After catching both ends of the home and home with the Carolina Hurricanes this weekend, I can happily report that the Isles are 2-0. Given recent history with the Canes, that is saying a lot. Of course, as many have pointed out, the Canes came in without Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner, and lost Eric Staal part way through the second game tonight, and it’s not like they are predicted to be world beaters with those guys. Still two wins in two games is good news and we’ll take it!
- 1. You can’t complain about the offense or the PowerPlay. Tavares, Boychuk and Nelson have been producing a ton of points with the man advantage, and let’s face it, the Isles haven’t had a booming shot like that on the PP in awhile!
- 2. The other lines have been a little less consistent and haven’t domianted play, but they’ve gotten goals from Grabovski, Conacher and Bailey in these two games, so that’s a good sign that there might actually be some secondary scoring this season!
- 3. The penalty kill, meanwhile, seems to be a mess. 4 PP goals given up to this CArolina lineup? Ugh. I hope this isn’t a result of missing Grabner and is more just a unit that needs to figure out playing together, but it needs to happen soon. Poor penalty killing hurt the Isles last year and it’ll hurt them again.
- 4. The struggles of the third defensive pairing, Strait and Reinhart is not that surprising. Once DeHaan and Visnovsky are healthy, these guys can go back to playing the roles they are suited to right now, Strait as the extra defender playing with a strong partner when he does play, and Reinhart in Bridgeport playing 25-30 minutes a game and honing his skills.
- 5. I can’t hep but feeling like Clutterbuck would be better suited to playing on the third line. How good could that line be with Neilsen centering Kulemin and Clutterbuck in terms of being a good defensive matchup and annoying the hell out of the first line of other teams? The problem, of course, is that Bailey and Kulemin seem to be very similar players. Neither is suited to play alongside Cizikas and Martin. So Clutterbuck is back there, for now.
Anyway you look at it, it’s good to see the Islanders winning games they should win. Now it’s on to MSG and a good measuring stick game against the Rangers, who are coming off a feisty loss in Columbus.
What has impressed you the most so far this young season? What has you worried?