Second Line Breaks Scoring Slump

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

NEW YORK — Michael Grabner had gone 37 games without a goal when he scored at 17:09 of the first Period on Friday night.

grabner-nielsenGrabner’s slump had almost become representative of the slump the Islanders second line was going through. Grabner, Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey had struggled to find the back of the net or even get a point during recent games, but things have started to turn around for the trio.

On Tuesday, Nielsen scored his first goal since November 19 in the Islanders 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay. Grabner had an assist on the goal, which was his first point since October 17, and it was the line’s best game they have had in some time.

Friday night seemed to be the culmination of the slump finally coming to an end.

“Our line has been going pretty good,” Grabner said after Friday night’s victory over the Rangers. “We have struggled a little bit putting the puck in the net. Fransie got one last game and we got a couple more today. We have to build off that.”

Getting goals from Grabner, who scored his third and fourth goals of the season, addressed the Islanders other need as well; secondary scoring.

A majority of the Islanders points have been coming from the team’s top line. The Tavares line has accounted for 14 of the Islanders last 21 goals

Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano noted how important it was for his team to get the secondary scoring going.

“We have to get those guys going,” he said. “For us to have success, we’ve talked about it over the years with 91’s line, we have to get secondary scoring. Those are usually the teams that win hockey games, especially on the road when they get the matchups they want to get… That’s big for us and hopefully that will continue for us as well.




38 comments
jepliberty
jepliberty

After tonight's game vs the Ducks, you might want to temper all this enthusiasm, because we have all seen it, it is with this team 1 step forward, and 2 steps back, sometimes 3 steps back.

Zach14
Zach14

Huge period for the Isles. Keep it up!

frankjb
frankjb

I watched the Pens/Wild game the other nite and if I could have one stay at home d man I would take Keith Ballard. Stay at home,big,physical and plays good minutes.

dimaio34
dimaio34

100 percent agree with the lines. Nelson proved he can do it. Also I love anders lee he a bull in a china shop. Just no room right now. I like the 4 lines. If we had viz back there it would make a big difference. What would it take to get Gardiner from Toronto? Hey if they are in the playoff race at trade deadline would they go after Campbell from Florida?

neeza06
neeza06

Love grabner as a player and hes playing awesome last 2 or 3 games but hes still 100% IMO a third liner.  He got typical grabner scoring chances and typical grabner goals last night and it was all mostly his hustle and his skating ability that produced em.  He plays well in his own end and is a home run threat every time hes on the ice but he has done nothing to show he can compliment other players or do everything you need to do to play in a top 6 role. He would honestly have the same opportunities and be the same player with any line (which isnt always good for the rest of that line. 


I mean if anyone watched last nights game you cant really say our secondary scoring was fixed or that the second and third lines played really well from an offensive standpoint. The only even strength goal they scored was right at the end of a PP before the defender coming out of the box had a chance to rejoin the play.


Bottom line is grabner should still get his minutes but someone else should get the opportunity in the top 6 ( i know options are limited) and it starts with breaking up the top line.  Its insane to keep your 3 best scorers on 1 line while the rest of your team starves for goals. I have said a million times our best line during the playoff push was Nielsen Bailey Okposo.  The first line got their goals but the second line kept consistent pressure on the forecheck and kept up production wise.  It made our entire team a lot better and genius cappy hasnt even given them a chance to play together or establish themselves again.  Heres my idea and im always open to other opinions:


Vanek Tavares Nelson (nelson held his own in vaneks absence for brief period)

Bailey Nielsen Okposo (again one of our best lines from last years push)

Grabner Strome Clutterbuck (i dont think this will hurt strome much and this line would have a TON of speed)

Martin Cizikas Boulton (would like to see Lee get a shot at some point in the season)

dimaio34
dimaio34

Oh and also strome gets his first tonight. And gets one in Detroit on Monday

dimaio34
dimaio34

Hey by the way anyone out there a fan of bobby bassen. What a great role player he was

dimaio34
dimaio34

Okay still pumped after last night. Seeing grabs get rewarded for his efforts has made my Christmas. And had anyone noticed the speed of Clutterbuck. He's a great guy to have on this team and he's also gritty never backs down. Contributes a lot to this team. Just build on last night and chip away at our way to the playoffs can't wait for tonight. Just bring the swagger and set the tone early. And then keep at it. Really impressed with de haan great poise and real intelligent. I'm just so happy we won last night!!!!!! I would live to face the rangers in the playoffs

mrcisback
mrcisback

    If i were the islanders i would like to find out sometime right after the new year if Vanek has any intentions of signing a new contract. If Vanek says something like i would like to wait until the season is over to discuss a new contract then i would start to shop him around the league now. By  saying i want to wait until the season is over is a nice way of saying i'm going to sign with another team.

firecappy
firecappy

Am I the only one that was still sweating with a 2 goal lead and 50 seconds left? Grabner was a pipe and 2 seconds away from a short handed hat trick.  He has been working hard the last few games.

Zach14
Zach14

So weird to see the Knicks playing at MSG today after last night's big W

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

Was that Grabner last night?  I was mistaken, I thought it was Haley's Comet.

phishstyx1
phishstyx1

lets not get to excited 2nd line. Bring it tonight and every other 

nymarc
nymarc

Do not let one win fool you, The teams management is horrible and needs to go. Stop going to the games, we need to stick together

goislesgo
goislesgo

It's pretty obvious what this team needs to do to win. 1) good goaltending. 2) secondary scoring. 3) Good defensive play. They got all three last night. Brian Strait and Calvin deHaan have really helped the defense. Ryan Strome looks good too. I believe that this team is better than they have been playing. Hopefully with the development of Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson, the additions of Griffin Rheinhardt and another big defenseman and the addition of a good, young goalie, the future will be better than the past.

