Hockey from the Blind Side, Winning 2 Out of 3 Out West and Turning the Ship Around

The New York Islanders come back home after winning 2 out of 3 on the road. A lot of fans had their concerns about this road trip, and I won’t deny I was one of them.

However, with a 4-2 win in San Jose and a 4-1 victory over the Ducks sandwiched around a 2-1 loss in Los Angeles, they have been playing much better. Realistically, they surely played well enough to win against the Kings, especially in the third period. With a little “puck luck”, it could have been a sweep on this trip for the Isles.

Because the majority of the Metro Division is all seeming to be playing well, it was and is important for the Islanders to reestablish their game and start piling up some points. Also, scoring goals and giving the goaltending and defense some help is also a step in the right direction. If you are only giving up 1 or 2 goals a game, you should be winning the vast majority of those contests.It has been a while since my last post, but, nevertheless, I have surely been following the Isles and, of course, have my thoughts and opinions to share. So, I offer my “blind observations” for your consideration and comment, for what they are worth:

• It’s not surprising that Brock Nelson has found his scoring touch playing with John Tavares. He has scored goals and picked up assists over the last 3 games, and we have seen good chemistry with JT in the past.

• On the subject of lines, however, I’d like to see some continuity out there. Maybe it’s just me, but I am not a big fan of the “blender” approach to line combinations every night. Put together 4 lines and let them play together for four or five games to see if the click before you decide to switch them up …

• I understand the point and purpose of sending Ryan Strome down to Bridgeport. Sometimes, a drastic move is necessary to shake and wake a team. Even so, I personally am not a fan of this move and fear the potential consequences of it. Perhaps, I have too many fresh memories of “El Nino” ….

• The problem has been lack of goals, folks. Defensively and statistically, the Islanders have been pretty dang impressive. The bottom line is the lack of secondary scoring and consistent scoring. Hopefully, with this road trip, that will change, but they need a lot of the guys to step up, and that problem goes beyond Ryan Strome.

• When will we see Ryan Pulock? I was surprised that Adam Pelech got the call up. The reality is Marek Zidlicky is not going to give you 82 games and in the defensive end of the ice, he has not been all that solid. With Pulock’s shot and size, to me, it makes sense to have him start to be placed in the lineup sooner rather than later.

• Frans Nielsen continues to impress me. He, of course, like Kyle Okposo, will be a free agent at the end of the season. Could he be the best “value” to re-sign before the trade deadline? I am, without a doubt, a Kyle Okposo fan and I make no excuses for saying that I feel both of them should be part of the long term plans for the Isles. However, from a salary cap standpoint and the amount of room that needs to be available as the next few years pass, one has to consider how this will play out.

The Isles return home to play the Coyotes on Monday at the Barclays Center. This is a big 2 points they need to take and they will need the scoring to continue. This team has far too much firepower in the lineup, and it’s about time they tear off a nice long run to bank some points in the standings. The goaltending, defense and special teams have been doing the job, so the scoring consistency just needs to return to their game.

On a personal note, I apologize for the lack of my own consistency in regard to posting. Life happens, and travel and unexpected work has gotten in the way. With the holidays approaching, though, I should be able to make my presence known here on Isles Talk on a more regular basis.

@hockeyblindside

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