ISLANDERS 5 WILD 4 Down 3-0 early, Isles make improbable comeback

Keith Quinn, Islanders Point Blank:

Box/TOI || Highlights || Fancy Stats || Grabs Tracker

He’s Ninofer one against his former team, but it didn’t look like it was going to be that way early on for Niederreiter and the rest of the Minnesota Wild.

The Isles came in on on the tail end of a back to back sequence with a couple of regulars (Josh Bailey and Michael Grabner) out with injury and illness respctively and promptly got skated out of the building in the first period.  They were outshot 16-8 and outscored 1-0…but it really wasn’t even that close.

Ryan Suter got the Wild on the board first when Casey Cizikas was hurt on an accidental collision with Keith Ballard at center leaving Eric Boulton to cover the defensive zone.  A couple of poor angles and failed clears later,  Mike Rupp’s rebound landed in front of Suter for the goal.

Things didn’t look much better in the start of the second with the Wild scoring twice in the first 2:39 of the period with Nino assisting on one, and scoring the other.  Islanders fans were starting to have a meltdown.

But Kyle Okposo began to assert himself in this game and put the Isles on his back.  John Tavares got the Isles within two at the 8:45 mark when he was able to materialize from out of nowhere to put home a Vanek shot that was laying in the crease and was about to be swept out of harms way by the Wild.  The play was made possible by a bullish zone entry by Okposo followed by some boards work and some slick passing.  It was only the beginning for the olympic hopeful though.

With 1:02 left in the second, the Islanders struck again to cut the lead to one.  This time, it was the line of Strome, Nelson and Clutterbuck with Hickey and Hamonic finishing off a power play and maintaining possession in the Wild zone for 90 seconds on the forecheck.  Clutterbuck was able to tip home a Hickey wrister from the point leading Jiggs McDonald to quip “The trade is tied 1-1″ at the end of the period.

The Isles got a beautiful goal from Hickey on a high-speed tip in of a Colin McDonald centering feed to tie the game at three at the 6:30 mark of the third and took the lead for the first time at the 12:13 mark on an Okposo laser-shot from the right wing boards.

True to form and with nothing coming easy, the Isles allowed the Wild to claw back into things a minute and a half later off a bad clearing attempt and some poor rebound control by Poulin.  Matt Cooke fired a shot off the keeper and Marco Scandella was there to lift the rebound over the sprawling netminder.

But this time, the Isles answered quickly themselves and it was Okposo again who delivered.  He and Vanek combined for a heavy forecheck and won the battle.  Vanek got the puck to the net and Okposo found some space between three Wild defenders to put the rebound away.

The Isles had a dramatic penalty kill at the end with players diving and sprawling to protect their lead with Tavares drawing a power play to close out most of the last two minutes.

NOTICINGS:

  • The penalty kill was 4/4 on the night and the Isles killers were sacrificing like crazy to block shots and stay in passing lanes.  Brock Nelson saw time on the kill in Grabner’s absence as did Peter Regin and neither looked out of place to pretty good on the night.
  • Thomas Hickey was +4 on the night and “activated” a lot.  He should do that more often.
  • Arthur Staple and Eric Hornick combined for some terrible statistics.  Staple saying the Isles have trailed by three or more goals in last 9/16 road games.  Hornick said that this is the 6th time the Isles have trailed 3-0 this season.  It really didn’t sound hopeful for a while.
  • After years of crediting Clutterbuck with an insane amount of hits (that many Western Conference teams complained about), the Wild official scorer credited him with one tonight.
  • Ryan Suter played 33:14 tonight.  That guy is an animal.  He also played the full eight minutes of the Wild power plays, so he takes two minute shifts sometimes.
  • The Isles got killed in the faceoff circle again 41-21.
  • After Capuano saying that the young guys didn’t look so good last night, man did they look good tonight.
  • Okposo has 37 points and is tied with Phil Kessel for second among American skaters (well behind Patrick Kane, but it’s Kane, so…).
138 comments
nymarc
nymarc

