I think I'm going with an instant-reaction post for this one, 'cause there's not much to say. The Islanders were outplayed for the whole game except ... on the power play. The power play looked fine early, and they got themselves a 5-on-3 at the beginning of the 2nd, which they promptly converted (Thank you, Richard Park). But if you're dependent only on your powerplay for offense, you should probably work hard enough to draw penalties.
Alas, a season-low 16 shots on goal says you weren't working very hard to get chances and, consequently, draw penalties. Thankfully, Joey MacDonald kept it close for a long time, otherwise this would have been a rout. The kind of game that makes you want to go play EA NHL to show how it "should be" done.
Tonight looked like the middle phase of a lost/rebuilding season has set in: Sustained losing leading to an utter lack of confidence, and thus the utter loss of energy at the first sign of trouble. Should be fun to see how Gordon handles this phase. It may take the return of Rick DiPietro to give them a boost and/or kick in the ass.
[Game Summary | Event Summary | nhl.com (AP) recap | Hockey Wilderness]
Roster notes: Trent Hunter was scratched with a groin injury, Blake Comeau was a healthy scratch, Andy Sutton left with a broken foot from blocking a shot in the first. And Mitch Fritz's bum never left the bench. That's right: zero shifts. I know Gordon just has him for a very narrow role, but that's getting insulting. A guy who does not play shouldn't happen in the NHL.
Let's answer the 5 questions from earlier:
1. What'll it be, Mike Comrie? He returns from injury tonight. Will he show enough for the Islanders to parlay him into something nice after the holiday freeze?
Comrie looked good early. He made a move, which we haven't seen in these parts. He had jump. He added something to the power play. Now, who wants him?!
2. And you, Kyle? Okposo, who still hasn't been in the NHL for even half a season, has had a tepid year so far. He returns from injury with a chance to shine in his old stomping grounds.
Outside of MacDonald, Okposo might have been the best Isle in the first period. He was digging down deep, protecting the puck. Like everyone else, his play tapered off.
3. Can you see the puck, Joey? November's third star of the month has had an awful December. MacDonald's line: .871 save% with 25 GA in 6 games.
Yes, sir! MacDonald was great, and the fact that I can say that after he gave up 4 goals tells you what you need to know about the Isles.
4. Is this the beginning of the end for Brendan Witt? I applaud Witt for being honest. But if it's not working for him here, and if GM Garth Snow wants to stick to the Gordon plan, and Gordon wants to stick to the Gordon plan, Witt may become a trade target for some team that doesn't ask old dogs to learn new tricks.
Undetermined. His play wasn't stellar -- he just is not dominant in this system. Logan says Gordon was "tight-lipped" after morning skate. Video interview and in-game commentary indicated Gordon's not pissed. But he certainly doesn't need controversy in the middle of an 8-game losing streak.
5. The Weight for 1,000: Tonight? Three points away from 1,000, Weight's now in the area where you can think about it happening in one game. But I'm not going to pretend the Islanders will score three goals against Jacques Lemaire.
Sixteen shots, yeah that's not gonna do it. But Weight assisted on the goal. Two points away from 1,000.