Isles vs. Jets Pre-Game - A Trap Game?

 

Simply defined a trap-game is one that follows matchups against tough opponents and precedes another difficult matchup. The Isles, coming off hard fought wins against the Bruins and Stars, can ill afford to overlook the Winnipeg Jets tonight as they prepare for an extended 5-game road trip.

In the games against the Bruins and Stars John Tavares was targeted by the opposition, smothered whenever he got near the puck and his point production reduced to no goals and one assist. (A tactic likely to be used by many teams against the Islanders this season.)

The Isles proved that such a tactic will not work against this years team. All four lines are scoring. In fact, five players netted their first goal of the year (Nielsen with his 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th thanks to his Saturday night natural) and six others recorded their first assist in those two games.

Tavares won’t be contained for long, he is just too elite a player, and hopefully secondary-scoring will continue to define the team. Goaltending and a solid defense in front of the net, however, must improve and soon.

Like the Isles, the Jets have won every game when they have scored three or more goals. Unlike the Isles, the Jets have allowed three or more goals in only 4 of their 8 opening games. The Isles have surrendered three or more in all but one of their first eight contests.

The Islanders will probably need to improve their regular season points-performance (79 or less in each of the last five years-excluding the lockout) by at least 26 points if they are to make the post-season.

Every point earned early in the year pays huge dividends come April. No team can be overlooked, no game taken for granted, no looking ahead. As Boomer Esiason has stated countless times on WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning talk show, “One shift, one period, one game at a time.”

 

-Mike Flannery

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