February 19, 2013

Isles Prep for Sens after 7-0 Massacre by Flyers

Ugly. There really aren't any words to describe what we all witnessed in Uniondale on Presidents Day against the Philadelphia Flyers. It was truly a Monday massacre.

The Islanders gave you a preview of this game barely 30 seconds in. And we all know what it means when we say it's going to be one of those games. This was definitely one of them.

We can really point to a lot of things that went wrong here. Once person we cannot point at, however, is Evgeni Nabokov. I bring this up because I've seen some bashing going on out there about the way he played. However, look at what his team did for him. The answer is: not much.

For chunks of the first period, I had absolutely no idea if the Islanders were trying to play a hockey game or make a "Harlem Shake" video. Nabokov often looked like the masked man who was doing all the movements while everyone stood around minding their own business. The lack of support from really anyone likely left Nabokov feeling he had to do everything himself, hence the moments where he was way out of position, trying to decide whether to protect against the pass or the shot. When all six of your defenseman - especially Andrew MacDonald - aren't going to do much aside from skate to keep up with the opponent rather than try and keep them away from the net, you're going to have this result.

What didn't make matters any easier was that the Islanders lost Brian Strait, not only for the final 30 minutes but the rest of the season. Thanks to the Nassau Coliseum ice, Strait fractured his ankle and will need 6-8 weeks to recover. Given the fact he's been one of the Islanders better defensemen this season, this is a blow. We'll be seeing more of Radek Martinek and Thomas Hickey these days.

What is interesting about this game is the timing. The Islanders have had their problems this season, and despite the losing streak they were never run completely out the building. This is the first game in a while where they weren't competitive at all. The defeatist attitude they seemed to play with after Philadelphia opened the scoring is very concerning though.

There was a full house, coming off two huge wins in the division, and the Islanders were playing a team that in many areas was weaker. And here we are, now hoping the team can somehow find a way to minimize damage and get out of Ottawa with a win in hand. In short, teams are allowed clunkers, and the Islanders haven't had one since last season really. But the timing of the clunker here is absolutely terrible.

Jack Capuano is going with some drastic line-up changes for tonight’s game against the Senators it appears and we'll see if that yields anything. The Islanders will have to be on tonight if they are to get Rick DiPietro a win.

- Chris

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