The Islanders Informer
by William Morrison on 10/21/11 at 09:18 AM ET
In a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, the Isles managed only 17 shots on goal. Michael Grabner scored the only goal. Through the first five games this season, the Islanders have scored 12 goals. Eight of those goals have been scored by the Islanders top line of John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and PA Parenteau.
The Islanders other lines have combined to score four goals-two from Michael Grabner, one from Frans Nielsen, and one from Andrew MacDonald. Going into the season, the team knew that the top line was going to produce. The team also expected the second and third lines to produce, at least in line with what they did last season, but that just hasn’t happened.
In the first five games, the lack of scoring depth didn’t hurt the Islanders, but it was sure to catch up with them soon enough. It finally caught up to them last night. The unbalanced scoring, coupled with the Tampa Bay Lightning finally breaking out, made for a bad night for the Islanders. The Isles were outshot 30-17. The Lightning started Mathieu Garon in goal and he played well, but didn’t have to do much throughout the entire three periods.
There could be many reasons for the lack of scoring depth this early in the season. I will start with Blake Comeau. Coming off of a 2010-2011 season when Comeau scored 24 goals and added 22 assists, the Isles were hoping for a 25-30 goal season from Comeau. Comeau has been a healthy scratch the past two games in favor of giving Trevor Gillies minimal minutes. Granted, Comeau has registered only one shot on goal in the first three games and has been nearly non-existent on the ice, but I just don’t understand the reason for scratching Comeau, who can provide some scoring depth, in favor of giving Gillies three or four minutes of ice time per game. I’m not real sure why Jack Capuano is doing this, but I’m sure he has some good reasons. If Capuano is trying to show Comeau some discipline, I think scratching him for one game this early in the season was enough. If there is another reason, the team is playing it smart by keeping the issues in house. Whatever the reason is, hopefully it will be resolved soon and Comeau will be back on the ice and will play much better than he did in the first three games of the season.
Another reason for the lack of scoring depth is the play of Josh Bailey. Bailey was re-signed before the season and the Isles were expecting Bailey to make big strides from last season. Bailey, as the 9th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, has been a huge disappointment overall for the team, but he is still young and has a lot of time to develop. Through five games, Bailey has zero points and carries a -1 rating. Bailey has only registered three shots on goal and hasn’t been involved in any scoring chances.
I don’t know what needs to happen for the second and third lines to start producing, but if they don’t get their act together soon and start playing better hockey, the Isles could be in for a long season.
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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.