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Islanders look for spark against Lightning
Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Ryan Strome (18) skates with the puck during the second period of their game against the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

(AP) -- The lack of offense that has plagued the Tampa Bay Lightning all season remains, though it hasn't prevented them from a recent run of success at home.

They can thank Ben Bishop for that.

Bishop will almost certainly be back in net looking to continue his success at Amalie Arena on Saturday night when the New York Islanders visit.

Despite matching a season-best three-game win streak with Bishop in goal, the Lightning rested their No. 1 with games on back-to-back nights and started backup Andre Vasilevskiy on Friday at Washington.

That decision didn't pay off as the Capitals scored the game's first four goals and held on for a 4-2 victory, sending Tampa Bay to its sixth loss in eight road contests.

"You've got to be sharp and for whatever reason we didn't start the way we wanted to," forward Brian Boyle said. "I don't know if we were too respectful of some of their skill or what, but it wasn't our game for the first 50, 45 minutes."

Vasilevskiy faced 31 shots over the first two periods and finished with a season-high 33 saves, but the Lightning (11-10-3) have lost his last three starts compared to their 4-0-1 record in Bishop's past five - all at home. He's surrendered one goal or fewer four times in that span, posting a 1.36 goals-against average.

Bishop's success on home ice is not limited to this season. He's 53-14-7 with a 2.13 GAA in 76 games there since joining the Lightning in April 2013.

Tampa Bay has totaled 11 goals in its past four games, an improvement for a team that ranks near the bottom of the league with 2.33 per contest.

Besides a poor start, the Lightning's other big problem Friday was their usually reliable penalty-killing unit. They were beaten three times in four opportunities after their opponents went 5 for 49 in the previous 18 games.

"Our special teams were not good tonight and that's ultimately what cost us the game," coach Jon Cooper told the team's official website.

That may not be an issue against an Islanders power play that is 2 for 36 in 12 games this month. An opportunity that carried into overtime gave them a chance to improve those totals Friday at Florida, but they failed to convert and lost 3-2 in a shootout.

It was the third defeat in four games for New York (11-8-4), which did rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period.

"First and foremost we had a great comeback, a very hard-fought one point," said Ryan Strome, who scored in his first game after a demotion to the minors. "Pretty good team effort in the third to battle back."

In need of a spark, New York could get it with the possible return of defenseman Thomas Hickey, who has missed 15 games with a lower-body injury. He would likely replace veteran Marek Zidlicky in the lineup.

Jaroslav Halak rarely plays on back-to-back days so Thomas Greiss is the likely starter for the Islanders. Greiss has allowed three goals or fewer in each of his nine starts this season and made 32 saves in his only game against the Lightning, a 6-3 victory for Pittsburgh on Jan. 2.

The Islanders have earned at least a point in eight of the past nine (6-1-2) against Tampa Bay, winning the final two last season.

Bishop, though, is 3-0-1 with a 1.66 GAA in his last four meetings.

Barkov's shootout goal gives Panthers 3-2 win over Islanders

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Aleksander Barkov scored the winner in a five-round shootout and the Florida Panthers beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Friday night.

The Panthers scored on all five of their attempts, while the Islanders converted four before Roberto Luongo stopped Brock Nelson to end the game.

It was the Panthers' third straight win over the Islanders, who host Florida in Brooklyn on Dec. 15.

With Florida ahead 2-0 after two periods, the Islanders stormed back with a pair of goals just over three minutes apart in the third.

Ryan Strome beat Luongo high to the glove side for his second goal of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 5:36 gone, and Josh Bailey converted on a one-timer in traffic for his fourth to tie it up at 8:39.

Goals by Brandon Pirri and Jussi Jokinen gave Florida its 2-0 lead.

Tags: Brock Nelson , Jaroslav Halak , Ryan Strome
GM Garth Snow is not motivated to sign Kyle Okposo
New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) plays the puck against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is not motivated to sign RW Kyle Okposo, according to Darren Greger of TSN (Nov. 27).

Okposo, 27, is second on the Islanders in points this season with 19. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 this offseason.

There is a possibility that Okposo could join teammate Travis Hamonic on the trading block if a new deal is unable to be reached. 

Tags: Kyle Okposo , Travis Hamonic
Where the Travis Hamonic Rumors stand
Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic says his trade request his strictly because a personal family matter. (AP)


  • 3:10PM: Friedman says that the Oilers are in on Hamonic "big" but need to find a way to get it done. (Nichols)

  • 3:10PM: Friedman says that Winnipeg seems to have decided that they won't trade Trouba for Hamonic. (Nichols)

  • Elliotte Friedman says that according to his information Garth Snow won't make a deal unless it helps the Islanders now. Snow's intention originally was to make a 1 for 1 trade with Hamonic where the Islanders got a defenseman in return. (Nichols)


  • Darren Dreger says that his sense is that a Hamonic deal is status quo and not closer today than it was last week. (Nichols)


  • Many teams called last week and were told they are not a fit for Hamonic. (Sportsnet)
  • The Islanders asked Calgary for T.J. Brodie which is a "non-starter" for the Flames and Dougie Hamilton doesn't seem to be what Garth Snow is interested in. (Sportsnet
  • Colorado wants in but probably isn't a match. (Sportsnet
  • Minnesota is looking to trade a defenseman in return for a forward so they may not be a fit for Hamonic. (Sportsnet
  • Edmonton seems unwilling to part with Darnell Nurse but Elliotte Friedman thinks that the Isles may be looking more at a forward with term for Hamonic.(Sportsnet
  • The Islanders likely have asked Winnipeg for Jacob Trouba and the Jets are the most "logical fit" but "if it was so easy it would be done already." (Sportsnet
  • TSN's Ryan Rishaug talked about Hamonic on the Islanders Point Blank Podcast (LISTEN)
  • Minnesota has interest in Hamonic and has talked with Snow. (Nichols)
  • The Oilers are believed to be one of the more aggressive teams looking at Hamonic. (Nichols)


Tags: Travis Hamonic
Cizikas finishes Clutterbuck's shorthanded rush to set tone for Isles
Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

The Islanders found themselves in a familiar position in the first period of Wednesday night's game: trailing after allowing a power play goal. This time, though, the PK would answer back.

With just over a minute left in the first period and the team killing off a two-minute minor on Nick Leddy for boarding, Cal Clutterbuck got the puck in space, rushed it up ice, and saw an opening.

Clutterbuck gained the Philadelphia zone and beat Jakub Vorachek with a nifty move to the inside, then cut in toward Steve Mason. His initial shot caromed directly to Casey Cizikas, who swatted the puck toward the net and beat Mason on his stick side.

"It was better," Isles head coach Jack Capuano told reporters about the penalty kill. "We did some good things; we still struggled . . . [but that goal] gave us a little bit of a lift."

The goal was the Isles' third shorthanded tally of the season.

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

This one not only set the tone for the game, but may very well end up being a defining moment in this season. Think I'm overselling it?

The Isles were in a funk we've grown all too accustomed to this season. They had taken three penalties, already allowed a power play goal, and were in a very precarious position. They were missing wide open men on breakout passes and had resorted to the much-maligned dump-and-chase routine. Had they allowed another before the first stanza was out, this may have been the game that put some people's jobs in jeopardy.

Instead, Clutterbuck had some great recognition that he had Vorachek in an uncomfortable position, moving backward and on the defensive. It's this kind of aggressiveness that served the PK so well early in the season. The move would have been impressive for even a first-liner, and give Cizikas credit for just throwing the puck on net in hopes that something good happened.

The goal changed the whole complexion of the game, and it could be a moment we point back to if the Isles can keep the ball rolling.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck , Casey Cizikas
Isles get physical in win over Flyers

The Islanders finally asserted themselves physically in Wednesday's win over the Flyers.

In the second period, Nick Leddy dropped the gloves for the first time in his career when he took on Claude Giroux. Seven minutes later, Matt Martin squared off with Wayne Simmonds.

"We needed a good, hard, physical game like that." Casey Cizikas said. "Those games are fun. When they get testy like that, when they get physical like that, that's what makes the game of hockey so much fun. I think we thrived off of that." The Isles had fought just three times this season prior to the game.

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

I love that the Isles finally seemed to get that they are fighting for their lives early in this season. I always felt like this was a team that was pacing itself and trying to play a measured, cerebral game. The problem with that is the execution was inconsistent, and sometimes the best cure is just to go out and hit someone.

On Wednesday, there was a sense of urgency among this club, and it manifested itself in a chippy, hard-hitting game. The Isles couldn't afford to just sit around and wait to take control of this game, so they matched the Flyers' physical play, and it served them well. I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to set the tone in a similar way when the club makes its way through Florida this weekend.

Tags: Brian Erni
Strome recalled by Islanders
Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Ryan Strome (18) skates with the puck during the second period of their game against the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Ryan Strome has been recalled from Bridgeport and will rejoin the Islanders on Thursday, the team announced.

The 22-year-old was demoted after he scored just one goal and had four assists through New York's first 12 games. In eight games with the Sound Tigers, he had two goals and two assists.

Strome, the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, scored 17 goals and recorded 33 assists in 81 games with the Islanders last season.

Tags: Ryan Strome
Islanders return Beck to Bridgeport

The Islanders returned LW Taylor Beck on loan to Bridgeport after their win on Wednesday night, the team announced.

