Islanders Look To Rebound On Second Half Of Home and Home

The Islanders take to the ice tonight looking to respond after a tough lost last night to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tonight will be the Islanders last chance to head into the All-Star break on a winning note. The Islanders and Maple Leafs also both look to keep playoff hopes alive with wins in tonight’s contest.

The Islanders are still only nine points out of a playoff spot and after going out and laying a goose egg last night they need to play much better in tonight’s game. Capuano suggested that after last night’s game there could be some line-up changes. Those should be released later this morning but the only change I would truly like to see is the promotion of Nino Niederreitier and the demotion of Brian Rolston. In recent games we have all seen the improved play from Nino and he deserves more ice time and better line mates. In the case of Rolston, he just hasn’t played well recently and may need a demotion to find the fire he once had in his play. He is constantly missing the net on many great chances and is the cause of some turnovers. On a team that is struggling to find secondary scoring, mistakes from a veteran like that can’t happen.

Goaltending might also see a change tonight. Nabokov has played several games in a row now and with this back-to-back series with travel in between it would be smart of Capuano to give Nabokov the night off. If that is the case we would see the return of Al Montoya to the line-up, who before his injury was playing very well. On the other end of the ice, Gustavsson played a good game last night but wasn’t tested all too much by the Islanders. I could see the Leafs sticking with his hot hand in tonight’s match-up.

The Islanders got to find a response to Toronto’s speed and strong defense if they want to stand a chance tonight. The Maple Leafs went into a defensive shell that the Islanders couldn’t crack. They need to get more pressure to the front of the net and get some screens in front of Gustavsson. They were unable to do this last night and it made an easy night for the Leafs net-minder.  The Leafs also used their speed on offense to trap the Islanders several times and create chances. The Islanders defensemen like to jump into the play on offense and the Leafs knew this and used it to their advantage, creating odd man rushes and scoring chances.

This will be the third meeting between these two teams this season and the Islanders are still looking for their first win. Playing in front of a home crowd tonight, the Islanders should be looking to come out fast and hungry, and hopefully steal a win. The game starts at 7pm and it should be a good one.

As always, thanks for reading and I hope everyone enjoys the game tonight.

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Rob McGowan's picture

Being that I will be at this game tonight I seriously hope it is better than last night's performance. I am 100 percent with you in regards to Rolston. The guy has been dead weight, in my opinion and should be demoted to the fourth line until he shows he can play the hockey he said he was capable of playing over the summer.

As John Madonia pointed out in his post-game blog, if the Isles lose tonight, these talks of playoffs will grow dimmer and dimmer. They aren't even too bright right now as it stands, still being nine points out. But being 7 points out before the All-Star break as opposed to potentially 11 is a big difference.

Rob Melendez's picture

It's a shame Rolston hasn't worked out better, watching him in New Jersey on the point was always fun. Obviously his speed just isn't there anymore, but watching last nights game, his drive to play the game seems to be in and out. A demotion is risky as always though, you may light a fire under a guy, or hurt his confidence. Toronto's facing a similar situation with MacArthur.