Pregame for 2/9/13: Islanders look to end skid against Buffalo
Steve Giangaspro on Sat, 2013-02-09 19:10
As Long Islanders shovel their way out of Nemo's wintery wrath, the Islanders look to dig themselves out of this 3 game losing streak.
After a successful road trip, the Islanders returned home to lose to New Jersey and Pittsburgh and went back to the road for the first against the Rangers.
Other than John Tavares' impressive play, the Islanders looked outworked, unenthusiastic and just overwhelmed by the Rangers.
They have been outscored 11-3 on this recent skid. It is obvious that scoring is not coming to the team as easily as it once was.
It is important for the team not to harp on losses and let them snowball into long stretches of futility that could render this season a wash.
The season is too tightly packed for the Islanders to feel bad for themselves and let the losses mount. In this talented Eastern Conference and more specifically Atlantic Division, it is easy to get buried.
Islanders are back at the Coliseum tonight with the Sabres coming in. With the roads of Long Island being treacherous, the Islanders should be expecting a smaller crowd.
Buffalo has been uninspiring this year and with a talented roster that shouldn't last long. They sit at 4-6-1 having lost 3 of 4.
Vanek has been superb this year tallying 10 goals paired with 11 assists already in this young season. Certainly their last place position in the Northeast Division is not his fault.
As for the Islanders, reinforcements are here. Josh Bailey is returning for his season debut and Lubomir Visnovsky dresses in an Islanders uniform for the first time ever. The 36 year old provides leadership and solidifies a blue line that needs some assistance. The saga from the offseason is over and Lubo will certainly hear mixed reactions from the Islanders' faithful.
The Islanders can hope he follows in Nabokov's footsteps and earn the fans respect after shutting them out earlier this season. He will have his chance to tell his side of this story in the coming days.
Fans should put how they feel personally about the man and appreciate the hockey player because he is needed right now to better the roster.
These reinforcements are much needed to stop the dismal performance of their power play recently.
The power play has faced a serious dry spell going 0 for 19 after starting the season 9 for 24. This has dropped their power play success to 14th in the league after starting the season near the top of the league.
According to Arthur Staple of Newsday, Boulton, Reasoner and Finley are out tonight. Casey Cizikas returns after being a healthy scratch on Thursday.
Nabokov will make his 7th straight start after a less than stellar effort against the Rangers. He wasn't helped out by his defense most of the night but he wasn't his usual sharp self.
Ryan Miller has yet to really find his rhythm in this shortened season with a 2-4-1 record a 3.69 GAA in his last seven starts. Historically, Miller has had a lot of success against the Islanders with a 13-8-2 despite a 3.10 GAA.
The Islanders' shooters should look forward to tossing pucks to the net at a shaky Miller. The Sabres have given up a league worst 41 goals. This includes a stretch of giving up atleast 4 in their last 6 games.
The Islanders have to be instructed to put the puck on net because against Buffalo, it seems that the puck seems to find a way to go in t his year.
The season is too short to allow these losing streaks to grow. Look for the Islanders to play with more heart and more desperation than they showed at Madison Square Garden.
*Matt Carkner is placed on the DL with a groin injury on Friday 2/8.
*Frans Nielsen leads the team in assists with 8
*Islanders are 5-1-1 in their 7 most recent home games against Buffalo.