Beck, 24, had been recalled from Bridgeport on Oct. 31 and appeared in just two games.

Tags: Taylor Beck
Islanders beat Flyers 3-1

NEW YORK (AP) Jaroslav Halak made 17 saves and Kyle Okposo put New York ahead early in the second period to lead the Islanders over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Casey Cizikas and Frans Nielsen also scored and New York improved to 11-8-3.

The win snapped the Islanders' two-game losing streak.

Steve Mason made 33 saves and Claude Giroux scored the Flyers' lone goal.

Philadelphia has lost four of five and fell to 7-10-5.

The first of five meetings this season between Philadelphia and New York was a chippy affair. There were post-whistle scrums seemingly after every whistle, and tempers boiled over in the second period when Nick Leddy fought Giroux.

Leddy had earned the Flyers' ire in the first period after boarding Michael Raffl face first into the half boards.

Seven minutes after the Leddy-Giroux fight, Matt Martin squared off with Wayne Simmonds.

According to, New York had three fights this season prior to Wednesday night, and the Flyers had eight.

New York took a 2-1 lead 5:14 into the second period on Okposo's fifth of the season. John Tavares won an offensive zone faceoff to begin the sequence, and Okposo gained possession of the puck along the wall, then curled toward the net before flipping a harmless-looking shot that appeared to ricochet off Nick Schultz and over Mason.

The teams traded goals in the first period and the long-time rivals went into the first intermission tied 1-1. Giroux opened the scoring with a power-play goal from the left circle 3:59 into the game, but Cizikas equalized with a short-handed goal with 58 seconds left in the period. It New York's third short-handed tally this season.

New York's penalty kill came into the game ranked 11th in the NHL, while Philadelphia's power play was 24th.

The Islanders outshot Philadelphia 35-18. New York had a 64-46 advantage in total shots.

NOTES: This game marked Colin McDonald's season debut. The Flyers called up the ex-Islander from AHL Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He had played in four games this season with the Phantoms, where he had two assists. ... Philadelphia scratched Vincent LecavalierEvgeny Medvedev and Sam Gagner. Lecavalier has been scratched the last six games. The 35-year old is in the third year of a five-year, $22.5 million contract. He has one assist in seven games this season. ... New York scratched Adam Pelech and Taylor Beck. ... The teams came into the match having split the last 16 matches between the rivals, according to the NHL. The Islanders were 8-8-0 while the Flyers were 8-3-5. ... The announced attendance was 13,027.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak , Kyle Okposo
Isles try to return to winning ways against the Flyers
New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo (21) celebrates with teammates including John Tavares (91) and Anders Lee (27) after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre. (Eric Bolte)

(AP) -- After failing to contain their latest opponent, the New York Islanders are likely relishing a chance to face one of league's least prolific teams.

The visiting Philadelphia Flyers are coming off an end to a lengthy scoring drought and will attempt to claim a rare set of consecutive victories Wednesday night.

The Islanders (10-8-3) gave up nine goals in back-to-back losses to Montreal and faltered late in a 4-2 road defeat Sunday. The Canadiens scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:29 remaining, their third on the power play, and had a short-handed score in the second period.

On the flip side, New York went 0 for 5 with a man advantage and is 0 for 8 in the two games.

"I thought we battled and played well. I thought we should have got a better outcome," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "We just have to continue to bear down and do a good job on our special teams because they're usually good."

The Flyers, meanwhile, converted a pair of power plays and captain Claude Giroux tallied a short-handed goal in a 3-2 overtime victory over Carolina on Monday.

Brayden Schenn ended Philadelphia's scoreless drought at 167:54 - the fifth-longest in franchise history - before the Flyers (7-9-5) allowed the Hurricanes to rally. Shayne Gostisbehere snapped Philadelphia's three-game skid and gave the team its third win in 14 games just 24 seconds into the extra period.

The Flyers still have plenty of work to do to increase their 1.76 goals per game. They totaled a franchise-worst 34 in their first 20 games.

Drawing more penalties could prove one successful method as the team has a respectable 23.1 percent conversion rate on the man advantage in the last eight contests. Philadelphia has also killed all 12 penalties in its past three.

"We're pushing a lot of small areas in the right direction. We just have to keep pushing," first-year coach Dave Hakstol said. "I think the feeling and the focus in the locker room is good. Nobody's comfortable with the won-loss record, and that's a good thing."

The Islanders rallied then faltered just before the buzzer in the latest matchup with the Flyers, a 5-4 loss on April 7 that ended a four-game win streak in the series. Schenn scored the winning goal with 2.1 seconds left after New York found the net twice in the prior two minutes, including Anders Lee's equalizer with 28 seconds remaining.

In its first visit to Brooklyn's Barclays Center, Philadelphia seeks back-to-back wins for just the third time this season and first since Oct. 21 and 24. The Islanders took each of the last three meetings at the old Nassau Coliseum, registering a 7-4 victory in the final one Jan. 19.

John Tavares had a goal and an assist in that game, giving him nine goals and five assists in his last 13 matchups. The New York captain has five goals and three assists in his past six overall games.

Giroux's 37 points versus the Islanders are his most against any opponent and his 11 goals are tied for his second-most behind his 15 against Washington. He scored two goals in the win in April.


Tags: John Tavares

Brian Compton and Mike Carver discuss the latest surrounding Travis Hamonic's trade request. Plus, the guys chat with TSN's Ryan Rishaug about the Hamonic rumors, and the teams that could be involved in a deal. The guys also take a look at what's going on on the ice, including two brutal losses to the Canadiens.

Tags: Travis Hamonic
Islanders assign Jean-Francois Berube to AHL Bridgeport
New York Islanders starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save against the Washington Capitals during the second period of game four of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Brad Penner)

The New York Islanders have assigned goalie Jean-François Bérubé to AHL Bridgeport for conditioning reasons (Islanders, Nov. 24).

Bérubé, 24, was claimed by the Islanders off waivers on Oct. 6. He has served as their third goalie on the depth chart this season.

On Oct. 10 Bérubé made his lone start of the year against the Chicago Blackhawks. He saved 30 of 34 shots on goal in a 4-1 loss. 

Tags: Tim Reilly
Islanders special teams cost them again
Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) makes a save against New York Islanders during the third period at Bell Centre. (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders had plenty of chances to gain an advantage in Montreal on Sunday, but their special teams went ice cold.

The Isles were 0-for-5 on the power play, and saw Montreal cash in three of their five chances with the man advantage.

This month, the Isles are 2-for-33 on the power play (6 percent conversion rate), a stretch that spans 10 games (4-6). They've surrendered nine power plan goals in those 10 contests as well.

"Our penalty kill has got to be better," Jack Capuano told reporters after the game. "The last couple weeks, we've given up goals and they're all timely ones. We're right where we need to be tonight, tied with five minutes left, and we don't give ourselves a chance."

Brian Erni

Are these numbers for real? Six percent?! Is that even possible? On Sunday, Anders Lee's goal came just as the power play expired, but even at that, that's a staggering rate of failure. The Isles need to make changes on personnel with the man advantage. I've said it before, but Johnny Boychuk needs to be at the point on the first unit. I love Nick Leddy, but the team isn't getting enough pucks to the net. Boychuk's shot can help in the way.

The penalty kill, though, was just as discouraging in Montreal. Granted one of the three goals was on an empty net, but the way the kill is giving up tallies at such critical junctures of the game is back-breaking. Since the second half of last season, the PK has been so effective. Taking into account how inconsistently the Isles have played at 5-on-5 over the first month and a half of the season, they can't hit a lull now. They'd probably benefit from a little less chasing, without losing their aggressiveness, and find a way to get in the shooting lanes to not give their opponents as clear looks as they're getting lately.

Whatever the case may be, they need to snap out of it, and in a hurry.

Tags: Anders Lee , Nick Leddy , Brian Erni
Galchenyuk's late goal lifts Canadiens over Islanders 4-2
Nov 22, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots on Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) as defenseman Jeff Petry (26) and center David Desharnais (51) defend during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

MONTREAL (AP) -- Alex Galchenyuk broke a tie with 3:29 left and Max Pacioretty added an empty-net goal to lift the Montreal Canadiens over the New York Islanders 4-2 on Sunday night to complete a weekend home-and-home sweep.

Galchenyuk one-timed a pass from P.K Subban for this third goal of the season during a power play. About 2 minutes later, the Islanders were called for too many men and Travis Hamonic was given a game misconduct penalty, setting up Pacioretty's power-play empty-netter.

David Desharnais also scored on the power play for his seventh goal and Tomas Fleischmann added his seventh this season for Montreal. Carey Price made 21 saves and the Canadiens followed a 5-3 win over the Islanders on Friday night with another victory.

John Tavares gave New York a 1-0 lead late in the first period, and Anders Lee made it 2-1 Islanders with 8:07 left in the third. Thomas Greiss made 23 saves.

The Canadiens lost forward Brendan Gallagher to injury midway through the second period. Gallagher went to the dressing room clutching his left hand and did not return to the game after blocking a slap shot by Johnny Boychuck.

Montreal has now defeated New York in six straight encounters and in nine of the last 10.

On the opening goal by Tavares, Price gave up an uncharacteristically juicy rebound on Hamonic's shot from the point. Winger Kyle Okposo jumped on the puck, circled Price and fed Tavares for an easy tap-in with 1:19 left.