If you weren't convinced this team needs a change you should now realize they are better then they have been playing. The rally started after Niederreiter scored. I am sure they were motivated for a guy that did not play as hard for them. A good coach can motivate a team and know how to push the right buttons. Crapy is an X&O's type but it never adds up. Players like him but don't respect him and they don't believe in him. 

truth77
truth77

@isles23  do not quote me because i did not look it up but I am pretty close.He said how dare you score goals in the n.h.l you made me look bad in front of my A.h.l. coach  jack Capuano,"And anyone that has as many goals as I as a N.h.l. player has the right to say anything".Hey Nelson start scoring before you become a tough guy!

isles23
isles23

Anybody else wonder what was said between Nino and Brock with their little pushing match before that one faceoff? Which just so happened to be the same shift as Hickeys game tying goal.

truth77
truth77

@David Schwartz I watch hockey what the heck are you watching! that is the question?Newsday Nov 29 Arthur staple Nino is getting time due to injury to Zach Parise.He is playing top line now,the last week not all season due to injury.He only gets the second half of the power play that it and has been all season like your saw last night.Zack Parise regular linemates.Koviou 9.Heatley 15 .What are you talking about?Nino was playing with Grunland.Pretty good numbers for a 21 year old!Not getting top power play time!I am a sucker Whats a matter didnt feed youreself with those 5 dollar hot dogs!that was for the tickets alone there Dave!

gleichzahl
gleichzahl

anyway, captain jack high-fiving the team after the game is nhl coaching at its best.  :)

truth77
truth77

Sorry I forgot to goggle wiki LOL.High first round picks is that better ,Teacher.The trade is done.I will still be an Islander fan, just want to see this team in the playoffs after playing a full season. Not 42 games they played last year .Care if they Win but if they lose playing hard all is good, as long as they continue to play hard and  Ownership provides the right product to the fans I am happy!

truth77
truth77

@David Schwartz  How dare you call me a troll! Because i question trading our 6th pick in the draft.I have been an islander fan from the first day! I have watched every game this year.and for the last 40 years or so 95 percent of the games.I have a right to think it was a bad trade .Living in the richest county in the u.s what is our payroll Dave? Stop the Wang is losing money I pay 200 a game to take my family to watch garbage that dont cut it!This team has totally been mismanaged .How does a team like Detroit a crap whole of an area make the playoffs every year .I will tell you they dont trade Bertuzzi Chara Nino Etc.

truth77
truth77

Nino is a plus 5 for the season,Nino has to be playing pretty good de to be plus 5.  1972. How many isle are a plus 5? I said one of the best players on the ice and let me ask you this, did he play better then Strome our number 3 pick last night?I know give him time just like they gave Nino. Did he play better then Dehann our number 13 pick? He ,as I said in an earlier blog did not  play the first half of the power play this year with Parise playing, but with Parise out of the lineup he getting more time.Next year he will even get more time .He will be a 20-30 goal scorer in this league give him a few years and time.Something the islanders did not  give him playing with a bunch of old men Rolston and Pandolfo.And as all of you that said he whined did you here the comment Rolston said when traded to the Bruins" they the islanders didnt play me enough " are you kidding me! Rolston you sucked as an islander.Pros whine and demand  trades all the time wont be the last time a player demands to be traded .His Agent did it playing his ace card to make the team,and get more playing time, it back fired.I think this was a horrible trade and will come back in our face for years to come. I am done talking about Nino I hope the kid does well.

Chris R
Chris R

yes they won, but leave it to the isles to grab the lead at 4-3 then give up the tying goal about a minute later...hahaha classic..Hey jiggs was in rare islanders form last night...Hey heres a trade Rose for Jiggs......

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

Just watched the highlights for the 12th time and I am very curious as to what Brock said to Nino after the Hickey goal cause its quite obvious he said something towards his direction as Nino slowly skated off the ice while giving him a stare down.

bubbamac19
bubbamac19

A few thoughts...

