The Isles Will Look For Revenge
Tonight the Islanders will host the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Coliseum, their first home game in over a week and their only one until November 17th. These two teams met last Saturday with the Isles being the victims of an embarrassing 6-1 loss. Several game misconducts and major penalties were handed out in a game that saw hits and fights galore.
Zenon Konopka, who was very vocal after his second fight with Daniel Carcillo (as seen below, YoutTube video courtesy of hockeyfightsdotcom), and will probably be just as active tonight for the grudge match that will take place at 7:00 PM.
But the bottom line is that the Islanders need to win this hockey game. If they manage to get a decent lead over their Atlantic Division rivals then maybe they can start thinking about seeking retribution for the actions that occurred last weekend. Daniel Briere, who is serving a three-game suspension for his cross-check to Frans Nielsen's face, will not be in the line-up. So things will have to wait in regards to that altercation.
However, that doesn't mean the Islanders shouldn't play physical. That aspect of the game does not only depend on Konopka, Gillies or Martin, who are consistently active with their shoulders and fists.
James Wisniewski has not thrown his weight around nearly as much as many would like. He was brought here for to his physical presence and offensive production, especially since the Isles parted ways with Andy Sutton. He had one of the NHL's top hits of the week when he blasted a huge hip check along the Islanders bench when they faced the Dallas Stars on opening night. Wiz's hitting has slowly evaporated since then. Considering that Mottau, Martinek, Hillen, Eaton and Gervais are rarely physical in their zone, Wisniewski must bring that element back into his game.
Blake Comeau is a strong fore-checker when he plays aggressively in the attacking zone and this led to him creating chances for himself and his line mates, Josh Bailey in particular. Both have been slumping and it is a result of not creating scoring opportunities like they had been doing in the first week.
It is completely unreasonable to suggest that a lack of sending the opposition into the boards is the reason why this team has lost six in a row. It's not. Frustrations are mounting and all the little things that don't work in the Islanders favor are starting to pile up, only further adding to the problems that the team has faced. But it is perfectly acceptable to see a connection between the Islanders lack of fundamentals and their losses. Starting with an aggressive fore-check will certainly help the cause.
It's time the Isles start a trend of frustrating their opponents instead of letting their troubles get the best of them. A vengeful win against the Flyers would be the best way to start.
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