The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost Mattias Ohlund for 1-2 months with knee surgeries, which paved the way for ex-Islander Bruno Gervais to make his season debut -- and score -- in their 6-5 shootout loss to the Capitals.
In their next practice, coach Guy Boucher had them hitting the books on defensive positioning and awareness.
Lightning (1-1-1) @ Islanders (1-1-0)
7 p.m. EDT | MSG
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Static opposition: Raw Charge
Turnovers, penalties, losing battles, being outshot; these are the complaints for the Bolts after going 1-1-1 so far. Offense not clicking, too many penalties (some only "penalties") against the Wild -- these are the complaints for the Islanders going 1-1 so far.
Gervais logged not just a goal but an assist in 12:06 TOI in that debut. No doubt he'll find the same ex-Islander Fountain Of Use that brethren Nate Thompson, Sean Bergenheim, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Roloson have. (Add Eric Brewer, if you'd like to dig back that far. And of course Bergenheim has cashed in even further South now.)
Rick DiPietro took a Brian Rolston shot in the noggin at practice yesterday, right in the ol' Osgood cage. He left the ice and wasn't available to reporters afterward, but expect an update on his status today. The Islanders, in case you haven't heard, happen to have some insurance at this position.
In the other net, old pal Dwayne Roloson has played two of their three games thus far, stopping 70 of 76 shots. He went 1-0-1 against the Islanders last year, who took two points in three of the four meetings with the Lightning.
There was some insinuation that Capuano was upset with John Tavares' overall play after the Wild game, but that definitely sounds like one headline blowing one poor play (lost puck at the blueline) out of proportion. Despite going without a point, Tavares has created several scoring chances thus far and even helped create a goal he was no longer on the ice for (his substitute, Frans Nielsen, arrived to take the tally).
"When goal scorers aren't scoring, I try to stay away from them ... The last thing I want to do is make guys grab their sticks and play tighter."
...And at the official site:
"Well Johnny, he's had a lot of chances. He’s played really well defensively. His game in his own end is as good as it's ever been. I know over two games he's -2, but he’s played real well defensively."
"I only had 3 shots on goal in my first two games, so I probably need to shoot more, but I don’t think I'm really forcing a whole lot... I thought I created a lot of opportunities."
It must've been a long summer for me, because I'd already forgotten how two games without a point from your top scorer is a story.
The real story is that no line's offense has been clicking. Theorize away about a light preseason game schedule or other factors, but within the games Tavares has been their most dangerous threat while each line has had at least one player not in full stride. (You can see slightly abbreviated scoring chance data compiled by Chris McNally here.)
Tonight against the tricky Lightning, another opportunity to snap out of all that ... and of course a chance to fall into the Boucher trap.
LHH Links of Note
- Frans Nielsen has an official site now. It's already the best bargain on the Internet.
- So they're 1-1 so far, with tough games on the schedule this month. At this point, what October record would meet your expectations?
- As mentioned above, Chris McNally will be logging scoring chances this year. This is no small task, so many, many thanks for him taking this on. We should learn some interesting things, disprove some biases and confirm others.
- Islanders Diaspora: How do you watch your Isles games and the NHL overall?
- SB Nation on NHL Realignment: An argument for a revenue and time zone-based approach.
Get Your FIG On: Finally, for First Islanders Goal picks, leave them only in this thread (and check the directions if you haven't).