Desharnais scored the equalizer on the power play at the 9:37 of the second. The Canadiens forward got the better of Hamonic during a goal-mouth scramble, connecting on a loose puck in the blue paint.

Fleischmann gave the home team the lead on a great individual play with 5:51 left in the second. With Montreal playing short-handed, Fleischmann stole the puck from Okposo at the blue line and fired home his seventh of the season on the breakaway.

The Canadiens now lead the NHL with five short-handed goals.

As time expired on a penalty to Dale Weise, Lee tied the game 2-2.

Recalled from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps, 22-year-old Sven Andrighetto made his season debut. The speedy forward finished the game with 10:23 of ice time.

NOTES: Montreal forwards Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body) and Torrey Mitchell (lower body) were not in the lineup. ... Price improved to 9-2-0 on the season. The Canadiens netminder is now 11-3-3 career against the Isles.

Tags: Anders Lee , John Tavares , Travis Hamonic
Islanders take on Price, Canadiens
Nov 20, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

(AP) -- Already dealing with a delicate off-ice situation, the last thing the New York Islanders may need right now is another matchup with the Montreal Canadiens.

Especially with a healthy Carey Price.

Fresh off Price's triumphant return, the Canadiens aim for a home-and-home sweep of the Islanders as the teams face off Sunday night at Bell Centre.

Price showed little rust in his first game back from a lower-body injury that had sidelined the reigning Hart and Vezina Trophy recipient since Oct. 29, making 33 saves in the Canadiens' 5-3 win in Brooklyn.

"He looked like he was right on top his game," Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry. "He played well and made some big saves for us."

It's unclear whether Price will draw another start or if Mike Condon will get the nod Sunday. Both own victories over New York (10-7-3) this season to extend Montreal's series win streak to five and give the Canadiens eight wins in the last nine meetings.

Price is 6-1-0 with a 1.57 goals-against average over that stretch. Condon made 17 saves in a 4-1 triumph in Montreal on Nov. 5.

The Islanders were sloppy early on in their first outing since news of Travis Hamonic's trade request became public, surrendering first-period goals to Petry, Tomas Fleischmann and Nathan Beaulieu to build a deficit they couldn't recover from.

"They seemed like they were just a little sharper, a little crisper, a little bit more on their toes early and it seemed to take us a while to get going," captain John Tavares said. "We were behind the 8-ball at that point."

Petry also scored the eventual game-winner in the second period for the defenseman's first career multi-goal game.

"He was unbelievable," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "Not only offensively, but defensively he was really sharp."

Hamonic recorded his first goal of the season in the loss. The defenseman has asked the team to be traded closer to his Winnipeg-area home because of an undisclosed family matter.

Brock Nelson added two goals for New York, giving him five over a five-game point streak in which he's scored in four straight.

Brendan Gallagher has a point in seven consecutive games for Montreal (15-4-2) after an empty-net goal in the final seconds. The top-line wing has four goals and five assists over the run and produced a goal and an assist in the home win over the Islanders earlier this month.

Montreal is averaging 3.5 goals and given Jaroslav Halak problems in both previous meetings. The former Canadien was pulled after one period Friday and stopped 20 of 23 shots in the Nov. 5 loss.

Halak, who spent his first four NHL seasons with Montreal from 2006-10, has a 5.46 GAA in his last three encounters with his ex-team. He saved just 27 of 33 chances in a 6-4 loss at Bell Centre on Jan. 17.

Thomas Greiss turned back 15 of 16 attempts in relief, an effort that could earn him his first start since Nov. 13. The German owns a 2.17 GAA this season and has yielded three goals in winning his last two starts, road victories over San Jose and Anaheim.

GEICO SportsNite: NY Islanders 00:00:28
Jack Capuano and John Tavares speak after the Islanders' 5-3 loss to the Canadiens and discuss their inability to capitalize.
Canadiens beat Islanders in Price's return
Nov 20, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jeff Petry had his first two-goal game to lead the Montreal Canadiens over the New York Islanders 5-3 on Friday night in Carey Price's return from a lower-body injury.

Price, the NHL's reigning MVP and Vezina Trophy winner, had missed eight games. He made 33 saves to help Montreal win for the second time in three games.

Tomas Fleischmann, Nathan Beaulieu and Brendan Gallagher also scored, and the Canadiens improved to 15-4-2. Montreal's 32 points are tied with Dallas for most in the NHL.

Despite two goals from Brock Nelson, New York fell to 10-7-3. The loss snapped the Islanders' two-game winning streak.

Travis Hamonic added a goal for New York.

Montreal won the first two games of the regular-season series against New York. The teams will meet Sunday in Montreal for the third and final time this season.

It didn't take long for the Canadiens to get comfortable in their first game at the Barclays Center - they led 3-1 at the first intermission.

Petry opened the scoring at 2:52 with his second of the season. After pinching down to the low slot, he found a rebound of Brian Flynn's shot that had ricocheted off the cross bar and tapped it in.

Nelson scored about 9 minutes later with his seventh of the season, and his fourth in four straight games, by shoving a rebound through Price. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien used his coach's challenge to have the goal reviewed, and the ruling on the ice was upheld.

The deadlock lasted just 35 seconds. Fleischmann put the Canadiens ahead with his sixth of the season on a shot from the right circle. The sequence began when Frans Nielsen committed a neutral-zone turnover, and then went to the bench as Montreal counterattacked.

Beaulieu increased the lead to 3-1 with 1:43 left in the period.

The Canadiens scored all three of their first-period goals on 11 shots and, in the process, chased Halak from the game. New York coach Jack Capuano replaced Jaroslav Halak with Thomas Griess before the start of the second period.

Halak finished with eight saves. Griess made 15.

New York sliced the deficit to 3-2 just 39 seconds into the second period on Hamonic's first goal of the season. But Petry's power-play goal at 14:49 restored Montreal's two-goal lead.

Nelson cut Montreal's lead to 4-3 with his second of the game 7:25 into the third period. Gallagher's empty-net goal with 19 seconds left in the game ended the scoring.

NOTES: This game was the first for Hamonic after it was revealed he had asked general manager Garth Snow to be traded. Following practice at the Islanders' Syosset, New York, training facility Thursday, Hamonic confirmed Sportsnet and TSN reports that he had requested a trade. "This is a personal family matter of mine that I hold dear to my heart," Hamonic said Thursday. "That's as far as I'm going to go." ... New York scratched Jean-Francois Berube, Adam Pelech and Taylor Beck. ... Torrey Mitchell and Jared Tinordi were Montreal's listed scratches. Therrien said Mitchell will not play this weekend as he is recovering from an injury. ... The announced attendance was 15,171.

Tags: Brock Nelson , Frans Nielsen , Jaroslav Halak
The latest Travis Hamonic trade rumors
Mar 21, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic (3) passes the puck during the third period at Prudential Center. The Islanders defeated the Devils 3-0. (Ed Mulholland)

Travis Hamonic, citing personal reasons, requested a trade at the beginning of the season, preferably to a Western Canadian team. (Nov 19) Islanders general manager Garth Snow is said to want an equitable defensive player in return. The team has given permission to Hamonic's agent Kevin Epp to talk to teams regarding a swap.

Here's a roundup of some of the interested parties.

Edmonton Oilers

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun says the Oilers are "most definitely" interested in Hamonic, and have been in contact with the Isles since before the season. (Nov 19) In fact, LeBrun adds that Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli tried to acquire Hamonic from the Isles before the defenseman even put in his trade request. BruinsDaily writer Jimmy Murphy says the Oilers may be willing to part with Justin Schultz, but he believes that would not be enough to get a deal done. (Nov 19) Darren Dreger agrees Schultz won't get it done. (Nov 19)

Winnipeg Jets

This is Hamonic's preferred destination, since he's a native of close by St. Malo, Manitoba. LeBrun says Jacob Troubais likely "too rich a cost" for the Jets to surrendered for Hamonic. Dustin Byfuglien will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, but SportsNet's Luke Fox says the Jets would be more willing to part with Tyler Myers. (Nov 19)

Calgary Flames

The Flames have also been in touch with the Islanders, and Murphy says an NHL source has said the Islanders want either Dougie Hamilton or T.J. Brodie in a deal with the Flames. Like Hamonic, Hamilton is locked up long term, albeit it a larger cap number (he signed a six-year, $34.5 million contract with Calagry this offseason),, but Murphy adds it's unlikely Calgary would not be willing to give up Hamilton (Nov 19). Fox adds that the Flames have madeDennis Wideman is available.

Minnesota Wild

LeBrun says the Wild could emerge as the dark horse to land Hamonic. However, he adds that "considering the Wild are among the deepest teams in the NHL on the blue line and, perhaps more importantly, have zero cap room, it's not an easy deal to get done." LeBrun says the teams have talked, and Hamonic believes Minnesota is close enough to his Manitoba home to satisfy his personal obligations (a six-hour drive). Fox mentions Mathew Dumba and former Islanders draft pick Jared Spurgeon as potential returns.

Colorado Avalanche

Dreger reported on his Insider Trading segment on TSN on Thursday that Colorado is also in the mix. Dreger cites the Avs' desperate need on the blue-line. SportsNet's Elliotte Friedman, who broke the original Hamonic story, says several teams have been eying Tyson Barrie, who is a restricted free agent this summer. Fox says that if Colorado senses Barrie won't be long for Denver, it could be a fit.