Markzila
Markzila

it's nice to see Grabs not buried on the third line behind Bailey. Never understood that.

Ronnie Kind
Ronnie Kind

First goal on 31 games breaks a slump. It was also a catalyst as it set the tone.

orange
orange

I just don't understand WHY CAN'T THEY THEY PLAY LIKE THIS ON A CONSISTENCE BASIS

Scott Trinkwald
Scott Trinkwald

1 even strength goal in 2 games hardly breaks a scoring slump.

neeza06
neeza06

@dimaio34 like your thinking but im not sure campbell fits their need.  great offensive defenseman but if lubo's back they are better off targeting a stay at home d man.  


To be completely honest I think they will and should stay quiet at the deadline unless we are to become sellers.  this team clearly isnt cup ready yet even if they turn it around and 1 deadline addition doesnt change that. No sense in wasting prospects or draft picks for a long shot. If they are in it then they try to do their best as is and then work on bringing in legit FA's in the offseason unless a trade that makes total sense comes along or if your trading a player on the roster you may not need for the future. If they are out and vanek has not comitted by that time then he HAS to be traded. You can not risk loosing him for nothing.  Only time will tell.  I hope we turn it around and show something because we would be a lot better off with some experienced free agents then another high pick.  Although who knows if anyone will come even if we do play well.

Mark Pomerantz
Mark Pomerantz

Agree with most- but Strome needs to be on the second line......and grabners breakaway style offense....will not fully take advantage of strome creativity

Neilson and grabber should be on the third line together....there offense will be opportunistic based on creating turnovers

jepliberty
jepliberty

@Chris R

Where do you keep your crystal ball, but really not hard to predict a downfall with this team.

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

You sir, need to find some holiday cheer.

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

@orange Consistency is an attribute of greatness.  They are not an elite level hockey team by any stretch of the imagination.  Give the Rangers credit too, they stink.  

dzruggie
dzruggie

@orange Have you watched the last 3 games??????  Yes it was a horrible slump but they have been playing well.

steviel
steviel

agree! is it the second line or Grabner really stepping up? Franz goal was a great setup from Grabs. The goal last night was all Grabner. I don't see Bailey involved at all. His assist last night was a blind behind the back pass.Luck or skill? and his penalty at the end could have been devastating! I need to see a lot more before I'm convinced this line is solid!

neeza06
neeza06

@Mark Pomerantz I actually like that a lot better and it was my original thought but I thought it was unlikely strome gets handed the second line center spot so quickly with neilsen playing so well and strome so green.  I do think that is the best bet for next year depending on how free agency goes.  Also could see it going that way later this year with strome getting more time under his belt. I think those combos with strome in the top 6 is best though and if im being honest with myself capuano is never gonna wake up and break up that first line so its a moot point.




since72
since72

@Chris R @goislesgo  The Isles have developed more players than they get credit for.  Hammer, Neilson, Nelson, Cizikis, de Haan, and Strome are all contributing in the NHL.  All came through the system.  Donovan and Lee are not far off.  Pedan and Mayfield may also make it with others in Jrs.  Only Bailey and Nino were mishandled and have become the poster boys for the "non development" tag. Both were probably drafted too high, but mistakes are made by all teams (see Hickey as the 4th overall by LA).  I'm no defender of Snow, so don't go there.  I just think that the talent developed over the years is better, on balance, than Bailey and Nino.

isles23
isles23

@Chris R. Or maybe they have more talent coming then they've had in the past. Any of the guys we havent "developed" properly were never at the top of any prospect rankings. Can't say the same for the likes of Strome and Reinhart. Time will tell.

Jim Miller
Jim Miller

@stevielHe is awful. Bailey should be traded for an 8th round pick, if they can get that much.

dzruggie
dzruggie

@steviel Geeze you are figgin negative.  Really?  Bailey made a great play on his assist.  

neeza06
neeza06

@since72 @Chris R @goislesgo dont forget martin and Okposo as well (okposo wasnt his pick like neilsen but both were brought along and developed by snows regime) im not getting into snows overall work here but the facts are he has a lot more hits then misses when it comes to developing NHLers. You can even include recognizing talent like grabner as well. 


Also as for Nino he has ended up fine from a development standpoint. Snow fixed those mistakes and gave him what i thought was proper time back in the AHL, but he absolutely RUINED things from a management standpoint. 


Nino wasnt 100% innocent either but that is snows worst blunder IMO.  Nino looks like a good talent but his value was driven through the ground and snow ended up with a wasted 1st round top 5 pick during a rebuild which is inexcusable. its one thing to miss but to force yourself to trade a guy like that for clutterbuck is terrible. I dont dislike clutterbuck as a player but looking at Nino play hes at worst gonna be a clutterbuck type player (he hits a lot and skates very well already in his first REAL season) and looks to still have a ton of upside

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

@since72 Looking forward to seeing both Adam Pelech and Griffin Reinhart play for the Canadian Junior team next week.

tomba
tomba

Bailey should try tennis.....

Mark Kaiser
Mark Kaiser

@Jim Miller @steviel compliance buyout, the Islanders still have one that they must use this summer if they are going to use it at all… Bailey at 3.3MIL per year  for 4 more years is a good candidate you think?

since72
since72

@Jim Miller @steviel Bailey would clear waivers right now.  He usually shows up for a quarter of the games.  Having shown up for about 2 so far, he is due to break out.  


Before he got his new contract, he was grousing that he hoped to be looked at as part of the "core" and wanted a contract to reflect that.  He got it.  Now start playing like it Josh!