Yesterday the Islanders found themselves in unfamiliar territory. They were on the road and actually played a game for the second time in a week. All scheduling jokes aside, the team wearing the white sweaters seemed like a very different team that became very used to wearing those home navy blues.
At home in those close battles with division rivals you saw the Isles making the safe play every time. Whether it was a dump out high off the glass in their own zone or making sure the passing lane was there on the point on the power play, they kept the mistakes to a minimum. Yesterday we saw the Islanders trying to squeeze passes in that weren't there, pinching when they should remain back, or smacking skates and falling down.
Another thing I have noticed over the past couple of games is the change of play from MAB. Did anyone else notice he has become a different player since Nolan decided to sit him. Although he is playing a some what sound defensive game, he is not utilizing his best trait (the booming slapper). Last year and early this year I found myself saying this guy shoots too much and never hits the net (my opinions quickly changed when he did hit the net and scored), but now I don't understand why he is not shooting at all. Instead of thinking shot all of a sudden he is thinking pass and when he does shoot its a wrister towards the net.
One more thing the Isles lacked last night was traffic in front of Biron. In the early part of the 3rd and towards the end the Isles seemed to have a lot more chances when there was 3 to 4 white sweaters near the net. In the early periods the only people close to the net were the Flyers D man. My suggestion is to plant Sutton in front of the net on the PP and let MAB fire away. We have seen a similar technique work in Boston and Ottawa with Big Z.
Outlook for Pitt:
Look to see Berard of Guerin come back for that game. It was evident that Guerin's leadership was missed last night and Berard is a key part to the Isles PP success. On the flip side look for the Pens to come out flying. They have taken a beaten lately from the Atlantic and should come out with fire since we stole that 2-0 lead from them.
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