Let's put it this way folks; there are only two full weeks left in October and the Isles have seven games left to play. So far they've played six and have done everything but win. Throw in the fact that both goalies have combined to let in 10 goals in the past two games and the same forwards are the only ones contributing on a nightly basis.
TIME TO WAKE UP GUYS!
The Isles lost 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks last night on a cold Saturday evening. It was a quiet night in the blog box surrounded by several empty seats at the Coliseum...which is exactly how the Islanders played in the second and third periods. Empty.
To start off the game they came out with some jump. Towards the end of the first they were out-shooting the Sharks 22-9. That's right. Believe it or not the Islanders were taking it to the likes of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dan Boyle. But they only managed one goal on the power-play after Tavares made a nifty pass to Okposo who ripped it from the slot for Moulson to get a tip in front. I think it's important to note how much of a pleasant surprise Matt has been. He may not be a first line winger, but at least he finds a way to make some sort of a difference every game. Hopefully he can sustain his play for the remainder of the year.
However, after the first, the Islanders let the game get away from them. You could hear the frustration in Gordon's voice during the post-game interview, citing that his team needed to do what they did in the first period for a full 60 minutes but have yet to do so. It's true, this team's record is a bad indication of the product on the ice, but nothing is going to change unless they pull through.
Going back to Moulson...
I think the Islanders are going to have to move him off the top line. I am one of those guys who like to keep chemistry; to keep the same lines so your team has consistency. If you look at the successful teams, they rarely have to make adjustments because their line-ups have gotten used to each other and know where to find each other at all times. Right now Moulson-Tavares-Okposo have shown early signs of chemistry, but the 2nd and 3rd lines have shown diddly squat. Like I've said before, this team is not going to start winning unless they get some scoring from their depth players.
I would like to see Moulson moved to a second line trio with Bailey and Weight with Bergenheim moving up top with Tavs and Okposo. I feel that Bergie's speed would be a major asset to that line. Hopefully Moulson would be able to generate something on the second line with Weight and Bails...and if that fails, maybe move Okposo around. The coaching staff has to do something because nothing is working right now.
Okposo may prove to be more of a difference maker on the other lines since he has been our go-to-guy every night. His confidence seems to be through the roof. Some of the moves he makes are so fun to watch. Plus he just seems to always find his way to the puck. He even manages to get shots off when you think that he's completely out of position. Right now, he is the most exciting player to watch on this team.
To the defense...
I am going to address what I think this team needs to do with our defenders...short-term, long-term, presently, in my next blog. But one defenseman who I thought really stood out was Jack Hillen. He has some great speed and was never afraid to join the rush. Being that Streit is the only real offensive minded blue-liner that this team has, it's encouraging to see a young guy like Hillen try to follow in his foot-steps.
However, the one thing that pissed me off the most about last night's game is that the Islanders decided to pick up their physical play WHEN IT DIDN'T MATTER. After the fourth goal Meyer threw at least two huge hits along the boards, Witt took a boarding penalty, Comeau sent a Shark forward hard into the boards in front of his bench, and Tim Jackman fought Ryan Clowe.
But why? The game was lost at that point. Where was this fire, urgency, desperation, grit, character, and heart when the team needed it? The physical play caused the Sharks to make mistakes even though they already had four goals. This team is more of a challenge when they play physical for 60 minutes. They have acknowledged that they are not the most talented bunch and will need to out-work their opponents. Doing it in the last five minutes doesn't cut it.
That might have had something to do with the fact that the media wasn't allowed into the locker room right away. I have a funny feeling Gordon had plenty to say to them.
Wednesday the Isles look for their first win against the Carolina Hurricanes. It has to come sooner or later.