1. Very nice comeback; nice to be on the winning side of one of these type of games.  

2. I am not a believer in Vanek. Since his arrival I've not seen a consistent work ethic, commitment to team play, commitment to the D side of the red line; he arrived out of shape and seems to only recently have gotten his legs underneath him - either that or only intermittently chooses to use them. He takes many penalties and draws too few. Given all this, I think he lacks the leadership characteristic the team needs so badly. Or just maybe he's better than what I see but is just not committed to this team and its situation and that is why he doesn't bring it every night. In terms of production, he's not met the standards (exceeding Moulson's yearly production) to justify the trade, but that's neither here nor there any more. In any event, the GM has painted himself into a corner and unless he swings a trade using Vanek for a better player, we will either be left with zippo or an overpaid lackadaisical first line forward with an occasional flash of dynamic talent. It'll be interesting to see what unfolds here; in my view it will be more intriguing than a possible playoff run for the team, which I do not foresee.

3. Regin is a good depth signing; he's like a good spot starter in baseball - don't like him as a regular

4. Hickey played well; still think he's the best overall of our diminutive defensemen of which we have too many

5. deHaan...somehow is under the radar; not sure how he's playing but he's neither a standout nor a flop. Seems the overall D is better/ more stable since he got here...I think

6. Happy New Year to everyone - may 2014 bring smiles to the Isles and their fans!

truth77
truth77

Nobody here wants to say who was probably the best player on the ice last night !Except the guys who hated the trade.NINO was the best player on the ice scored a goal ,assisted,almost scored another, stood in front of our net and took a beating, hit players all and over the ice and skated like a Power Forward.Wow couldnt the islanders use a 21 year old that plays like that?You Bet!We win one game and everyone is, Happy can you see what happened tonight?We traded a kid that is going to be a star in this league!Snow, for the NIno and Moulson trade you should  have been fired .Pathetic! Not only will the league rub in our faces that we are going to lose Vanek at the end of the year , He will be playing with NINO next year!How is that going to feel watching the 2014 home games against Minnesota!

LetsGoIsles
LetsGoIsles

No Bailey = production from the 2nd line = a win...just saying

ivo leggi
ivo leggi

can we swap ness for Tom Gilbert?


orangeblue
orangeblue

the isles need to get up to the raised cap floor.. should start with vanek ASAP.  they want to build on something, they need to pay up and keep players.  can't be mixing and matching in hockey.  its not like baseball where so many players play on one year deals.  hockey and basketball are the same in that if they dont keep a core and build upon the core, you get nowhere!!

drive45
drive45

Any win at tbis point is a step back. It lets's Cappy keep his job and Snow too. This team will never be a serious threat until these numbnuts are gone. Was very happy though with the play of Hickey, Nelson and Okposo. Wish I didn't have to root against my favorite professional sports team. But I woudn't if I didn't think the payoff would greatly help in the short and long term.

Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

I take nap in middle of 1st period. I wake up for 2nd period. Score 3-1. I go back, take 2nd nap. I wake up for 3rd period. Score is tied 3-3. I see goal, I see another goal, I see one more goal. Islanders win. It was good.


Josh Bailey play his best game as Islander. Big help.

njersey
njersey

Did anybody miss Grabner or Bailey tonight ? I didn't .....

isles23
isles23

I prefer to think it was something along the lines of "so how long before you quit on your new teammates like you did with me?" And if I had to guess I'm gonna say mine is closer than yours purely by Nino's reaction. Whatever was said clearly got under his skin.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

@truth77 @David Schwartz   You are a sucker then.  I went to Saturday nights game with 4 friends and we paid a grand total of 95 dollars on stubhub.  Don't get mad at Wang because you aren't smart with how you spend your money.  Also comparing Detroit otherwise known as HockeyTown USA to the Islanders who play in a crap hole(Literally worst stadium in all of professional sports and probably minor league sports at this point) in one of the worst area's of LI(Yes I understand how wealthy LI is as a whole but not Uniondale) is absolutely ridiculous.  Comparing an original six team that has been apart of the city for almost 100 years to the Islanders who play in the damn suburbs(Only professional sports team to do this by the way and its obviously failed and my eye's I am thankful it failed so they can move to a major metropolis like they belong) is hilarious.  Please if you are going to troll come up with better at least semi accurate comments.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