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney said his team is likely not a match to acquire Hamonic, despite having pursued interest in the Islanders' defenseman, according to KTAR's Craig Morgan (Nov. 20). "Any time a good player becomes available on the market, it becomes incumbent on managers to reach out and see if there's a match," Maloney said. "Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be at this point with us."

Tags: Brian Erni
Tonight's Game: Montreal Canadiens at New York Islanders
Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders welcome the Canadiens to Brooklyn for a 7 p.m. game on Friday.

According to STATS...

  • The Canadiens have won four straight and seven of their last eight meetings against the Islanders, including a 4-1 home victory on November 5. The Isles have been held to just one goal scored in three of their past four games against Montreal.
  • The Canadiens have 16 players who have played in all 20 of the team's games this season -- most in the NHL.
  • Max Pacioretty is currently riding a six-game point streak with three goals and five assists during this stretch. Pacioretty's career high point streak is seven games, which he has done twice.
  • Montreal is in the midst of its fourth set of back-to-back games this season. They are 3-0-0 in the second of back-to-backs so far. In 2014-15, they finished with an 8-4-4 mark in the second game of a back-to-back, which was the NHL's sixth-best record in that category.
  • Kyle Okposo recorded his 200th career assist in the Islanders' 5-2 home win over Arizona on Monday. He had three assists total in the game -- the fourth three assist game of his career.
  • With their win over the Coyotes earlier this week, the Isles improved to 8-2-1 against the Western Conference on the season (8-1-0 in the last 9).Only the New York Rangers (7-1-0) and the Dallas Stars (6-1-0) have better records versus the west.
Tags: Montreal Canadiens
Islanders are hitting their stride as they welcome Canadiens to Brooklyn
New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano talks with his team (John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)

After a disappointing stretch, the New York Islanders seem to have found their stride.

Maintaining that momentum could be more difficult now that a peculiar situation has surrounded the team.

Travis Hamonic's tenure with the Islanders likely will come to a close in the near future but he's expected to be in the lineup Friday night against the Montreal Canadiens, who will have Carey Price in net for the first time in three weeks.

News broke Wednesday that Hamonic had requested a trade prior to the start of the season, and the 25-year-old defenseman addressed the media Thursday.

"The root of all this is a personal family matter of mine that I hold dear to my heart," Hamonic told the team's official website. "It has nothing to do with the organization or how I've been treated here for six years of playing and another two or three since I was drafted. I've honestly been treated like gold from the start."

It won't be easy to find a replacement for Hamonic, who is in his sixth season with the Islanders and is the team leader in ice time (23:30).

"You can see the professionalism in him and what a teammate that he's been and what a first-class individual he's been," coach Jack Capuano said. "I've known for a while and it hasn't affected his game. If anything, he's played better."

With Hamonic's help, the Islanders (10-6-3) have been a much-improved defensive team. They're allowing 2.26 goals per game after yielding 2.73 last season, and their penalty killing ranks among the league's best following a 26th-place finish in 2014-15.

While strong defense has been a constant, the offense had been far more inconsistent until a recent stretch where the goals have come more frequently.

The Islanders scored nine times during a 1-3-2 slide but a trip out west appears to have pushed them in the right direction. They won two of three, scoring four goals in each of those wins before returning home Monday with a 5-2 victory over Arizona.

John Tavares scored two goals and set up another while Kyle Okposo had three assists.

"We're getting there. It was a bit of a slow start," Okposo said. "That West Coast trip was good for us, and we just have to keep playing well, keep stringing (wins) together."

Leading the way has been the line of Tavares, Okposo and Brock Nelson, who have combined for seven goals and 10 assists in the past four games.

Montreal (14-4-2) fell behind 3-0 for the third straight game and was unable to come all the way back Thursday in a 3-2 loss to the Coyotes. Max Pacioretty and Dale Weise scored for the Canadiens, who have allowed 16 goals during a 1-2-1 span.

That struggling defense will get a huge lift as Price makes his first appearance since sustaining a lower-body injury Oct. 29 in Edmonton. Last season's NHL MVP and Vezina Trophy winner is 7-2-0 with a .936 save percentage this season.

Price is 5-1-0 with a .955 mark in his last six starts against New York.

"You get a boost when that guy is on the ice," Weise told the team's official website after practice. "He's our best player. He's our biggest leader in this locker room. When you see him getting close like that, everyone gets excited."

The Canadiens have won four straight and seven of eight against the Islanders, including a 4-1 home victory Nov. 5.

Tags: John Tavares , Kyle Okposo , Travis Hamonic
Hamonic says trade demand is "strictly personal"
Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic says his trade request his strictly because a personal family matter. (AP)

Islanders D Travis Hamonic said his trade request is "strictly personal," noted that the team had treated him "like gold" since drafting him, and wouldn't elaborate further (Nov. 19).

Hamonic also said that he would play the entire season with the Isles if necessary 

Hamonic reportedly asked for a deal before the season started, and the Islanders are trying to accommodate, according to Arthur Staple (Nov. 18).

Hamonic reportedly would like to be dealt to a western Canadaian team, according to Darren Dreger (Nov. 18).

Both Isles GM Garth Snow and Hamonic's agent declined to comment.

Hamonic signed a seven-year deal worth $27 million with the Islanders in September of 2013. He has four years and and AAV of $3.857 million remaining, "although the actual dollars will be $4.875 million beginning in 2016-17," Friedman notes.

Brian Erni:
As Dreger notes, it's a personal matter, and that's really a shame. One, it's a tough spot for Travis, so whatever he's going through, I wish him the best. But for the Islanders, it's an almost impossible spot to be in. They have a list of Western Canadian teams that they're bound to, and those teams know that the Isles are over a barrel, so to speak.

So what can Garth realistically expect to get here? That's likely why there hasn't been a trade, and I really can't imagine a scenario here where Snow will find fair value in return.

Tags: Travis Hamonic , Brian Erni

Brian Compton and Mike Carver take the show on the road as they host the podcast as part of the first ever Puck Talks: Islanders event at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn. The guys are joined on stage by Justin Bourne of The Score and Lighthouse Hockey's Dan Saraceni.

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Kyle Okposo thinks the Islanders have finally hit their stride
Kyle Okposo and the Islanders have been on a roll lately. (AP)

Kyle Okposo thinks the Islanders have finally hit their stride.

The Isles, who are in third place in the Metropolitan division with a 10-6-3 record, have won three of their last four contests, and their top right winger believes they've finally made the adjustments necessary to sustain their current level of play.

"We're getting there. It was a bit of a slow start," Okposo said Wednesday at the NHL Store (Nov. 18). "[There was] definitely an adjustment period heading to Brooklyn and a feeling-out period. But I think we have kind of hit our stride. That West Coast trip was good for us, and we just have to keep playing well, keep stringing [wins] together. We have a huge home-and-home this weekend against Montreal."

Brian Erni:

I wrote in the offseason that one element we had all overlooked is how the Isles will adjust to their new game day routine. From reading into some of the players' comments over the last few weeks, it looks like it really took some getting used to. It makes sense.

Athletes are such regimented beings that any change in their habits can have an effect. From their play on the West Coast, followed by their thrashing of the Coyotes on Monday, it seems like they're finally skating on solid ground. It couldn't come at a better time, too. The next two weeks are big, with games against Montreal, Tampa, and the Rangers scattered across that stretch.

With the schedule set to lighten up after the first week of December, these next two weeks would be a great time to gain some momentum and play their best hockey.

Tags: Kyle Okposo , Brian Erni

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the NHL will announce "a trio of 20-minute mini-games featuring four divisional all-star teams playing 3-on-3 hockey."

McKenzie explains that each game will be 20 minutes long, likely split up into two 10 minute half's. There will be four teams of nine skaters and two goalies. The two divisions in each conference will square off, then the winners will play in the championship round. With players grouped by divisions, the All Star draft will no longer be used.

McKenzie says the 3-on-3 format is "the Last Chance Saloon for the NHL All Star Game."

Brian Erni

Just cancel this thing and get it over with. I understand All Star games are contrived exhibitions, but there's just no reason to do this one anymore. The players don't try, the game is unwatchable, and even the MVP voting is a joke (anyone with eyes knew John Tavares should have been the game's MVP last year). I get that everyone loves 3-on-3 hockey, but this just strikes me as something that's too manufactured to work. I'd honestly rather see the players just get four-to-five days off to rest their bodies. Maybe I'll be proven wrong and this will become the most entertaining All Star format of them all. But I have a feeling the "Last Chance Saloon" will be putting up an "Out of Business" sign very, very soon.[/sny-editorial]

Tags: Brian Erni

The Islanders are averaging the second-worst attendance in the league, but Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark isn't worried (Best, Nov. 17).

"The area we continue to work at is ticket sales," Yormark told Newsday. "Am I pleased with playing at 77 percent capacity and at 12.1 [thousand]? I'm fine with that. I'm never satisfied. My personality is I'm relatively a happy person, but never satisfied. I want more, and we're going to be aggressive in getting more."

The Islanders are currently averaged 76.9 percent capacity of Barclays Center's 15,795 for hockey. In their final season at the Coliseum, the Islanders averaged 94.8 percent capacity. Still, Yormark is not worried, as he told Newsday he believes some upcoming games against marquee opponents like the Canadiens and Rangers, will boost the sagging numbers.

