Uniondale, NY -- The Islanders playoff hopes took another hit this afternoon with a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. The Islanders scored the games opening goal, but saw their lead evaporate after the Panthers tied the game at one in the first and scored three unanswered goals in the second period.
“It wasn’t a very good first two periods for us,” a frustrated John Tavares said. “We did some good things in the third period, but not good enough, especially in a big game like this.”
The Islanders jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first after PA Parenteau gave Frans Nielsen a good breakout pass. Nielsen finished the play off by firing one past Jose Theodore on the Islanders first shot of the game.
The lead would last less than a period. Tyson Strachan scored off the face-off in the Islanders end to make tie the game at one late in the first period. The Panthers blew the game wide open in the second beginning with a Tomas Fleischmann goal early in the period. Kris Versteeg made it 3-1 off a power play goal at 11:41 and Jack Skille put the dagger in the Isles heart when he scored to make it 4-1.
“We had the opening goal we wanted and had a decent start for the first five,” Tavares said. “But then we just were not playing our game for a good period and a half… Some breakdowns and we didn’t capitalize on some of our opportunities and I don’t think we made it as difficult on them until later on in the game.”
“We didn’t come out and play very hard today,” Matt Martin added after the game. “Once again, we knew what was at stake…another big (game) against Florida and we don’t come out and play well enough.”
A win today would have moved the Islanders into 11th in the east and six points out of a playoff spot. Instead they remain eight points out with tough matchups against the Jets and Blues.
“These games are so important at this time of year with where we are in the standings,” Tavares said. “There is no excuse for us to not be ready to play or have our feet moving or have our game going off the bat. We have to improve in that area.”
“We gotta take a look in the mirror here,” Martin later said. “Figure out what we wanna be. We wanna be a playoff team, so we gotta come play every night here on out and bring our best effort.”
After the game the question was raised whether the back-to-back games had any affect on the Islanders play. Matt Martin didn’t believe it did.
“They played an afternoon game yesterday too,” he said. “There’s no reason for them to have more jump than us. They’re on the road and we played both games at home. I don’t think that’s really an excuse, I think we just didn’t prepare ourselves well enough for the game today”no comments
Islanders’ general manager Garth Snow has no plans of moving Evgeni Nabokov at the trade deadline.
"We have no intention of moving Evgeni," Snow told ESPN.com. "He’s been great for us. His performance speaks for itself."
The 36-year-old goaltender has been on a roll for the Islanders. He’s won 11 of his last16 starts. In 28 games Nabokov has posted a .917 save percentage along with a 2.19 goals against average.
He stopped a season high 45 shots to shutout the Flyers on Tuesday and pushed aside 34 shots Saturday in the 2-1 win over the Kings.
The ESPN article suggests that, while talks contract negations have not begun between the Isles and Nabokov, it’s not out of the question later in the season. Though whether or not Nabokov wants to stay on Long Island is unclear.
Talks between PA Parenteau and the Islanders have begun. Snow said that Parenteau’s agent and himself have had dialog. Parenteau is another unrestricted free agent who is believed to be a possible trading chip at the deadline.
However it does not seem the Islanders see themselves being sellers at the deadline.
"Yeah, we have a lot of belief in that locker room," Snow said. "Within the last few weeks, we’ve really turned it up a notch as a team. Our specialty teams have improved. We’re just looking forward to the next game."no comments
The Islanders have locked up Frans Nielsen to 4-year, $11 million deal according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Last month a Danish website reported they were close to re-signing the Danish center.
According to McKenzie, Nielsen’s cap annual cap hit will only be $2.75 million. With his year-by-year salary breaking down as follows: $2 million, $2.5 million, $3 million and $3.5 million.
In 51 games for the Islanders this season Nielsen has 9 goals and 16 assists for 25 points. He scored two goals and an assist on Saturday night against buffalo and is on pace for a 39 point season.