@truth77 You must not be watching other hockey teams Nino has been on the first line PP with Parise all season long.  Look it up before you spout off inaccurate facts.

mrcisback
mrcisback

@truth77   Strome was picked 5th overall and Dehann was picked 12th and believe me both of those players will be better players then Nino will be within a year. Nino is a plus 5 because he's on Minnesota which has a great defense and excellent goaltending. If Nino was on the Islanders his plus minus would be in the negative.

isles23
isles23

@bubba, I agree with you on pretty much everything except for Vanek. While his point production isn't that much more than Moulsons and I agree he isn't a leader he has shown up and played hard on a regular basis for the isles. The trade obviously won't be good if he doesn't resign but IMO he makes so many plays that Moulson just isn't capable of making. For example blowing by a defensiveman from your blueline and blast a slap shot by the goalie, knock a guy off the puck in the defensive zone on the back check, or just being able to control the puck in the offensive zone and create a play. I loved Moulson and hope the isles bring him back but in a short span I have seen Vanek make a number of plays I didn't seen from Moulson over the course of a few years.

mrcisback
mrcisback

@truth77   Okposo was the best player on the ice last night by far and Hickey had his best game as an Islander.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

@truth77 Sir you definitely need glasses if you think Nino was the best player on the ice.  Award easily goes to KO and Nino is quite a defensive liability still as Hickey proved on the Isles third goal.  Please see an eye doctor immediately.  

Chris R
Chris R

@truth77 Nino is one of many the isles have traded away..they're just an asinine organization period..

since72
since72

@truth77 Nino had a good game.  KO was the best player last night.  And by the way, the man who came over in the trade also scored for us.

isles23
isles23

@truth, Nino had a decent game and played with the passion you would hope someone would play with against a team that traded you. That being said he wasn't the best player on the ice by any stretch. The best player on the ice doesn't get caught standing and watching as his man, Hickey, glides through the slot for the game tying goal.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@drive45 you'll be rooting for them to lose for a longggg time because no one in upper management is going anywhere. 

red2
red2

@drive45 

I have some bad news for you.  Goring interviewed Snow before the game.  He flat out asked him about Capuano.  His job is safe.  

Jim Miller
Jim Miller

@njerseyGrabner yes. Bailey no. Bailey should be wavered right now, if no one bites, and no one will, retire him or banish him to the minors where he belongs.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

@njersey Don't get ahead of yourself with Grabner.  That's just ignorant.  Even with his long goalless drought he is still a great player on the PK and creates his own opportunities and lately has looked real solid again even getting a little physical.  

erika
erika

@isles23Vanek dipsy doodles while Moulson buries the biscuit! Maybe your right that Moulson can not make some of the plays that Vanek can, but Vanek cannot finish like Moulson can either. It would be great if we had both players, but if that can't be, I would take back that trade in a heartbeat!

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

@Chris R @truth77 Trolls and trolls on trolls on trolls.  If you despise this team so much why always come on the message board?

drive45
drive45

I know. Very depressing. I meant to say that Quebec lost their last game in 1989, not won!

drive45
drive45

I've been a fan since before the Cup years. Where is this team going? You really think Cappy and Snow will lead this team somewhere. Snow is a joke. Everybody around the league knows this. Wake up! What's real? You enjoy losing or mediocrity at best?

njersey
njersey

@red2 @drive45 As an organization, WE CAN'T EVEN FIRE PEOPLE CORRECTLY !!!  That is truly pathetic....

