Saturday night wasn't alright for the Islanders. Not for fighting, not for scoring, and definitely not for winning. In an embarrassment that must have Ed Westfall wondering what the Islanders really think of him, the Isles got dismantled by the red hot Bruins 6-0 at the Coliseum.
I thought about just copying and pasting the game recap from last weeks whoopin' at the hands of the Bruins, but it involved different goalies and actual goals scored by the Islanders.
This game was supposed to be a celebration of Ed Westfall's induction into the Islanders Hall of Fame, but instead it turned into a handful of lessons for Islanders country. Lesson 1- This team lacks heart. Lesson 2- The Bruins are in a-whole-nother class than the Islanders. Lesson 3- While we were relying on our defense and goaltending to keep us in games earlier in the season, we learned tonight that we can't rely on our defense and goaltending to keep us in most games anymore.
Welcome to the NHL Anders Nilsson
While a few of us speculated that Anders Nilsson would not see the ice tonight, even if Rick DiPietro gave up 10 goals, Jack Capuano had a different idea, putting Nilsson in to start the second period, relegating DiPietro and his weird beard to the bench.
Rick DiPietro didn't get much help from his defense, but his performance was nothing to start making excuses about. He continues to look shaky and basically out of shape, and the second goal he gave up, a failed clearing attempt by Ricky up the middle of the ice, is a prime example of why most of Islanders Nation has tired of his presence.
Nilsson looked good in the second, although he only faced 6 shots. He made a couple nice saves, one at point blank range, but the refreshing difference between him and his predecessor was his clean, simple handling of the puck...and only when needed to. The third period I have to give the kid a pass. These are the defending Stanley Cup champs, and the defense at that point had given up. It's possible the defense gave up before the game even started.
Even with the Westfall Ceremony, the Islanders still showed up late
The disturbing trend of the Islanders not showing up for the start of games is at the point where its inexcusable. The Isles were listless, sloppy, and disinterested throughout the first 20 minutes of the game.
They came out with a better effort to start the second. The third line's first shift managed to double the team's shot total for the game from 2 to 4. But at that point, the game was already over.
In his post-game tirade, Capuano seems to be at the end of his rope with the team's effort:
"When you play this game, you need to play with fire, you need to play with passion, you need to play with determination, you need to play with desperation. You need to have ice bags after a game, maybe a little blood dripping. When you lace your skates, the guy on the left and right of you need to know you have their back. That just didn't happen tonight. I don't know why."
"Enough about staying positive and, 'We're going to get through this.' You have to work. Right now, collectively, we're not doing that."
That's why they're the champs
The Boston Bruins completely dominated this game. And while we can talk about lack of heart and the goaltending and defense, the fact is the Bruins are light years ahead of the Islanders as a team. From the opening faceoff until the final buzzer, there was no doubt who the team was that won the Stanley Cup last year and who the team was that has been an annual participant in the draft lottery.
Although they did lack desire, the team didn't lack effort. They tried to establish a forecheck, particularly the third and fourth line. Matt Martin, Blake Comeau, and Nino Niederreiter skated around and tried hitting everything that moved. In the end though, when one Bruin got checked, another was there to send the puck up ice with a crisp pass, many times creating odd man rushes into the Islanders zone.
To put it simply, the Bruins were better than us.
Only Plus: Jiggs and 18 back in the box for old times sake. Unfortunately I was stuck listening to the out of town crew, but at least the fanbase was treated to a period of amazingness in an otherwise dreadful game.
One last note: To the always professional broadcast team at NESN, who stated to the country that the Islanders should be moved from the New York area, that Long Island isn't a hockey town, and that the Isles probably only have two fans watching- Stop by this site sometime and say hello. I'm sure the TWO fans the Islanders have, that stop by here daily to discuss their favorite team, have a thing or two they'd like to discuss with you. Keep it classy, Boston.
Feel free to touch on anything I missed in the Comments section. There were a few things, like Mark Streit's -5, Steve Staios' clueless pinch, and John Tavares taking on Big Z that I managed to skip over.