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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Try not. Do...or do not.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Last Night... Problems and More Problems

The following post is brought to you by a very, very generous man by the name of Jiggs, who kindly wrote this up as neither of us was able to see the game last night. MANY THANKS to you Jiggs, our first guest blogger!!

Islanders 1 : Bruins 3

So the Islanders came into this game not having scored more than 2 goals at home since the 3-2 win against the Rangers on November 6th. As a result, Ted Nolan decided to mix the lines up for tonight's game against the Bruins. The main beneficiary of this shakeup was youngster Jeff Tambellini who was 7-14-21 in 20 games for the Islander's minor-league affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Tambellini skated on a line with Mike Comrie and Miroslav Satan with the hopes that his speed and forechecking ability would open things up for the two struggling stars. The rest of the lines were: Bergenheim-Sillinger-Hunter, Fedotenko-Vasicek-Guerin, and Simon-Hilbert-Park. Bruno Gervais was a surprising scratch tonight as he has been one of the Islanders most steadiest defensemen this year. Nolan's decision could have come back to haunt him later in the evening. The Islanders came out flying with Jeff Tambellini sending Dennis Wideman flying with a nice hit on the forecheck. Glen Murray came into the game on a tear and he continued on that track as he scored a PP goal at 10:38 of the first as he placed a perfect snap shot over Dipietro's glove into the upper right hand corner. The Islanders could not figure out Thomas in the first as he stopped all 11 shots he faced. Thomas came into the game leading the NHL in save percentage, a stat that is especially telling as to how good Thomas is playing. It can be a meaningless stat especially if the team in front of the goalie is very good defensively but in this case Boston is just not that good defensively. So for Thomas to lead the league in that stat speaks volumes as to how he's playing. He's standing on his head- much like Dipietro has been for the Islanders this season. The second period was fairly evenly played except for one miscue by the Islanders that led directly to a goal by former Islander prospect Petteri Nokelainen. Nokelainen was moved up to the third line by coach Claude Julien tonight having impressed the coach with his physical play along the boards. He rewarded his coach in the second period as Andy Sutton mishandled the puck at the Islander blueline, allowing Nokelainen to skate in all alone against Dipietro and wrist a shot high up into the net for his first of the season. It must have been a great feeling for Nokelainen scoring against his former team to make the score 2-0, the eventual game-winning goal. Sutton has been all too erratic in his own zone this year and probably should have been scratched instead of Gervais who has been much more consistent in his own end. Comrie took a penalty, tripping Glen Metropolit off a draw in the Islander zone which led to a goal by Chuck Kobasew early in the third to make it 3-0. At this point the Isles looked very lethargic and started to take penalties out of frustration. These guys are squeezing their sticks out there and its showing- they're pretty much shooting wide on every other shot as they missed the net 15 times. This usually happens when a forward is challenging the points aggressively or when you try to be too precise with accuracy, trying to make the perfect shot. The Islanders also didn't seem to be getting any screen shots on goal, which would make life difficult for Thomas. Campoli finally scored a PP goal to make it 3-1 Bruins and ruin Thomas's shutout but it meant nothing except proving to the Isles that they could indeed score. After being shutout by Atlanta I'm sure they were beginning to wonder. Nolan in his postgame conference thought the Islanders were not bearing down enough in order to get those goals and he was right. The Isles outshot Boston 34-22 and most of those shots were of the un-screened variety outside of the slot. When they had a chance closer in, it seemed they were squeezing their sticks too tight to make that one extra move to score. This team is tight and they need something to change this scoring drought. Maybe a fight here or there would be nice...just to wake everyone up.

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