Tale of the Tape
OTT 12-7-3 NYI 8-11-2
Goals For: OTT 2.14 NYI 2.86
Goals Against: OTT 1.82 NYI 3.48
Special Teams: OTT PP 15.8%(20th) OTT PK 89.2%(3rd)
NYI PP 23.5% (5th) NYI PK 84.9% (7th)
Senators Road Record 3-6-1
Islanders Home Record 2-8-1
Season Series: 1-0 Ottawa (3-1 February 21st)
Currently Riding: OTT 1L NYI 3L
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner - Marty Reasoner - David Ullstrom
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald
Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald
Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky
Mark Streit - Radek Martinek
The Islanders managed to claw back after another second period collapse against Toronto to get into overtime and collect the bonus point for losing in the fourth period on Thursday. With the Senators goaltenders playing incredible, I doubt that feat has the option of repeating itself today should the Isles go down a few goals.
The Senators have been poor on the road this season despite their stellar play in goal, but the Islanders have been even worse at home so the advantage goes to neither team. If the Islanders want to end their three game slump they have to find a way to get the puck in the cage. John Tavares is pointless in two games and holds a -4 rating over that period, something that obviously needs to change for the Islanders to win.
In the last seven games there hasn’t been a team to score more than two goals on the Ottawa Senators and, given the poor goals against of New York, that means trouble for the Islanders. JT will need to be present in this game in a huge way and the second, third and fourth lines are going to have to make every second of every shift count.
1. Puck Control: 4th in the NHL in giveaways, 3rd at home. The Senators would love to have the Isles gift them some chances so they can get on the board.
2. Attack Offensively: New York has to set the pace of the game early and wear out the Senators. Skate hard, get the puck in deep, hard fore-checking and a boatload of shots. All game long.
3. Play Simple Defense: Ottawa doesn’t have the offensive firepower they did at the start of the season. A very sound positional game on the blueline coupled with simple defensive hockey should be enough to thwart any excess offense from the Senators.
If the Islanders can’t play consistently in their own end, this game will feature a breakdown of sorts and the game will slip away. The Islanders have 130 giveaways on home ice, good enough for third worst in the league, so here’s hoping that Jack Capuano worked on puck control this weekend. This is a game the Islanders need to win. They need to prove they can win at home and they need to prove that they can beat brilliant goaltending. They’ve fallen into a top 5 pick, should the draft be held today, and are now 5 points out of a playoff spot. Seven out of the next ten Islanders games are at home, not including the Senators game, so if the Islanders can’t figure out how to treat the home crowd to some W’s the season will be over before March is.
The Islanders are auctioning off their St Patrick’s Day warm-up jerseys here --- http://www.newyorkislanders.com/stpatsjersey
Along with jersey auctions, there are auctions to have dinner, for you and a friend, with a player of your choice.
Let’s assume that 212 degrees F is the firing point for Jack Capuano.
Jack Capuano Seat Temperature Watch: 167 degrees F
Thanks for reading, you can find me on twitter @chiassontb