Tonight the Islanders defense got exposed for what it is: slow, not physical and not very good. The Bruins and their talented offense — which is now officially and certifiably clicking after a rough start — ran roughshod up and down the ice all night long in what was a fast paced game. The Isles defense would have been less exposed doing a Playboy centerfold.
The first goal was a terrible misplay in their own zone. Milan Jurcina sent a pass off the boards behind the net to Mark Eaton who wasn’t on the other end. Instead it was the Bruin’s Pouliot on the receiving end who got the puck past what may have been a sleeping Nabokov. It didn’t get any better after that. I counted one goal that didn’t leave the goaltender out to dry (the second). From Steve Staios getting absolutely roasted by Milan Lucic to Jurcina/Eaton not getting within five yards of Nathan Horton’s parking spot in front of the net at 5-on-5, it was a rough night. That’s not counting two gimmies the Bruins shot into the side of the net during the scoreless second period.
So what happens now? It’s time to say for sure that this doesn’t cut it. For much of the season, the Streit/Staios combination has been serviceable, nay solid, with Streit coming to the aid of his training camp signee partner. Tonight that did not happen. The Jurcina/Eaton combination is not working. Mike Mottau, a healthy scratch again, would not be an improvement. The problem is that these are veterans with contracts that do not allow them to be sent to Bridgeport. If you part with them, you’re parting with them for good. Not a problem if there are guys on the Bridge who are ready to go. There’s no Travis Hamonic banging on the doors this season — at least not yet. There’s no one in Bridgeport that is ready to go. De Haan, Donovan and Ness are not ready. With all due respect, Dylan Reese is not a significant upgrade. The Islanders are now stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to their defensive lineup.
NABOKOV’S FAILED AUDITION
If the Islanders started Evgeni Nabokov as an audition for potential suitors in tonight’s nationally televised game, it went about as bad as you can get. He gave up three goals in the first period on 12 shots. As previously mentioned they were not all of his own volition but he still looked like he was among those not ready for the puck drop tonight. CB reported on Twitter earlier today that Snow’s asking price is and has been a 2nd round pick. Good luck getting that now.
We had an Al Montoya sighting tonight as Coach Capuano called the hotline (1-800-BIG-CUBANO) after Nabokov’s troubles in the first. Montoya came in and made 24 saves on 22 shots, a solid performance behind a porous defense. If not for a Staios’ glove save and a few missed nets by the Bs, he would have given up a few more even though it would have been hard to blame him what with all the odd-man rushes buzzing around him.
SWISS CHEESE IS AN APT ANALOGY
The Bruins, the Defending Champs and the Beasts of the Northeast showed us most if not all of the Islanders flaws tonight and placed them front and center on the dinner table. Composed as this team currently is, it’s hard to imagine them going very far. As you can see, I’ve written almost 500 words without mentioning the forwards. We’ll give them a reprieve for a night where they were a story, not the story.
CAPUANO CALLS EM OUT
Not specifically, of course. But the coach who usually doesn’t have a whole lot to say positive or negative, had some sharper opinions than usual on the players tonight.
“We just had some guys that didn’t show up. I was real disappointed in some guys’ work ethic tonight…I’m not going to name names… But that’s why some guys were -2 and -3.”
A brief list of players who were -2 or -3 tonight: