October 11, 2103
Even though it is early in the season, many were viewing this game as a barometer as to how good the Islanders are. They played the Blackhawks very close all game but fell just short losing 3-2 and are now 2-1-1 on the season. Both Islanders goals came in the final minute of the first period, the first by Josh Bailey, the second by Kyle Okposo.
The Important Things:
Backup goaltender Kevin Poulin got his first start the season, and actually played pretty well. He seemed to be a little nervous in the first period, which is where 2 of the goals against him were scored. He settled down and made 3 very nice saves in the final period. He wound up stopping 25 of 28 shots against him.
Cal Clutterbuck made his season debut tonight as the rookie Brock Nelson was a healthy scratch. Clutterbuck was the only Islander not to see double digit minutes tonight. His minutes should go up as the season goes along. It will be interesting to see if Nelson will be in the line-up tomorrow night.
The first and second lines were once again buzzing creating the majority of the scoring chances tonight. John Tavares and Michael Grabner picked up assists tonight. After only 5 assists in 45 games last year, Grabner now has 5 in the first 4 games for the Islanders.
The he didn’t register a point Matt Martin was silent hero in tonight’s game. Martin had 5 hits and 4 blocked shots on just under 14 minutes. Josh Bailey also gets recognition as he picked up his second goal and created some offensive chances. He really seems to be clicking with his Nielsen and Grabner as each player now has at least 5 points on that line.
Matt Donovan played his worst game of season tonight. On the first goal he was caught in his own crease preventing Poulin from potentially making the save. His job is not in jeopardy as Matt Carkner will only see time in games where they will need to drop the gloves.
The Islanders will stay on the road as they will travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. The Predators are 1-3 on the year. Puck will drop at 8PM