Islanders Outmatched by Canucks
The Islanders fell by a score of 4 – 1 to the Vancouver Canucks at Rodgers Arena. Despite patches of outplaying their opponents, the Islanders were simply outmatched by last season’s Western Conference champions.
Once again, the Islanders let up a goal on the first shot against them, courtesy of Aaron Rome (3 points), just two minutes in to the game. The rest of the first period was a gutty effort by the Islanders, who killed off a penalty to finish the frame, which saw no other goals in the period.
A scary moment occurred early in the first period for Islanders fans when Matt Moulson left the ice to head to the trainer’s room. He was hit and looked in quite a bit of pain as he exited the ice; fans were relieved when he re-joined the team on the bench a few minutes later.
Less than thirty seconds into the second period, Vancouver struck again. Henrik Sedin took a puck near the top left circle and fired a wrist shot towards the net. Evgeni Nabokov was partially screened, but looked like he had a clear view of the puck once it passed the defenders in front of him. The puck deflected off his glove and into the net.
Matt Moulson was able to cut the lead to one later on in the second period when John Tavares made a pass to Michael Grabner to gain entry to the offensive zone. Grabner made a beautiful deke and fed the puck back in front, where Tavares and Moulson crashed the net. Moulson beat Roberto Luongo after a few rebound attempts.
There was a lot of standing around by the Islanders in their own zone during the second period. The Canucks were able to add another goal, this one from a Cody Hodgson deflection, on the power play after a delay of game penalty on Mark Streit.
Luongo made a few highlight reel saves, notably robbing Michael Grabner on a 2 on 1 early and again on a one timer in the slot later in the game, but was not tested nearly often enough. The Islanders failed in yet another game to get shots to the net. Despite the new lines being able to generate a few scoring chances per game, the new-look Islanders lines did not generate them consistently and featured a number of several minute stretches without any offensive pressure.
Once the Canucks potted an empty netter from David Booth, John Tavares impressed with a shift despite being down 3 goals where he generated about four scoring chances. He has continued to show tremendous improvement this season despite the recent Islanders skid.
One interesting story to watch for is the season debut of Nino Niederreiter, who is expected to join the team for Tuesday’s game against the Rangers. Where he will fit in the lineup remains to be seen. I think all Islanders fans are looking forward to seeing another key piece of the rebuild take the ice.
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