With Nielsen re-signed it’s highly unlikely that he will be moved before or at the trade deadline. The deal will be made official tomorrow.no comments
The Islander have called up defensemen Aaron Ness this morning, after they lost Travis Hamonic and Milan Jurcina suffered injuries in the previous two games. Hamonic is out for two weeks with a broken nose and Jurcina is out with an elbow laceration.
Ness is expected to make his season debute against the Flyers tomorrow night. This season has two goals and 15 assists for 17 points this season for the Sound Tigers.no comments
Uniondale, NY -- The Islanders lost Travis Hamonic for the next two weeks after he took a puck to the face early in the third period.
5:21 into the Third, Hamonic went down lying on the ice momentarily as a pool of blood formed below him. Team trainers quickly rushed over to him and helped him off the ice. He was taken to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery to repair a broken nose and received stitches.
The loss of the 21 year old, who has been one of the Islanders top defensemen this season, Could not have come at a worse time. The Islanders have games against Philadelphia, who’ve always give them problems, along with games against Montreal, LA, Winnipeg, St. Luis and Carolina. Not the easiest of matchups.
Hamonic’s absence was noticeable in the third period during last night’s loss to the Sabres and may have contributed to the loss.
“It definitely hurts,” PA Parenteau said about the loss of Hamonic last night. “Travis is one of our best defensemen, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to bear down. We can’t use that as excuses, but he’s one of our best defensemen and it hurt us down the stretch. Especially play back-to-back nights like that.”
“I think when you play back to back and a guy that plays key minutes for us against key opposition and their top lines definitely had a play in [the game’s outcome],” Isles head coach Jack Capuano said about the loss of Hamonic. “
The Islanders will not have Hamonic back until at least February 20 against the Ottawa Senators.
Islanders Still Believe They Can Make the Playoffs
Uniondale, NY -- Even after they had lost to the Sabres last night, the Islanders still believed they could make a run at the postseason.
“Of course,” Al Montoya responded when asked about the topic. “We’re taking it day by day. Today we didn’t get the two, but we got the one. It’s important that we keep going forward and knowing what’s making us successful and doing the right things.
PA Parenteau, while upset over the loss, was optimistic that the team recent performance. He believes they are play with confidence.
“I feel pretty good about it,” He said about his team’s play. “I feel like we’re playing with confidence. Tonight maybe we ran out of gas a little bit, but I feel pretty confident. We played some pretty good hockey lately. The guys are feeling it and we got some good goaltending, so I feel pretty confident of our chances [at the postseason].”
The Islanders have 31 games left to play in the 2011-12 season and at this point in the season they do not have to many losses to give if the want to realistically have a playoff chance.
“We’re in this kind of position where every point is crucial,” said team captain Mark Streit. “Especially the next three to four weeks… This time of the year if you look at the standings one or two points could make the difference at the end of the season.”
The Islanders are 10 points behind the eighth place Toronto Maple Leafs and will need to go 17-10-4 in the remainder of the season to have a chance at the post season. They will also need to Toronto and/or Washington to taper off down the stretch.no comments
Uniondale, NY -- The Islanders lost a crucial game to the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3, last night at Nassau Coliseum. After jumping ahead by two goals early in the game, Buffalo was able to close the gap and win in the shootout.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t come away with two points,” Al Montoya said after the game. “We knew it was going to be a tough weekend. We played well last night, coming in here against a good team, huge points on the line and we didn’t have many chance. And when we did we beard down and made them count. Just there is going to be momentum throughout the game.”
The Islanders did not start the first period the way they wanted to. They looked tired from having just played the night before. The Islanders managed to power through it and get the games opening goal. A bad give away behind the net allowed Michael Grabner to feed Frans Nielsen in front. Nathan Gerbe countered it with a goal for the Sabres four minutes later. Josh Bailey would put the Islanders back on top scoring off his own rebound just as an Islanders penalty was expiring. Frans Nielsen added his second goal of the night to make it a 3-1 Islander lead with 2:42 left if the first period.