Thomas
Thomas

@David Schwartz@njersey totally agree David Grabner was missed, that last PK was a pray PK without Grabner we basically needed a miracle to kill it off. No one missed Bailey I agree there.

njersey
njersey

@David Schwartz @njersey  They are both 3rd line players AT BEST !!! I'm sorry, I know people love Grabs, (I LIKE HIM), but we will NEVER be a good team, if we have players with the talent of Grabner and Bailey on our 2nd Line. NEVER.

drive45
drive45

1989. Don't get me started. The Isles had the number one pick wrapped up going into their final game of that season. What happens, they beat the Rangers in a meaningless game, Quebec wins. Quebec get Mats Sundin, we get David Chyzowski!! He didn't develop to well under Al Arbour!! God help us!

jepliberty
jepliberty

@David Schwartz@drive45

Care to share what you are smoking, or imbibing?  NO?  Thought so, you want to keep it to yourself and in a rosy glasses sensation, without merit.

Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

@David Schwartz @drive45 Oh, the youth and the future.... oh boy. Let's take this back to 1989, where it all began. Actually, I don't have the energy for that. Bottom line is, nothing's changed in 25 years.

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

@drive45 Has a lot more to do with me believing in the future and youth of this team.  Everyone says we are terrible at bringing up players yet look at KO now blossoming into a top flight player.  We have a top 5 player in all of hockey and plenty of young talented players to build a franchise around(Nielson, Nelson, Strome, Hamonic, Grabner and I unlike you want to see how they play before already making a prejudgement). This is a team and more importantly an owner that are on the verge of going from being in the red every year to a team that is actually getting a return on his initial investment for the first time since owning the team so again I have no idea how he is going to act now since he has lost money every year since owning this team especially with the pressure from the owners of the building to build and spend on a competitive winning team(Why else give Wang a very smart overall business man such a sweetheart deal to come to Barlcays?).  Although overly disappointed in how this team has performed in the first half I am also not going to think all is lost for the future of this franchise and I think its crazy how you can be so pessimistic about the direction of this team at least when looking at it's long term future.

bubbamac19
bubbamac19

@rmreturns I would argue that at least Grabner had a special skill set - speed. Phenomenal speed. I can't identify what Bailey does well and I really struggle to grasp what he does that is worth the contract Snow gave to him. I remember season before last he killed penalties well; that bred some confidence (IMO) and he closed out the year on a strong note. He needs a role, I think; defensive checking wing, maybe?

since72
since72

@rmreturns If Bailey wasn't signed to that contract, you r probably right.  I suppose the question is this:  Would you sign Bailey to the 4 1/2 years that he is signed for right now if he were a free agent?

rmreturns
rmreturns

Bailey would be claimed very quickly. Wasn't Grabner about the same age and profile when Snow grabbed him.

Why make the same mistake, and abandon a 23 year old..

since72
since72

@rs018 @Jim Miller @njersey If only you were right.  He is signed for another 4 years at, I believe, $3.25 per.  There's no way he would be claimed.

bubbamac19
bubbamac19

@David Schwartz I was responding to rmreturns' contention that  a players peak years begin at age 27; therefore we would have to wait 7, 8, 9 years for our (seemingly best) defenders (Reinhart, etc) to reach that point. So you can take it up with the other poster whether its rational or factually incorrect.  I hope it doesn't take that long, of course.

I am a rational fan, thank you. And when Frans, with or without his 14 goals, is our 4th line center that means we have amazing depth and could contend for the cup because of it - for he would be the best 4th line center in the league. He might not be "the gritty guy" that most 4th liners are typically, but if that were the case, we'd be rolling four lines I would imagine. And tough to stop.

Nino was hardly a diva, by the way. He was mishandled. It happens. He asked for a trade. That happens. Of the two principles involved, I would expect our GM to be the adult in the situation and not throw a tantrum all his own and not call him up, not invite him to camp and then trade the kid. It's called development; it's needed on and off the ice. Why is Kabanov getting multiple chances? He's been a punk and on more than one occasion.

rmreturns
rmreturns

I wonder how much of the scoring drop is from the PP- really miss Viz, and being down so often and so early.

Grabner I get, he's feast or famine with breakaways. You can teach a guy to play defense, but either your a goal scorer, or your not. He is a goal scorer. Recall all the grief Cappy got for limiting his ice time last spring. Well, with full ice time this fall, the results haven't been as good. Funny how that's been forgotten..

