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Capuano Needs To Shuffle Up The Lines

With the exception of the Isles first line, there has been very little offensive production during the Isles recent three game losing streak.  Matt Moulson, PA Parenteau, and John Tavares have great chemistry, but beyond those three there has been minimal production and few scoring chances.

On Thursday night, when the Islanders travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in the second game of a home and home series, head coach Jack Capuano needs to shuffle up the second and third lines.  Last night, in the first period of a 3-0 loss to the Pens, the Isles second line of Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Michael Grabner looked very good.  In the next two periods, they were almost non-existent.  The Isles played a much better first period than the Pens, but they were down 1-0 after the initial frame.

Last night, John Tavares played a few shifts in the third period with Okposo and Grabner.  This is great when Tavares can double shift, but obviously he can’t double shift the entire game.

As bad as Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey have played this year, it is an atrocity having them on the same line at this point.  They are generating nothing at all and even when they are handed a scoring chance, nothing happens.  Comeau and Bailey had a three on two last night with Brian Rolston and Bailey had an open net after Fleury gave up a rebound on a Rolston slap shot and he completely missed the net.  Comeau was trailing on the play, over skated, and somehow managed to completely take himself out of the play.  There were a couple of times last night when Bailey had good angle shots from the slot and either whiffed or completely missed the net.  Capuano needs to at least try Comeau and Bailey on different lines and see what happens. 

Nino Niederreiter remains listed as day-to-day, but has begun skating and should be in the lineup within the next couple of games.  Hopefully when Nino comes back, he will help get the third line going.  I would like to see Nielsen center a line with Comeau and Nino when Nino is healthy.  Maybe playing Bailey at center on a line with Grabner and Okposo would help get Bailey going.  Grabner’s speed can always help create scoring chances and could help Bailey score a couple of goals to gain some confidence.

The Isles fourth line has been pretty impressive so far this season.  I don’t think anybody has any complaints with how the fourth line is playing.  Matt Martin is playing some great, physical hockey and has even shown some good skill with the puck.  Martin has been flying on the ice and has looked really good.  Brian Rolston knows how to get the puck on net and is shooting the puck whenever he gets the opportunity.  Marty Reasoner hasn’t been spectacular, but has done a pretty solid job of centering Martin and Rolston.

Coming off of a three game losing streak, the Isles have nothing at all to lose by shuffling up the lines to see if they can get something going.   

Follow me on Twitter @TheIsleInformer.

Filed in: New York Islanders, | The Islanders Informer | Permalink
  Tags: blake+comeau, frans+nielsen, josh+bailey, kyle+okposo, michael+grabner, nino+niederreiter

Comments

Bossy_Rules's avatar

Reasoner has the best Corsi on the team both raw Corsi and relative Corsi.  I’d say he’s doing pretty damn well. 

Bailey was better last night but so was the whole team.  At least they carried most of the play throughout the game.  Sometimes the goals don’t go in.  I think pressing only hurts that.  I was very encouraged by last night.  Especially after being outplayed in every other game this year except the Ranger game.  The Lightning outplayed us in the 5-1 win too.  The Rangers look horrible.  They escaped with a lucky win after being dominated by Winnipeg, one of the weaker teams.  So outshooting the Rangers they way they’ve been playing is not that much of an accomplishment.  Carrying play against Pittsburgh is an accomplishment.  I’ve not seen enough to convince me the Isles are a good team but a few more games where we outshoot our opponents in even/close situations and I’ll feel better. We have SJS coming up after Pitt and they are tough.  They’re outshooting their opponents 36.3 to 24.1 which I think is the largest margin in the NHL right now.  A tough couple of games await.  I’ll be happy to get 2 points out of them -but I want to see those shooting numbers continue in the right direction.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 10/26/11 at 07:48 PM ET

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BR:  I thought the Isles played great in the first period.  I was hoping they would come out in the second and third periods with the same intensity.  I thought the first period last night was one of the best periods the team has played so far this season.  The Pens on the road tomorrow night and the game against San Jose will certainly be a test and will give us a better indication of where this team is right now.  I think Nabby played very well against the Pens last night even though he gave up two goals.  He didn’t have a chance on the first goal and the second one would have been a spectacular save.  I’ve been very, very pleased with Nabby so far this season.  We will see who starts in goal tomorrow night.  My guess is that DP gets the start either tomorrow or Saturday.
Your points are very well taken-The Isles carrying play against a very good Pens team is a certainly a good short-term sign for the team.

Posted by William Morrison on 10/26/11 at 09:09 PM ET

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Welcome to The Islanders Informer.  TII will be a forum for discussion, debate, and both Islander and hockey related news. 

I'm an attorney by day and hockey fan by night.  I'm always open to feedback, suggestions, agreements, disagreements, opinions, and discussion. 

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