Still Without Power On The Island; Isles Lose 1-0 To Devils

The New York Islanders went into today's game against the New Jersey Devils hoping to make-up for their overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers but came up short, losing 1-0 to another division rival. 

It was the sixth time this season that the Islanders have been shutout, a glaring reason why this team has struggled to win hockey games.

Mark Streit (Dan4th/Flickr)"Obviously we didn't score. If you don't score you're not going to win a hockey game," said Islanders captain Mark Streit to me after the game. "We had chances, faced a pretty good goalie, had chances on the PP, we just didn't score but I still think there's a lot of good things we did.I thought that over a long period of time we were the better team. We just, we couldn't score but we got to keep our heads up and just play tomorrow as hard as today and just try to get the luck on our side."

The Islanders were definitely the more physical team throughout the game. Matt Martin was doing what he does best by continuing to lead this team with bone crunching hits, so much to the fact that Ilya Kovalchuk shot him an elbow out of frustration. 

Micheal Haley was quick to set the tone that the Isles wouldn't be pushed around after fighting Devils enforcer Cam Janssen just a few minutes into the first period. It was a spirited bout; exactly the type of way a hockey fight should go with both combatants dishing out fists to each other's face, neither participant willing to back down.

However, the Isles were unable to generate enough offense to get the win, let alone one goal. They had three power plays in the first period and failed to connect and had a shorthanded opportunity go the other way but was stopped to a strong back-checking play by defenseman Andrew MacDonald. 

Al Montoya got the start in goal and was impressive, not showing any real signs of rust after spending a lot of time watching games from the press-box. He earned third star honors after allowing only one goal to Petr Sykora. Adam Larsson's stick broke after a shot attempt from the point and the puck landed right on Sykora's stick, making it easy to beat Montoya over his blocker side. 

“Great shot,” Montoya said. “You hope to have that shot, but those are the ones that if he puts it in the right spot, I’m alright with.”

The focus now turns to tomorrow's re-match between these two teams. Montoya stopped 22 of 23 shots but it might be DiPietro who gets the nod between the pipes. As for the Devils, many are expecting Martin Brodeur since back-up goalie Johan Hedberg played today. Hedberg knocked aside all 23 shots he faced, including a shorthanded penalty shot attempt by Michael Grabner, to earn himself the shutout. 

"I don't think a whole lot," said Streit when I asked him what should be changed for tomorrow's game.

"I think we did a lot of good things, but we got to try even harder and put pucks on net and get bodies there, deflections. We need a goal off a skate or off a shin pad or whatever it takes. But we need shots, a lot of shots and traffic in front of their goalie because I think tomorrow is going to play Marty (Brodeur), and we know who he is and how he plays so it's going to be a big thing that we execute."

The Islanders appeared to be making too many pass attempts and not shooting the puck enough, and that was something Jack Capuano touched upon in his post-game press conference. 

"The one disappointing thing to me tonight was we had opportunities to get pucks and bodies to the net on our odd-man rushes. And we were just a little too cute."

"We overplayed the puck a little bit."

And that was putting it nicely. There might not be a lot that needs to be changed for tomorrow night's game, but starting with more shots on net might be the way to go.

-Rob McGowan

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