"Good opponents drive interest and drive sampling," Yormark said.

Since the last time I touched on this subject on Nov. 2, the Islanders have hosted three home games: a Tuesday night game against the Devils, a Sunday evening affair with the Bruins, and a Monday night tilt against Arizona. That's not exactly the sexiest schedule I've ever seen. That said, the Coyotes game had a bobblehead giveaway, which usually brings fans out in droves, and it was one of the worst-attended game of the season.

I look at this two ways. In one aspect, NHL teams usually have their most sluggish figures in October and November, because they are packed months with other entertainment options. Plus, the team sputtered a bit at home, so I'm sure it didn't inspire much in the way of walk up sales. But I don't want to completely dismiss this, because I do see two very real problems.

The first is the Brooklyn area really hasn't engaged the way Yormark probably thought it would. Let's face it: the Isles aren't going to get a big walk up figure from Long Island on a weekday. I can attest to this. I used to buy tickets the day of the game all the time on Tuesdays and Thursdays and drive in from Suffolk County to the Coliseum after work. I haven't done it once this season, and I'm not that inclined to. I'd have to leave work hours early just to make it happen. Where the Isles have to make up for that is getting people from the boroughs in the doors, and that hasn't really happened yet. The second is that the home schedule does the Islanders a big disservice. The presence of just four Saturday home games all season (the first of which was the same day as Game 1 of the NLCS, the latter two are both in April) is brutal. The Sundays are tough in football season, and the whole month of March doesn't even see the Isles skate at home on the weekend once. Next season, especially with the disarray the Nets are in, Barclays Center really should consider letting the Isles have Saturday nights.[/sny-editorial]

Tags: Brian Erni
Nielsen is healthy and it shows
Franz Nielsen is playing some of the best hockey of his career for the Islanders this season. (AP)

Frans Nielsen is healthy once again and it is showing with his performance on the ice.

Nielsen scored a power play goal and had an assist in Monday night's 5-2 win over Phoenix.

"It's definitely nice to be able to skate again," Nielsen said.

"That's probably our best home game of the year," Nielsen continued on the team's effort. "We kept it simple, we didn't turn pucks over. That's been our problem at home all year, I don't know why. We've been really sloppy with the puck. Not tonight."

Our podcasting friend Brian Compton noted on Twitter that Nielsen has so much more jump this year, and it's easy to contrast that to the end of last season and see just how banged of Frans was. It's so true, and was never more evident on his brilliant play to set up the Isles' fourth goal. Nielsen picked up steam through the neutral zone, gained the blue line, and used an incredibly-elusive combination of a full body deke and actual jump to get past Arizona's Connor Murphy. He slid a hard past out in front that missed Steve Bernier, but foundJohnny Boychuk up top. Boychuk blasted a shot toward the net the re-directed off Bernier's skate and into the back of the net to give the Isles a 4-0 lead. It was an amazing burst and display that we just didn't see from Nielsen after he suffered an injury last February, and it's a very welcome sight to see it return.

Not only is Nielsen scoring at a John Tavares-like rate (his eight goals are second on the team to JT's nine), but he's been that dominant penalty killer again. On Monday, he was darting up and down the ice, killing extra time off the Coyotes' opportunties, all while never missing a chance to push the puck in deep. He's really been one of the team's best players all season long.

Tags: Brian Erni
Isles top line continues to click
The Islanders' top line has been on a roll of late. (AP)

The Islanders top line keeps playing well.

John Tavares had two goals and an assist,Brock Nelson scored for the third-straight game - and his fourth-straight with a point - and Kyle Okposo tallied three assists in the Isles win over the Coyotes on Monday night.

"That line has been playing well," Jack Capuano told reporters after the game. "You have a little bit of speed and size with Brock on the wing. Kyle has played with Johnny in the past […] That line, definitely over the last week, has helped our hockey club."

Over the years, so much has been made finding "stud wingers for Tavares" that it's become a bit of a meme in the Islanders community. It turns out, the answer was in-house all along. Don't get me wrong, it's only been four games with Brock up on the top line, but the scoring flourish on Monday was a capper on a great first week of the experiment. Obviously, there's chemistry between JT and Okposo, but I'm surprised how seamlessly Nelson fits in. It's like he's been playing with these guys for years. I think playing alongside so much talent really focuses Brock on not trying to over-extend his game. He knows his role is to use his size to create separation, and shoot the puck when it hits his stick. That laser focus has made him a much more decisive and productive player.

There's not much more you could have asked for from these guys against Arizona. They gave you a little bit of everything, with Okposo making plays, and Tavares and Nelson finishing them off. With a huge test of a home-and-home with Montreal looming, I'm looking forward to how the new first unit responds to one of the best clubs in the East.

Tags: Brian Erni
Tavares has 2 goals, assist as Islanders beat Coyotes 5-2
John Tavares led the Islanders to a win over the Coyotes on Monday night at Barclays Center. (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Tavares had two goals and an assist to lead the New York Islanders to a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.

Frans NielsenBrock Nelson and Steve Bernier also scored and Kyle Okposo had three assists - to increase his team-leading total to 12 - as the Islanders won for the third time in four games. Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots to help New York improve to 6-3-2 at home.

Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker scored in the third period for Arizona, and Anders Lindback finished with 27 saves. Hanzal's was just his third goal of the season but boosted his team-leading point total to 17.

Arizona fell to 0-2 on its four-game road trip and will look to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season Thursday night in Montreal.

Isles welcome Coyotes to Brooklyn on Monday night
Captain John Tavares and the Islanders welcome the Coyotes to Barclays Center on Monday. (AP)

(AP) - It took a trip to California for the New York Islanders to put the numbers on the scoreboard they were expecting during a home-heavy stretch prior to spending four days across the country.

The Arizona Coyotes began their trip by allowing their most goals in nearly three weeks.

New York looks to bring that scoring touch back to Brooklyn and win back-to-back games for the first time this month when it faces Arizona on Monday night.

The Islanders (9-6-3) scored two goals or fewer each time during a 1-3-2 stretch before leaving to face San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim last week. They beat the Sharks 4-2 on Tuesday and fell 2-1 to the Kings two nights later despite a 32-22 shot advantage before defeating the Ducks 4-1 on Friday.

Frans Nielsen scored twice for New York, which hadn't scored four since beating Calgary on Oct. 26, the last time they won a second straight contest.

The Islanders are 8-1-0 when scoring at least three goals.

"Goals have been hard to come by for everyone a little bit here. To put four on the board was good for us," said Anders Lee, who had two assists. "Especially on the road, far away from home at the end of the trip here against a good team."

The Islanders began the season scoring at least three in seven of their first nine before going into a bit of drought. They're still struggling with the man advantage, going 1 for 21 over their last seven.

"The important thing for us is to build toward playing that type of game consistently, like we did last year," forward Cal Clutterbuck said. "I think it's taken us a little bit longer this year. But these last three games have been a pretty good indication that we're starting to find it."

New York has scored fewer than three in each game during a 1-2-1 stretch at home and look to bust out against Arizona (9-7-1), which began a four-game trip with a 5-2 loss to Columbus on Saturday.

The Coyotes had their three-game winning streak snapped and hadn't given up that many goals since losing 6-0 to Boston on Oct. 27. They had won four of their previous five on the road.

"We know we've done a good job on the road. (Saturday) wasn't one of those good jobs," coach Dave Tippett told the team's official website. "You learn a lot about your team in certain situations and that was one of them."

Anthony Duclair had a goal and an assist and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored, giving him two goals and three assists during a five-game point streak.

"I'm feeling pretty good about my game," Ekman-Larsson said. "I'm playing with a lot of confidence and it feels good with the puck. I think me and 'Stoney' (Michael Stone) are playing better together as a unit."

Mike Smith had a rough game, though, allowing five goals on 21 shots after posting a 2.34 goals-against average during a 3-1-0 stretch. He's 1-3-0 with a 3.85 GAA against the Islanders since 2013 and lost the last meeting 5-1 on Feb. 24.

Nielsen had a goal and an assist and Lee also scored in that matchup for New York, which could counter with Jaroslav Halak in this contest. Halak, who rested Saturday, has lost three straight starts despite a 2.39 GAA in those games.

He has a 1.40 GAA during a 4-0-1 stretch against the Coyotes.

Brock Nelson has four points in three games
Brock Nelson's hot play for the Islanders continued out west. (AP)

Brock Nelson lit the lamp for the second consecutive game, and had points in all three of the Islanders' West Coast contests.

In the first period on Friday, Mikhail Grabovski carried the puck through center and over the blue line. Nelson and Kyle Okposo, just coming on the ice on a line change, entered the zone to help. Nelson got the feed from Grabo, and with Okposo on his right and two Anaheim defensemen back, Brock snapped a wrister low and on net, which found the far corner just six-and-a-half minutes into the game.

It was Nelson's fifth goal of the season. He now fourth points since he was promoted to the top line.

Brian Erni

Nelson has really found a home on Tavares' wing, but what was so encouraging about this goal was Tavares had barely gotten onto the ice. Grabovski carried the puck into the offensive zone - music to every stathead's ears - and found Nelson with space. Instead of taking too much time, Brock recognized he had room and snapped a shot on net.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: When Brock shoots the puck, he's lethal. Since he was held to no shots on goal against the Canadiens on Noember 5, he's put 12 shots on net over the span of four games, and it's no coincidence goals have started to come. He's playing to his skills, using his strength to create separation, and he's red hot. If he can keep it up, he's going to have a breakout season.

