Remember When?: Wild vs. Isles, 10/10/11
With NHL hockey on the shelf for a while, it's only natural that the hockey fan starts to reminisce about the good -- and the bad -- of the season before. With that in mind, let's look over some of the Isles' great and maybe not-so-great moments of 2011-12.
First up is the Isles' first win of that season, Oct. 10, 2011, against the Minnesota Wild. It was a low-scoring game, a little stressful toward the end, but ultimately satisfying.
The Islanders shot out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Andrew MacDonald and Frans Nielsen. After losing to the Florida Panthers 2-0 in their home opener, the Isles saw their first goal of the year off of the stick of A-Mac.
On the PP cycle in the first period, PA Parenteau made a good cross-ice pass to Travis Hamonic to the right of Nicklas Backstrom. Hamonic's shot was stopped and richocheted all the way to MacDonald at the blueline, who executed a beautifully quick release and squeezed it just between Backstrom's left side and the pipe.
About two and a half minutes afterward, Mark Streit faked out his man at the point, gaining space and sightlines, and put a perfect slap pass onto the stick of Frans Nielsen who was cutting toward the net. Nielsen beat Backstrom in virtually the same spot MacDonald had.
Unfortunately, the offense managed to dry up after that, and it fell to the penalty kill and goaltending to keep the Isles afloat. Al Montoya played a good game against Florida and managed to earn another start against the Wild. He made 20 saves altogether and shut the door during 1:16 of 5-on-3 PK time in the second period, preserving the lead. Hamonic, MacDonald, and Jay Pandolfo also sacrificed the body and kept the Isles in front.
The major concern coming out of this game was, of course, the lack of offense, especially from the top line of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau. There were other quiet players, including Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo. Of course, that would change (at least on the top line's part) as the year progressed, but at the start, the Isles were showing signs of being just as anemic offensively as they'd been for the past couple of years.