Flying Towards Another Top 5 Draft Pick- Flyers 6 Islanders 3



The New York Islanders had an all too familiar start.
They also had an all too familiar finish.


After Josh Bailey gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead for the fourth consecutive game, the Philadelphia Flyers found their legs, and the back of the net.


Matt Read scored two goals and Jaromir Jagr continued his dominance against the Islanders organization as the Flyers defeated the Islanders 6-3.


After Bailey’s early tally just 1:35 into the game, the Flyers continued to look lethargic which prompted coach Peter Laviolette to utilize an early timeout.


The decision paid dividends shortly thereafter as Read scored of his two goals at 9:41 to even the score at 1. Philadelphia would then take the lead 2-1 on the power-play as Andrej Meszaros shot banked off the post and Nabokov and into the net. The Islanders were outshot 10-8 in the period.


Bailey scored his second goal just 50 seconds into the second period to tie the game at 2-2. A beautiful cross ice pass from Franz Nielsen found Bailey all alone for the easy tap in. 


Jaromir Jagr, throughout the years has dominated the Islanders. His goal in the second, although one Nabokov would want back, was the go-ahead goal and turned the game on its head, in favor of Philadelphia. Just 39 seconds after, Wayne Simmons found a streaking Read for his second goal of the game. After two period the Flyers lead 4-2.


The theme of tonight’s game was early in the period goals. The third period was no exception. Just 1:07 in, Scott Hartnell blasts a rebound past Nabokov for a three goal advantage at 5-2. It was Hartnell’s 31st goal of the season. 


Claude Giroux picked up his 50th and 51st assists of the season in the game.


Kyle Okposo would finish up the scoring for the Islanders at 9:11 of the third. It was only his second goal in his last 10 games and 14th overall. Casey Cizikas, in his third National League game, assisted on two Islanders goals.


After a failed power-play for the Islanders late, Coach Jack Capuano pulled Nabokov for an extra skater. Sean Courturier banked the puck off of a Islander in front and a 6-3 lead was had by the Flyers. 


Evgeni Nabokov stopped 24 of 29 shots in the game. He was coming off a 45 save performance in the same Wells Fargo Center in the teams last meeting. He is received the 6th least goal support in the NHL. 


Ilya Bryzgalov started in goal for the Flyers and made 21 saves. It was his first career victory against the New York Islanders after loses in his first 4 attempts. 


The Islanders continue their road trip against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. They are 0-2-1 on the trip allowing 14 goals and scoring just 7.



Madonia Minute


As someone that has continued to wait for Josh Bailey to prove the critics wrong, i have been really satisfied with his game the past two outings. I know he made some mistakes against Washington that indirectly led to the Capitals stunning comeback on Tuesday night, but the progress over this season can only bode well for his 2012-13 campaign. He has 1 year left on his 2-year contract and should continue to get an opportunity, possibly on the right wing where depth is an issue, unlike at the center position. At 22 years of age, he is finally honing his game. He might not be the elite player they traded down for in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but he is someone to watch out for in the coming years as a possible long term solution to an ongoing problem on the Island.


Tuesday’s game was absolutely devastating. Tonight was absolutely frustrating. After yet another fantastic 6-8 minutes in the first period where they outshot the Flyers 6-0 at one point, and controlled the play, the next 10-12 minutes they revert to a team lacking passion and commitment to each other. Second period more of the same, early goal, middle to end of period completely dominated by the opponent. The third period was the polar opposite, the Islanders woke up with 10 minutes left and carried the majority of the play. The common theme with the Islanders is not playing a complete game. They need to have the same compete level as they brought versus the Rangers last Friday night. 


Winnipeg is crushing Florida tonight, so the road to the 8th seed is nearly impossible for the Islanders. There are too many teams, AKA the entire bottom of the Eastern Conference( except Montreal) to get ahead of with 18 games remaining. The deficit stands at 9 points with Washington having three games in hand on now 8th place Winnipeg. Tuesday’s OT loss was the beginning of the end and tonight was the proverbial Nail Yakupov in the coffin. It’s time to find out what players could help the 2012-13 and beyond.


Neil Yakupov is the name fans have heard the most about. Yakupou is a 18 year old Right Winger from Russia playing in the OHL for Sarnia Sting. He has 30 goals and 35 assists in just 38 games player this season. He is a fantastic skater with game-breaking speed. His skill set is akin to another former #1, Taylor Hall. Yakupov’s only knock is his size 5’11 190lbs. He has all the ability in the world to be a sensational talent in the league, his frame is the only limiting factor as the NHL is a completely different game to the more offensive oriented OHL and QMJHL. He will make an instant impact, both on a team and the box office. 


1B or 1a, depending on preference is Quebec Remparts Mikhail Grigorenko. He is the better playmaker of the two and is built for the NHL game at 6’2. He is dominated the QMJHL this season even though he has been battling injuries. He has 76 points in 50 games. He has been compared to Joe Thornton in terms of ability to find the puck and players to feed it too. He is NHL ready at just 17 years old, he sees the game like someone 7-8 years his senior and isn’t afraid to be in the tough areas. He will be coveted by teams looking for a playmaker to help bridge the existing talent together.


Probably most useful to the Islanders is top prospect Ryan Murray. When someone is compared to Scott Niedermayer, it tends to pique your interest. He is currently playing in the WHL for the Everett Silvertips because his birthday was too late for him to enter the 2011 draft. He is a puck moving defensemen that can hold his own in both ends of the ice. He can be a physical presence when necessary but his positioning and knowledge of the game is what makes him a bonafide top selection. Offensively, he will contribute like an Erik Karlsson of 2010, but his real worth will be stopping top tier talent. The Islanders are in obvious need of a top flight defensemen to go alongside Travis Hamonic. Murray will be NHL ready right away come 2012-13, it will likely be an adjustment period similar to Adam Larsson’s first season with the Devils, but an instant impact is something the Islanders covet. 


The rest of the Islanders season should be getting Nino, David Ullstrom, Cizikas, and Bailey a lot of ice time in all sorts of situations. You know what you have in Tavares, Moulson, Parenteau, Martin, Okposo, Grabner and Nielsen. We need to know how far or how close we are to having a contending team going forward. The focus should also be on keeping Bridgeport intact and getting the youngsters, maybe even Ullstrom and Cizikas some playoff games, even if it’s the AHL.


The Islanders are still two or three players and a good head coach away from being a playoff team. When I use ‘playoff team’, i mean Pittsburgh or Ottawa, not a team that will squeak in and be swept by the Rangers or Red Wings. The Islanders had every opportunity in the world to be the squeak in team, but alas we are here, again. Jack Capuano seems like a great guy, but coaching wise, he is overmatched here. This team needs someone to come in and clear house. The Islanders will not be relevant with Capuano behind the bench.


Looking forward to seeing what happens going forward. One last thing, P.A Parenteau can name his price, the Islanders better pay it.




Thanks for reading,


John Madonia