The Boston Bruins pummeled the Isles 6-1 in front of a sellout crowd of 8,600, -- a large number of which were Bruins fans -- at Webster Bank Arena. Kyle Okposo scored the lone goal for the Islanders on the power play after Brock Nelson left the game after being hit from behind by Kevan Miller in the second period.
The Islanders fielded a roster primarily made up of AHL players and a handful of NHL regulars, which played into how the game turned out, but it was still as ugly a preseason loss as they come. Inside the locker room after the game there was a very somber atmosphere. You could tell no one was taking the loss lightly.
"It's just disappointing that we hung our goalie out to dry tonight", John Tavares told reporters after the game. "For me, and I know we had a lot of young guys in the lineup, but it was an opportunity to play hard and show a lot of things. We just didn't play well enough."
The Islanders were slow to start off the first period and after getting a little jump in the second period the Bruins pelted Chad Johnson with shot after shot. Although, when all was said and done the Islanders outshot the Bruins 33-25.
It should be said that since Friday's game against the Bruins was compiled largely of AHL bound players, the blow out loss should not be viewed as extravagantly as other preseason contests. Below are some notes and observations from Friday's game none the less:
- Chad Johnson played lights out for the Islanders. Yes he surrendered six goals, but as Tavares said he was hung out to dry. For most of the game he made save after save, including one highlight reel toe save early in the contest. If Johnson plays the way he did on Friday, and Halak can play at a high level between the pipes, than the Islanders will have a very, very good goaltending tandem through the 2014-15 campaign.
- The Islanders penalty kill still needs work. The Isles surrendered two power play goals on Friday night and allowed at least one power play goal in all but two of their preseason games this year. The penalty kill was something that the Isles struggled with last season and continue to look disjointed on in the preseason. Bridgeport Sound Tigers Head Coach Brent Thompson, who was behind the bench friday while Jack Capuano watched from above, said it was a work in progress. "A couple big blemishes, but it's a work in progress. You can't say one thing was bad because we're working on it right now on some of our structural pieces," Thompson said.
- Brock Nelson finally had his audition for the Islanders top line on Friday. The 22-year-old forward played most of the night with Tavares and Okposo. Nelson played well with the duo, despite not making any knock your socks off type plays. "I think as the game went on we started to play a lot better, Tavares said when asked about playing with Nelson. "We generated quite a few opportunities in the second... For the most part it was pretty comfortable." In the third period Thompson moved Strome to first line wing and moved Nelson elsewhere.
- Joshua Ho-Sang hasn't played in an exhibition game since the preseason opener against Ottawa. He was in the lineup on Friday night and displayed his speed and stick handling ability, but it was easy to see he still has some development to go through. One noticeable thing was his habit of trying to do too much with the puck. He will need to learn to make the simple play instead of trying to dance around defenders.
- The Islanders will begin making real cuts to the roster tomorrow. According to Arthur Staple, Capuano will cut the roster down to 26-27 players on Saturday. They still need to shave that down to the 23-man roster by Tuesday, so that is likely when the toughest decisions will be made.