Bailey- frustrating.... Defensively, very good. Will he score? Hopefully he breaks out in 2014/15 like KO did this season. He's 23, shown flashes...

David Schwartz
David Schwartz

@bubbamac19 @rmreturns It didn't exactly take us 8 year for our offensive talent to grow considering this is only year 7 of the "rebuild" and its obvious that Garth(over his head at the beginning) made some bad picks such as Bailey and the Diva known as Nino, but what you are saying is just outlandish especially since we finished 8th in goals last year and are again in the top 15.  If you are a rational fan you expect some of the defensive talent to arrive next year in the form of big bodies led by Reinhart not to mention De Haan(already up and looks decent for a rookie) and Donavan(who will be back up shortly for Ness) who are from our organization.  Instead of making an asinine and factually incorrect comment of it taking 8 years you should look at it more realistically and say this teams premier talent all playing together is only 1-2 years away as long as they can find a long term solution in goal.  Also Frans and his 14 goals on the 4th line? You are crazy he would be a number 2 center on most teams and at worst is a 3rd line center and plays one of the best two way games in hockey and made two great defensive plays last night alone to save goal scoring opportunities.

bubbamac19
bubbamac19

@rmreturns Interesting that the abundance of offensive talent is so good as to have them near last in the league. And, what, we have to wait 8 years for the up and coming D men to reach their peak, so by that time we'll need a new crop of forwards...shall ever the two meet? :)

Okposo changed his work ethic/habits - outside and away from the organization, interestingly - to further his development. I hope that he is driven by more than wanting to make Team USA. Time will tell.

Maybe Strome and Nelson will be top 6 guys, but they are not there now to say the least, which is okay, they're just getting fired up. But right now, the Isles have just the three on line 1.

Agreed on Grabner - he's a threat; I could give two poops what line he plays on as long as he plays on special teams or open ice situations.

Bailey is an enigma. Flashes of skill. Used to be a fan until this year. Liked what I saw last night without him; some fun line combos.

That was some pass/finish between McDonald and Hickey!

When Frans is their 4th line center (JT, Strome, Nelson) then the Isles will be cup competitors. Like you, though, I think he's trade bait - for what I have no idea.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@njersey grabner is not a third line player at best.  you just do not know hockey if you think that. 

rmreturns
rmreturns

While I disagree with Bailey and Grabner being third line players at best..

I kinda think JT, VANEK, KO, STROME and NELSON are top 6 players.. So I'm okay with your assessment because where else could Bailey and Grabs play?

But last year, KO wasn't a top six player. He was looking down at the rail guys you were building under him, to run him out of town. You know, like a whole 12 months ago.

So maybe Bailey being 18 months younger then KO, he just turned 24, having 3 years til his peak seasons, might surprise the fans.

Maybe Grabner- age 26-awesome on the PK, and holder of a 30 goal season, a 20 goal season and another 20 goal season if 2013 was a full 82 games, really has a track record of scoring. I'm okay taking a risk on these two as third line players.

Oh yeah, where does Frans fit into this crew.

Top 6, or best third line center in the Eastern conference?

I think the Isles have an abundance of very good top 6, 9 and even top 12 forwards. Excluding Frans, none of them have reached their peak years of age 27,28,29,30..

njersey
njersey

@crazyjoedavola @njersey ON THE SECOND LINE ? NO !!

I would be fine with him as a third line and PK guy. As I originally stated, I like him. But if players of his and baily's talent continue to be on our second line, we will NEVER BE GOOD. I'm Sorry

njersey
njersey

@crazyjoedavola @njersey I don't miss them, (as I stated), We will NEVER be a good team, if we have players with the talent of Grabner and Bailey on our 2nd Line. NEVER. If they are going to play, and be on the 2nd line, I won't miss them when they are out or gone for good. We suck with them, I'm ok sucking with other players trying the second line, IE younger players...

crazyjoedavola
crazyjoedavola

@njersey So the Islanders lack of depth is a reason for you to not miss him? He has bounced between both lines, and has figured it out as of late.