Isles penalty kill report card, presented by Long Island University

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Some storylines don’t change with the Islanders and that remains true with the penalty kill. One month into the 2014-15 season the Isles penalty kill unit has struggled to open the year. The Islander penalty killers are 30th in the National Hockey League having allowed 11 goals in 33 kills and penalty kill percentage of 66.7 percent.

Long Island University SmallIn Thursday’s 5-0 loss to the Avalanche the Isles went 1-for-2 on the PK, but gave Nathan MacKinnon a gimme goal when all four penalty killers collapsed in the goal crease.

The Islanders have given their opponent room to move the puck and create plays while killing a penalty. Personnel decision have also affected New York’s PK. Brian Strait, who has caught the ire of fans for his play this season, has been given time on the PK. Jack Capuano has also been without one of his better penalty killers Michael Grabner, who has missed the beginning of the season due to injury.

The Islanders won’t get an F in this category because they have had times when the penalty kill unit has come up in big moments to keep the opponent, but overall this is an aspect that the team needs to improve in.

Grade: D-

Some thoughts on the Isles road loss to Colorado


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders fell to the Colorado Avalanche in a performance that was as terrifying as any horror movie that was airing on Thursday night. Chad Johnson allowed five goals on 23 shots from Colorado and the Islanders had another sluggish second period that gave way for the Avs to run away with the game.

For the game recap, click here

Below are some quick thoughts and notes from the 5-0 loss to the Avs: To read more of this story, click here

Game Recap: Avalanche 5 – Islanders 0

Recap: The Islanders (6-4-0) were blown out by the Avalanche on Thursday night in Colorado.

Need to Know: The Avalanche grabbed a 1-0 lead a little more than 2 minutes in, when Cody McLeod beat Chad Johnson.

In the second, the Avalanche turned their 1-0 lead into a 4-0 lead in the span of roughly 7 minutes, with Nathan MacKinnon tallying a pair of goals sandwiched around a goal by Marc-Andre Cliche.

Erik Johnson added a goal for Colorado late in the third to extend their lead to 5-0 and close out the scoring.

Links: AP recap | Box Score

What’s Next: The Isles visit the Sharks at 10:30 on Saturday night.

Game Day (10): Islanders at Avalanche, 9 pm

(6-3-0)                   (2-4-4)
Pepsi Center — Denver, CO
TV: MSG Plus Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Avalanche… Colorado enters Thursday’s game coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday… Matt Duchene is off to another quick start in Denver. Duchene is currently tied for the Avalanche’s scoring lead with seven points (three goals, four assists) in Colorado’s first 10 games… The Avs have one of the best penalty kill units in the NHL at the moment. They are ranked fourth in the league having only allowed four goals in 39 kills and allowing just one power play goal in 15 kills at home.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

A five-game west coast road trip begins on Thursday in Denver, Colorado.

The Islanders will try to rebound after falling to the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 when in New York’s final home until November 18. The Avalanche are the most beatable team the Isles will face during their west coast swing, with games against San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Arizona to follow. So the Isles would like to kick things off with a win on Thursday.

Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano will start Chad Johnson in net and it appears that the lineup will remain the same as the previous contest. Daniel Briere will be a healthy scratch for the Avalanche and Seymon Varlamov will start in net for the home team.

Varlomov is 1-2-3 in six games for the Avs this season with 2.94 goals against average and .922 save percentage.

The Islanders defeated the Avs 2-1 their last time at the Pepsi Center on January 10. Brock Nelson and Michael grabner scored for the Isles on that game. New York went 1-0-1 in two games against Colorado in the 2013-14 season.

Thursday’s contest will be Kyle Okposo’s 400th career NHL game.

Below are the probable lines for the Islanders:

Cory Conacher – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo
Anders Lee  – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome
Mikhail Grabovski – Frans Nielsen – Nikolay Kulemin
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey – Lubomir Visnovsky
Calvin de Haan – Brian Strait

Donovan remaining patient despite not playing

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

No one would blame Matt Donovan for being mad about not having played an NHL game yet in 2014-15.

donovanBut Donovan isn’t mopping around speaking out to the press about his lack of playing time. Rather the 24-year-old Oklahoma native is taking things in stride and remaining prepared for when his name is called to jump into the Islanders lineup.

“Anything can happen and injuries happen,” Donovan told Islanders Point Blank. “So you just have to stay ready and work hard everyday. When I get my chance I’ll play the way I know I can.”

Donovan has not suited up since April 13 when the Islanders played the Buffalo Sabres in the final game of the season. The Islanders upgraded their defense just before the start of the regular season by adding Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk via trade, but the team’s blue line has continued to have hiccups and injures have already taken place for New York.

But Donovan still has not been able to find a spot on the roster through the first nine games.

“For me, like you said, no one likes to sit out when they’re healthy,” Donovan explained. “I was frustrated from the first game when I wasn’t playing. But it’s one of those things where I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be in the NHL and just have to have a good attitude and continue to work hard until I get my chance.”

He said that his conversations with Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano have been good and that they want Donovan to just hang in there. “They know what I’m going through and how tough it is,” Donovan said.

The Islanders are off to one of their best starts in quite some time and Donovan has had a front row seat through the first nine games. The Isles — 6-3-0 through that span — now begin a five game west coast road trip.

5 things we learned from Garth Snow

Garth Snow joined the Islanders Point Blank podcast and here are five things we learned from the team’s general manager…

1. Snow was talking to Chicago and Boston for a “significant amount of time” before making the Boychuk and Leddy deals.

2. On a contract extension with Boychuk: “We wouldn’t move two second round picks – that’s pretty significant – if we didn’t want to have him here long-term.”

3. Snow’s first impression of the new owners: “They’re great guys, and they have a high passion for the game of hockey.”

4. On the Boychuk/Leddy trades: Snow was adamant on not including certain prospects in the deal, and he succeeded.

5. Garth’s first NHL win came at the Coliseum on 12/3/93.

Some thoughts on the Islanders loss to Jets

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Despite a comeback late in the second period, the Islanders fell in their final game at Nassau Coliseum until November 11. The Jets are a beatable team and one that the Isles should have defeated to begin a five-game road trip. The Islanders will begin the west coast swing with a 6-3-0 record through the first nine games of the season.

For the game recap click here

Since I was unable to be at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, Islanders Insight staff writer, and Isles fan Joe Pantorno provides us with some thoughts from the loss below:

To read more of this story, click here