Tags: Brian Erni
Are the Islanders ready to take off?
The Islanders completed an impressive west-coast trip and could be ready to take off in the weeks ahead. (AP)

The Islanders defeated the Ducks on Friday night to cap a West Coast swing where the club took two-of-three. And, to a man, New York thinks they've righted the ship.

"The important thing for us is to build toward playing that type of game consistently, like we did last year," Cal Clutterbuck told reporters after the game. "I think it's taken us a little bit longer this year. But these last three games - even the second last half of our game against Boston (on Sunday) - have been a pretty good indication that we're starting to find it."

Clutterbuck scored the Isles' second goal after Brock Nelson found the back of the net for the second straight game. After Corey Perry trimmed New York's lead to 2-1, Frans Nielsen scored two third period goals to give the Islanders their ninth win of the season.

"We came out of a little adversity [Thursday] night and a little early after that 5-on-3 and we kept on pushing," Anders Lee said. "Cal's goal was huge. That really broke through for us."

Brian Erni

This game had letdown written all over it. The Isles came away with a loss in L.A. despite dominating play, and the early 5-on-3 failure was not a good sign. But New York was relentless in their attack, and they clamped down on defense. The forecheck was better, and in these last few games, the team has been much more aggressive in getting attempts toward the net. It was reminiscent of the tenacity that had all last season, and it couldn't have come at a better time.


Is everything ready to click? Maybe, but I've felt like that after nearly every win in this young season so far. The difference is now I think the Islanders are playing their game. Monday's game is a must-get two points, with Arizona coming into town before a home-and-home with the Canadiens. Let's not assume that's a lay up though, considering how the Isles have been beaten by lesser teams on their home ice this season. But a dominant effort there maybe be indicative the Isles have officially turned the corner.

Tags: Brian Erni

The Islanders are in Anaheim on Friday night to play the Ducks at 10 p.m. ET.

According to STATS…

  • The Ducks have won four of their last five games against the Isles. However, New York's win came at the Honda Center in November of last season with John Tavares providing the game-winner with a power play goal in overtime.
  • Anaheim is 1-4 in games that go beyond regulation. Three of those defeats have come in the 3-on-3 overtime period with each goal coming within the first 80 seconds. Last season, the Ducks were 16-7 in games ending in either overtime or a shootout.
  • The Islanders have won only twice in their last eight games (2-4-2). They have scored two goals or fewer in seven of those eight games and five of the six losses have come by one goal.
  • John Tavares has posted two points or more in three of his five career games at Honda Center in Anaheim (three of the four goals via the power play).
  • The Islanders 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday was just their second regulation loss in nine games against Western Conference teams this season (6-2-1). Their other two losses to the west were to the Chicago Blackhawks in back-to-back games to begin the season.
  • Ryan Getzlaf is still looking for his first goal of the season (five assists in 12 games). His career-high goal drought in games is 17, set from January 24 - February 29, 2012.
Isles end their west coast trip in Anaheim on Friday
The Islanders will look to keep rolling against the Kings in Los Angeles. (AP)

(AP) - The Anaheim Ducks aren't fond of the NHL's new overtime rules. Winning in regulation would help them avoid that problem altogether.

The Ducks try to make things easier on themselves in order to continue their success against the punchless New York Islanders on Friday night.

Anaheim (5-7-4) is 1-4 in games that go beyond three periods. Three of those defeats have come in the league's new 3-on-3 OT format with each goal coming within the first 80 seconds.

"It's kind of gimmicky, but it's here and it's not going anywhere," center Shawn Horcoff said. "So maybe we ought to spend a little more time on it."

The Ducks could surely use the practice after their four-game winning streak ended with Monday's 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona before falling to Edmonton by the same score on a goal 76 seconds into the extra session.

Blowing leads has also contributed to the team's frustration. Anaheim gave up a two-goal, second-period advantage to the Coyotes before surrendering a pair of leads in the third Wednesday.

"We've just got to find a way to close out games," Corey Perry said. "We get a 2-1 and a 3-2 lead, and you see it evaporate pretty quickly. We're doing a lot of good things. We've just got to keep working, and we're going to start to keep these leads."

Perry has done his part with four goals and three assists over the last five games after getting just three assists through the first 11. He scored twice against the Oilers.

The Ducks have won four of their last five meetings with New York (8-6-3), but that defeat was a 3-2 home loss in overtime on Nov. 5, 2014.

John Tavares' second of that meeting came midway through OT, giving him four goals with three assists in five career visits to Anaheim.

The captain's seven goals and 14 points lead the Islanders. He assisted on a first-period goal byBrock Nelson on Thursday, but New York failed to capitalize on a 32-22 shot advantage and fell 2-1 at Los Angeles.

The Islanders have scored 13 goals - excluding one into an empty net - during a 2-4-2 stretch.

There's plenty of blame to go around for the offensive struggles. Josh Bailey has no points in seven games, Anders Lee has one goal in 12 games and Mikhail Grabovski has one in eight.

"Right now it's not going our way. You can't fault the guys," coach Jack Capuano told the team's official website. "We should win games when we play like this."

Getting the power play going could provide a boost. The Islanders are 1 for 16 on the man advantage over the last five games after going 8 for 24 during a 6-2-2 stretch.

Thomas Greiss is likely to get the start in net after Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves Thursday. Greiss is 4-1-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average, and he's won both of his starts on the road by stopping 72 of 76 shots.

He had 27 saves for Pittsburgh in a win at Anaheim on March 6 after losing his first five starts against the Ducks behind a 3.12 GAA.

Unlucky breaks doom Isles in LA
The Isles fell to a tough loss Thursday night in Los Angeles. (AP)

The Force was not with the Islanders on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

New York was the recipient of some unfortunate breaks. It started with the Kings' second goal. Tyler Toffoli took a shot in close that Jaroslav Halak tried to steer to the corner with his stick, but the puck caromed offMilan Lucic, Johnny Boychuk, and Halak all before finding it's way over the goal line for the eventual-game winner.

"It's frustrating, but we're finally starting to play better," Frans Nielsen told reporters after the game. "It stinks losing, but if we keep this up, we're going to win a lot of games."

The Isles also clanged two pucks off the post in the third period, with a two-man advantage, including a point blank chance by Brock Nelson, the team's lone goal scorer in the defeat.

"I thought I had it, tie game right there," Nelson said. "You can't dwell on [the missed opportunities]. We had energy and eventually those are going to go in."

Brian Erni

This loss is extra frustrating, because the effort was so strong. In fact, it may have been their best all season. The Isles dominated play in the third period. They outshot the Kings 12-4 and bested LA in attempts by a 28-6 mark. The ice was essentially tilted down the stretch. But no one could convert, even with a 5-on-3 for 46 seconds.

Angst aside, there was a lot of good to take away from this one. Brock scored again, and has looked like a different player on this road trip. The team's been solid in the neutral zone, and may be starting to come around on the forecheck. They certainly look more aggressive. I'd like to see them get to the net a little more. There's still too many shots being taken from the outside for my liking. But if the Isles can replicate this effort in Anaheim on Friday, they should be able to escape the West Coast with four of a possible six points.

Tags: Brian Erni
Islanders fall to Kings in Los Angeles
The Islanders dropped a 2-1 decision to the Kings on Thursday night. (AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) Jhonas Enroth stayed unbeaten in a Kings uniform with 31 saves, and Los Angeles beat the New York Islanders 2-1 Thursday night for its 10th victory in 13 games.

Drew Doughty and Milan Lucic scored for the first-place Kings, who put on another strong defensive performance in front of their backup goalie.

Enroth has yielded two goals in his first three starts in place of Jonathan Quick, racking up a .979 save percentage. He was outstanding during a prolonged third-period penalty kill for Los Angeles, which has won 10 of 13 meetings with the Islanders since the 2006-07 season.

Brock Nelson scored an early goal and Jaroslav Halak stopped 20 shots for the Isles, who have lost six of eight.

New York has scored more than two goals just once during that stretch.

The Kings continued their run of early-season success, a rarity for a team that won two Stanley Cups with playoff poise after unspectacular regular seasons. Los Angeles has won one division title in franchise history and has finished higher than third only once since 2000.

Lucic had one of his most productive games for his new team. The power forward scored his fourth goal, and he set a big screen for Doughty's first-period goal.

After Nelson put the Islanders ahead early with his fourth goal, Doughty pulled the Kings even on a power play with a big slap shot. The Norris Trophy finalist has two goals in three games after starting the season in a 13-game drought.

Lucic then got credit for a goal early in the second when he forced a turnover behind New York's net. He shoved in front and got a piece of a puck that went off Isles defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

Los Angeles killed off a two-man disadvantage for 45 seconds early in the third period. The Islanders' power play went 0 for 3, extending its 1-for-16 slump in the last six games.

NOTES: The Kings have scored a power-play goal in five straight games, their longest streak since December 2014. … Doughty passed Lubomir Visnovsky for third place in Kings history among defensemen with his 32nd power-play goal. … Quick had started eight of the Kings' last nine games, and Enroth hadn't played since Nov. 3. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter hasn't made a goalie change during a game this season. … The Islanders' three-game California road trip ends Friday in Anaheim.

