some of it due to Toronto playing match-ups right, some due to lack of effort, laid an egg.

They fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0, which is not an outcome they needed right now, with 35 games remaining and any hopes of the playoffs on life support as it is. With the win, the Leafs tied Washington for the final playoff spot, nine points ahead of the Isles.

John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo did their thing, but were obviously less effective given the job that Carl Gunnarsson, Mike Komisarek, Dion Phaneuf and Luke Schenn did against them. The Islanders game plan was rather easy to beat, and Ron Wilson was able to figure it out quickly.

Regardless of that, the lack of shots is inexcusable. The Islanders took only five in the second period, and had a total of 11 after the frame. They pressed for more finally in the third and had some decent ones on Jonas Gustavsson, but he was able to handle them all. Would he have been able to if they did that all game though?

It wasn't a great game for a number of guys, most notably P.A. Parenteau, Andrew MacDonald and Mark Streit.

It's unfortunate to see so many individuals have poor games at the biggest point of the season, perhaps even the biggest game to come around in the last few years.

Things will have to be much different Tuesday night as the Islanders get ready to head into the all star break. A win and they'll be seven behind the Leafs, which is still going to be a tall task. Usually, we would say in that case that the Islanders avenged the loss, but there will be no such thing at this point in the season. It will be a very small step upwards.

Will the Islanders, namely Jack Capuano, do what they have to to avoid a repeat? Given recent history, and the Islanders really only having one productive line all season, it's safe to say the odds are stacked against them going into tonight.

Evgeni Nabokov played well, and once again got no offensive support. Al Montoya will likely be in net for this one as the Isles probably want to get him a game before the break.

Of course, none of that will matter if the Isles other lines don't show up again. As up and down as Toronto is, they've won a decent amount of games they should have. Don't give them another easy one with a one-line performance. Parenteau, Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner, I'm looking at you.



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