The Islanders played host to the Boston Bruins last night. In the Halloween sprit the Islanders finished the month off above .500 at 4-3-2-0 by defeating the Bruins 4-2 on goals from Kenny Jonsson (1), Oleg Kvasha (3), Dave Scatchard (3) and Brad Isbister added an empty net, his fourth of the season.
In the spirit of Halloween, here are the tricks and treats from last night's game and the season thus far:
While the Islanders went 1 for 3 on the power play it still appears to be a major weakness, as they seemed to be very disorganized at times. At other times they seemed to actually take advantage with the man advantage, with lots of movement and quality chances, although not many made their way through to the net.
A second problem the Islanders had last night was that they gave up way too many shots on goal, and were outshot badly in the process ( 34 -13 ). While most shots were not from in close, with the shots in clear sight of John Vanbiesbrouck, there were still too many good chances that were allowed through, too many shots in general given up, and not enough taken.
Finally, the crowd. In the wake of a 4 game unbeaten streak, it was disappointing to see so few fans come out and watch the team play. It's still early in the season, and it was Halloween, but last night crowd could hardly be called a "crowd!"
The Islanders finished the month of October above .500 for the first time in years and looked good doing so. The 3 losses that they endured were close battles that they fell short on and the wins were impressive. This is in contrast to last season, when they were losing more regularly and in the midst of dumping more salary. Good to see the times start to change.
The plays of the defense, while they did give up a lot of shots, many of them were not from in close. Overall, for the first month of the season, they have shown good offensive awareness and helped the goaltending by limiting the number of quality chances they opposition has. Statistically, the Islanders seem to have one of the fewest goals allowed in the league, which is impressive considering they were among the worst in this category last season.
- As a side note, the play of Kenny Jonsson and especially Roman Hamrlik has been superb so far this season.
Goaltending has been somewhat of a surprise at just how steady it has been for most of the first month, and that is especially good on this young team which has the tendency to give up a lot of shots. The play of both Wade Flaherty and John Vanbiesbrouck has been suburb, which can only help the confidence of the team. Last night for instance John Vanbiesbrouck stopped 16 shots in the first period. If just one of those shots had gone in, it might have changed the complexion of the entire game.
After watching the entire team play over the first month, one can't but be entertained, with the talent and promise of Tim Connolly, who every night has at least a few plays that leave you in awe. His play, along with Hamrlik, Parrish and Isbister makes you believe that this team has a bright future.
Maybe at the end of November, we'll be thanking them for continuing their fine play, with even better results!
Congratulations to Mike, our very own Islander Expert for winning the Trivia question during the second period.. even though it was a really crappy question!