Tonight's Game: Islanders at Kings
The Islanders will look to keep rolling against the Kings in Los Angeles. (AP)

The Islanders are in Los Angeles on Thursday to take on the Kings at 10:30 p.m. ET.

According to STATS…

  • The Islanders defeated the Sharks, 4-2, on Tuesday night at SAP Center, snapping their two-game losing streak with the victory. New York's four-goal outburst against San Jose also snapped its six-game streak of scoring two or fewer markers.
  • Los Angeles dropped a 3-2 home decision to Arizona on Tuesday night, and has now alternated wins and losses in each of its last six tilts (WLWLWL). The Kings are 7-0-0 when netting three or more goals, but just 2-6-0 when scoring two or fewer times in 2015-16.
  • The Isles and Kings split two meetings last season, each beating the other by a single tally on the road. Dating to the beginning of 2006-07, Los Angeles has won four of its last five tilts against New York at Staples Center by a combined score of 14-4.
  • John Tavares netted two markers Tuesday night, snapping his four-game pointless streak, and giving him a team-high seven goals on the season. Tavares has four helpers (zero goals) in nine career skates against the Kings.
  • Tyler Toffoli lit the lamp once Tuesday night, giving him three points (1g, 2a) in his last two games, and 10 goals on the season overall - tied with Patrick Kane and Jamie Benn for most of any NHL skater. Toffoli has netted one marker in three of his four career games against the Isles.
  • New York has nine skaters who have lit the lamp at least three times in 2015-16 - most of any team in the NHL. The Kings have just four players with 3+ goals this season (tied for second fewest in the league).

Brian Compton and Mike Carver debate the merits of Ryan Strome's demotion, Adam Pelech's promotion, and the decision to split up Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.

Isles continue West Coast swing against Kings
The Islanders look to win their second straight game out west against the Kings. (AP)

(AP) - The first stop of a California trip helped the New York Islanders find some much-needed scoring and a timely win. The next location hasn't produced much of either for them in the last decade.

The Islanders hope their newfound offense will help silence their demons against the Los Angeles Kings when they visit Staples Center on Thursday night.

New York (8-5-3) picked up just its second win in seven games Tuesday when it opened a three-game trip with a 4-2 victory at San Jose. The Islanders scored one fewer goal than their previous four games combined and tallied more than two for the first time since Oct. 26.

Some offense might help New York figure out Los Angeles, which is the second stop of a trip that ends in Anaheim on Friday.

The Kings own a 9-1-2 record in this series since the start of the 2006-07 season, including a 4-0-1 mark at home. The Islanders' lone win at Staples Center in the last 10 years was a 2-1 shootout victory on Nov. 6, 2014, but they still own a 14-4 disadvantage in goals there during that time.

New York's struggling offense came alive against the Sharks, scoring twice in the opening 3 minutes, 30 seconds. John Tavares started the scoring 36 seconds in and sealed it on a late empty-netter.

Tavares, who had been held without a point in his four prior games, has no goals and four assists in nine career games against Los Angeles.

"We obviously haven't had as many wins lately and haven't been scoring as many goals as we'd like, so it's a big start, a big win," Tavares told the team's official website. "It's only going to get tougher, but it was a good way to start it off."

Backup Thomas Greiss made 34 saves to improve to 4-1-2, and he might draw a second straight start given starter Jaroslav Halak's struggles against the Kings.

Halak is 1-7-2 with a 3.05 goals-against average in his last 10 starts against Los Angeles, including 0-3-1 with a 3.71 GAA on the road. Greiss is 0-3-0 with a 3.32 mark at Los Angeles.

While the Islanders will try to win two straight for the first time in more than two weeks, the Kings (9-6-0) look to avoid their first losing streak since dropping their first three games of the season.

Los Angeles followed its rough start with seven consecutive wins, but has scuffled again with three losses in five games. The latest was a 3-2 defeat against Arizona on Tuesday that dropped the Kings to 1-2-0 on their five-game homestand.

A positive was Dustin Brown finally ending a 14-game goal drought to start the season, but the Kings weren't happy with their defense. Los Angeles has surrendered 10 goals in its last three losses compared to just one in two wins.

"It goes a long way for our offensive game when we play less time in the D-zone," Brown said. "When we are playing our game, we are moving the puck quickly, coming out of our zone clean and stopping plays before they begin."

Jonathan Quick is 5-1-2 with a 1.59 GAA lifetime against the Islanders, going 2-0-1 with a 0.65 mark at home.

Brock Nelson fits in perfectly on the top line
Brock Nelson has found a home on the Islanders' top line this season. (AP)

Brock Nelson received a promotion to the top line Tuesday night, and it just may stick.

Nelson played alongside Kyle Okposo and John Tavares and responded by assisting on both of the captain's goals.

In 16 games, Nelson has three goals, five assists, and is a +2.

Brian Erni: With Ryan Strome in Bridgeport, this is the perfect time to try the other kids on the top line. Why Nelson over Anders Lee? Heading into Tuesday, Lee was leading the team in shots per 60 minutes, so it stands to reason he'll get some of those to find the twine soon enough. That's why Nelson was the right call. He gets going when he shoots the puck more, and a perfect way to get him more space to do that is to surround him with Tavares and Okposo. Wouldn't you know it, Nelson's first assist was the result of a good, hard, low shot on net that caromed off Martin Jones' pad straight out to Tavares who cashed in the rebound.

Nelson also utilized his size well on Tuesday, and used his strength to draw a penalty and help sustain the pressure on the Sharks. That's exactly the kind of game Brock needs to play. If he can sustain the momentum he started on Tuesday, the Islanders may have finally cracked the secondary scoring problem that has plagued them early this season. Right now, the spot on the first line is Nelson's spot to lose. 

Thomas Greiss has been a revelation
Thomas Greiss has been rock solid between the pipes for the Islanders this season. (AP)

Thomas Greiss has finally given the Islanders a reliable back up goaltender.

Greiss stopped 34 of 36 San Jose shots en route to his fourth win of the season on Tuesday night.

In seven games, Greiss is 4-1-2 with a 2.39 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.

Brian Erni: Greiss probably wants one, if not both, of the goals that San Jose scored back. Both beat him in tight and down low, and easily could have been stopped. So, if you're just going off the highlights, you might think Greiss didn't have that stellar of a game. But every time the Sharks pushed to get back in it, Greiss was equal to the task. He stopped a number of tough chances both times San Jose got within a goal, including a nice glove stop on Melker Karlsson in the high slot right after the Joel Ward tally, and a beautiful stop on Chris Tierney after Brett Burns had made it a one-goal game in the third.

The Islanders struggled so mightily to get anything resembling NHL-level play from their back up goaltenders last season. Chad Johnson was abysmal and Michal Neuvirth wasn't much better. That's why it's really easy to appreciate what the Islanders are getting from Greiss. If Jaro Halak, who is under the weather, is going to need a few games off, I feel confident in Greiss to get the job done. That's just not something you could say about Johnson or Neuvirth last season. Keeping Jaro fresh and healthy is pivotal to the Isles making a playoff run this spring. If Greiss keeps turning in these efforts and gives head coach Jack Capuano that same confidence, that shouldn't be a problem. 

Isles' hot start, puck luck sets the pace
The Islanders started off their road trip with a 4-2 win over the Sharks. (AP)

The Islanders were determined to start their West Coast trip off right, and that's exactly what they did with a 4-2 win in San Jose on Tuesday.

John Tavares cashing in a rebound just 36 seconds into the game to give New York an early advantage, then Mikhail Grabovski wristed home a laser less than three minutes later, driving Sharks goalie Martin Jones out of the game.

"We had a sense in here before the game that we were ready for it," Tavares told reporters after the victory. "Those goals gave us some jump and a lot of confidence."

After the Sharks cut their Isles' lead to 2-1, New York withstood a few San Jose pushes before Johnny Boychuk scored from outside the blue line in the third. The Sharks got within a goal with just over five minutes remaining, but Tavares netted his second goal of the game when the Islanders got a fortuitous bounce in their own zone that allowed them to escape danger in the final seconds.

"We deserved it," Jack Capuano said. "The guys worked extremely hard against a good team. We haven't had much puck luck in the last little while, but we earned this one."

Brian Erni: The Sharks goaltending was awful, and San Jose might not be as good of a club as everyone thought they'd be, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a big win for the Islanders. Let's face it, beating teams they're supposed to be better than hasn't exactly been the Isles' strong suit so far this season, so against the Sharks, they desperately needed to come out firing on all cylinders and capitalize on any miscues they were given. That's exactly what they did. The Isles were aggressive. They were hitting, forechecking and backchecking, and relentlessly forcing pucks to the net. For a group that has struggled 5-on-5 this season, it looked like a completely different team.

Yes, there was some puck luck here. The Isles aren't going to score many more from the neutral zone, and San Jose had a few opportunities on loose pucks in front that eluded them. But a team needs a little bit of that from time-to-time, and it can really get a struggling club going. A big road trip can really propel this team right now, and they know it. Look for a similar plan of attack in Los Angeles on Thursday. 

lsles top Sharks, 4-2
The Islanders' fast start helped them earn a 4-2 win in San Jose. (AP)

SAN JOSE, Calif (AP) John Tavares scored twice, including 36 seconds into the game, and the New York Islanders hung on to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2 Tuesday night.

