Islanders 1: Canadiens 5
Just 24 hours after the Islanders' emotional first win of the season over the Hurricanes, they went in completely the opposite direction.
Josh Bailey was the only goalscorer in a 5-1 drubbing by the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre last night, the one game this week that I'd actually been able to physically sit down and watch. After the showing our boys put on, I almost wish I had missed it. Looking completely out of it and unable to get anything going offensively, the Isles basically left Martin Biron out to dry as he still looks for his 200th career win.
I'm not going to go incredibly deep into this latest loss, but I am going to make a few points:
- The Isles looked terrible in their own zone. They were slow getting to the puck and to a man, they left all sorts of loose pucks out right in front of Biron, and they were just not smart. You have to protect your goalie, and that is not what they did last night by any means. Biron played as well as he could, considering he had little to no help.
- Maybe because the D couldn't get to the loose puck, the Isles consequently could not break out of their own zone. Not good.
- Once they did go to the forecheck, they couldn't hold onto the puck, making choices that made it all too easy for Montreal to just come in and break up the play. Nor did they really test Jaroslav Halak, the goalie in net for the Habs in this game. They must play smarter, protecting the puck and not trying to force a pass through two or sometimes three guys.
- Montreal was able to look nothing like the struggling team they are now- why? Because the Isles were just flat, overall. Tired? Maybe. But that's really no excuse. Surely the 29 other teams in this league have all dealt with a back-to-back game situation or two before. (Understatement, of course.)
We shall see if our boys can pick up the slack against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday night, though just the name "Alexander Ovechkin" makes me think that they'll be hard-pressed to do so. If they couldn't pull off a win against Scott Gomez, they'll have their work cut out for them against #8. Though that's the beauty of the game: anything can and usually will happen, and the Isles have been known to upset a few great teams before (do the Detroit Red Wings come to mind?) So stay tuned.