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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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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Islanders at Blue Jackets, 7 pm EST, 12/13/08

The Islanders, at 10-17-2, are at this point just hoping for a temporary stop to the torturous slide that they are on.

They end their road stint in Columbus tonight, facing off against the Blue Jackets, who have not had a stable December to date (2-3-0). Last time these two teams met, the Jackets almost pulled off a win, rallying back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to send the game into overtime. However, Chris Campoli scored the OT game-winner to secure the two points.

Tonight, Rick Nash is the one they need to keep an eye on- with eight goals in 13 games, he can certainly help the Jackets take this game. The keys to a victory tonight are the establish a forecheck early on- be fast, be aggressive, and challenge the goaltender. Crash the net if you need to- the past few games have shown that sometimes creativity with the puck doesn't always work. The fast break to renewed confidence is ugly but efficient scoring- then you can focus on getting the pretty goals. The Islanders have to be more aggressive with the puck, as well as on defense. Against Toronto, the defense looked very sure; it was only due to bad rebounds by Yann Danis that Toronto even got to the puck. However, last game that was not the case- the defense failed to help either MacDonald or Danis, soft goals or not. Columbus is a hot-and-cold team lately- if they come out cold tonight, it can only work to the Isles' advantage. Capitalize on every mistake and finish the play. In net, hopefully Joey MacDonald can get back to form and rebound from a shaky game (1 period, 4 GA). For the Jackets, rookie Steve Mason has been impressive (7-4-1, 2.05 GAA, .919%); but granted he starts tonight, if the Isles get to him early, he might not have as much of a chance.

The Islanders are 5-9-1 on the road, but if they find the right combinations tonight, the stats might not matter so much.

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