Mikhail Grabovski and Johnny Boychuk also scored as the Islanders won in regulation for the second time since starting 6-2-1 this season.

Thomas Greiss, facing the team that drafted him for the first time, made 34 saves and New York swept the season series by winning in regulation at San Jose for the first time since February 2003.

Joel Ward and Brent Burns scored for the Sharks, who fell to 3-8 after opening the season with four straight wins.

Tonight's Game: Islanders at Sharks
The Islanders will take on the Sharks in San Jose tonight. (AP)

The Islanders are in San Jose on Tuesday to take on the Sharks at 10:30 p.m. ET.

  • The Sharks have earned at least one standings point in nine of their last 10 home games (7-1-0-2) against the Islanders, while holding the Islanders without a power-play goal over their last nine meetings in San Jose.
  • The Islanders, who have lost back-to-back games in regulation, have scored exactly one goal in four of their five regulation losses so far this season.
  • The Sharks have failed to score a power-play goal in 10 of their last 11 games. In fact, over that span, they have as many shorthanded goals as power-play goals (two).
  • The Islanders are one of two teams (also Florida) that already has six different centers with multiple goals scored this season.
  • Johnny Boychuk has recorded at least one point in back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game point streak January 19-29, 2015.
  • Joe Pavelski, who has never had more than five game-winning goals in a single season, has already scored three game-winning goals this season.
Sharks struggling since last matchup with Isles

(AP) - The San Jose Sharks rolled through the first week of the season before the New York Islanders handed them their first loss as part of their own strong start.

Less than a month later, these teams are struggling heading into Tuesday night's matchup, but the Sharks appear to have the edge with the Islanders not winning in regulation in San Jose in almost 13 years.

The Sharks won their first four games before losing 6-3 in New York on Oct. 17, as the Islanders rallied with four unanswered goals. That was part of a 6-2-1 start for New York.

Things have not gone well for either team since. The defeat in Brooklyn began a 3-7-0 stretch for the Sharks, while the Islanders are 1-3-2 in their last six.

San Jose's problems can be traced to special teams, as it's gone 5 for 42 on the power play and allowed opponents to go 11 for 46 to rank near the bottom of the NHL in both categories.

The Sharks (7-7-0) failed to score on four opportunities in a 1-0 loss to visiting Anaheim on Saturday, dropping to 0 for 11 with a man advantage in their last four overall and 0 for 19 this season at home.

"Obviously our power play didn't click," coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's not like we're not establishing possession, getting in, looking dangerous, getting chances. We just have to stick with it and know that eventually those are going to go in for us."

That could happen against New York, which has allowed a power-play goal in each of its last three games after killing all 26 in its previous nine, and like the Sharks is struggling to score with the advantage - and overall.

The Islanders have nine goals in their past six games after scoring 31 in the first nine. New York (7-5-3) lost 2-1 at home to Boston on Sunday, going 1 for 7 on the power play.

"We have to battle through it," coach Jack Capuano said. "We had chances on the power play and didn't capitalize. I feel for the guys. We've done some good things - we're in a rut right now. We just have to keep working hard."

Kyle Okposo had the game-winning goal and two assists against the Sharks last month but has been held to five points in the last 10 games. John Tavares registered 11 in the first eight before being held without one in his past four.

"Not scoring, it's frustrating," said Taveras, who recently missed three games with an illness. "You just gotta work through it. It's all you can do."

San Jose is 5-0-1 at home in the series since the Islanders won 3-0 on Feb. 19, 2003. New York also faces Los Angeles and Anaheim on its trip.

"We've got three pretty tough teams that we're playing that are obviously high-powered veteran teams," Capuano said. " … We've only had six defensemen here for a while and going out west we're probably going to need another defenseman with us."

The Islanders addressed that need Monday by recalling Adam Pelech from the AHL. The 2012 third-round pick had two goals and two assists with a team-high plus-9 rating in 14 games for Bridgeport.

Isles' black-and-white thirds are selling well

The Islanders' black-and-white alternates may not be universally loved, but they are selling extremely well.

In a report by Allan Kreda of the New York Times, the NHL said that the Isles' new alternate is the third-highest-selling jersey at the league's flagship store in Manhattan. In addition, sales at the Barclays Center team stores have also been "brisk."

"Blue and gold are the official colors of the borough, but no one really speaks to that," Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark told the Times. "The adopted colors are black and white. That is what people wear. When we launched the Nets and their jersey, it became a lifestyle movement. We're using the same playbook here. We want people to think the jersey is hip and cool."

In a poll last week on Islanders Point Blank of nearly 1,500 Islanders fans, 39 percent said they hate the new jerseys, 38 percent said they weren't a fan at first, but the look is growing on them, and 23 percent said they have always liked the new look.

Brian Erni

The fact that the new third is selling well isn't unforeseen. Anything new sells well. As a kid, I remember dragging my dad from store to store trying to find fisherman jerseys that were sold out in the summer they were announced. I remember sitting at the Coliseum on Thanksgiving Eve in 2011 and seeing the stands filled with the first hideous attempt at a black third. People like to buy new gear.

Since Yormark likes to point the Nets and this supposed "lifestyle movement," they're a great example. In New Jersey, they were 31st in the NBA in merchandise sales (behind every active team and Seattle Sonics throwback gear). Their re-brand as the Brooklyn Nets made $5 million in the first three days, and they were seventh in league in gear sales as recently as April 2014. Now, a sub-par season later? They've dropped out of the top 10. I'ts not the black-and-white is so great, it's that people love a reason to buy new stuff. Alternate looks exist and change every few years for that very reason. The jerseys look good on the ice, and there's a good segment of fans that seem to like them. But it's not quite the movement Barclays Center would have you believe it is. 

Tags: Brian Erni
Johnny Boychuk needs to start getting more power play time

Johnny Boychuk needs to see more time on the power play.

Boychuk logged just 42 seconds during the team's seven power play chances on Sunday, and scored their lone goal. That ranked fourth among Islanders defensemen: Nick Leddy (5:26), Marek Zidlicky (2:55) Travis Hamonic (1:06).

In 2014-15, Boychuk had 15 power play points (five goals, 10 assists). This season, he has a goal and an assist with an extra attacker.

Brian Erni

This has always been one that I just don't get. Boychuk's offensive skill set is tailor made for the power play. That big shot from the point is a constant threat that opposing teams need to protect against. Why not use it more? Early in the year last season, Boychuk played on the first power play unit and was extremely effective. Even if Jack Capuano got away from that a bit as the year progressed, Boychuk still averaged 2:40 in power play time on ice. This year, that number is down to 1:00.

I get that the Islanders love Leddy's carry-in rate and his ability to jump up into a rush. Those reasons are why he stays entrenched on the first unit. And, of course, one of the main reasons Zidlicky is here is to help quarterback this power play. But right now, this offense needs a spark in the worst possible way. Why not turn to Johnny Rocket?

Tags: Brian Erni
Isles recall Adam Pelech from Bridgeport

The Islanders have recalled defenseman Adam Pelech from Bridgeport. (Nov 9)

Pelech, 21, has two goals, two assists, and is a team-best +9 for the Sound Tigers this season.

The Islanders selected Pelech in the third round (65th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. He recorded 11 assists in 65 AHL games last season as a rookie with the Sound Tigers.

Brian Erni

Pelech gets the call for two reasons. The first is that he's been one of Bridgeport's best players in the young season. He's been extremely steady on the blue line, while chipping in some offense as well. He's undoubtedly earned his promotion. But it also helped that Pelech is left handed. Pelech can easily take Brian Strait's lineup spot, and Art Staple speculates that could happen as soon as Tuesday in San Jose, without the Isles having to move anyone out of position. That would not have been the case if Ryan Pulock had gotten the call, so it's time to see what Pelech can do.
Tags: Brian Erni
The offense needs to wake up

The Islanders' scorers have gone cold, and it's the chief reason they've sunk into a fourth-place tie in the Metropolitan division.

The team has tallied just nine goals in its last six games, a span in which they are 1-3-2.

"When you're not scoring, it's frustrating," John Tavares told reporters after the Islanders' 2-1 loss to the Bruins. "You've got to work through it. That's all you can do."

Even the power play struggled on Sunday. The unit, which has been ranked at the top of the league all season, went 1-for-7 with the man advantage.

Brian Erni

Let's start with the power play. It's a similar refrain, but when the Islanders get down low and in front the front of the net, they score. When they are content to just play catch on the perimeter and effectively kill their own advantage, they don't. It's that simple. Sunday was one of those latter efforts. Even the goal they scored - a Johnny Boychuk blast from just inside the blue line - was the result of that tic-tac-toe passing we've come to know. I know Tuukka Rask was fantastic, but if you have seven power-play opportunities on your home ice (five of which came in the third period), you need to cash in more than once.

Am I ready to sound the alarm? It's tough to say. The fact remains that this is the same team as last year, one that scored 252 goals (third best in the NHL). The talent is there. If I take a step back from my frustration, it's clear to see that reason says, at some point, the offense is going to explode and the worries of the past two weeks are going to fade away. But right now, the Islanders are only as good as their record, and it's not a particularly pretty one. The offense needs to come alive, and in a hurry.

Tags: Brian Erni
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