Out Gunned. . .
A poor showing by the team tonight, all the way around. Sure, we got jobbed by the NHL officiating crew again (see below), but that did not cost us the game. Here is what I saw:
Poor Energy — We took the first 10 minutes off, and LA didn’t. Result was 2 goals against, and Mason really didn’t have a chance on either of them. We showed more energy after that, but could never get the upper hand. When we did get some momentum, it seems like we took a penalty, committed a turnover, etc.
Puck Handling — We had an awful time keeping the puck on our sticks, finding open men, getting the zone cleared, etc. I know the lines are shaken up, but being able to pass and hold onto the puck is critical, especially against a high energy offense and high risk defense like LA.
Defense — Klesla looked awful — slow, tentative. Methot was not decisive or quick tonight, and Hejda was not effective. We were a step behind all night in our own zone. This prevented us from getting good crisp breakouts. 42 shots for LA, 23 for us tells much of the story.
Missed Chances — Once again, we could not get our sticks on the ice when the puck was in front, or find the corners with point blank shots. Ironically, we got good traffic in front of Quick on several occasions, but we didn’t fire the puck into the fray. We seem to be continually looking for a crystal clear lane to shoot through. News flash boys — if you can see him, he can see you.
Power Play — See Puck Handling and Missed Chances, above.
Talent — We are in a position right now where we are relying on Boll, Murray, Dorsett, Novotny, Picard to create things and make things happen, and they just don’t have the skills and\or experience yet to do it. Boll and Murray showed a lot of energy out there, but energy is not enough. That is what both Brassard and Chimera had learned this year — speed and energy is worthless if you can’t finish. Chimera took a few mph off his skating, and was finishing more chances and creating others before he got hurt. Brassard is highly skilled, but has also learned the knack of finding space and finishing his chances. Voracek is playing well, but needs to shoot more. Peca and Malhotra were non-participants tonight. Modin was also invisible. When Nash is having to create his own opportunities, the rest tend to stand around and watch. That has to change.
If anybody can get them out of this current funk, it is Hitchcock. He has 4 days to do it before Philly comes in with an attitude. You KNOW Hitch badly wants to beat Philly — badly. We can do it, but we need the defense to show up and we need the same consistent energy we showed against SJ and Dallas.
I guarantee you that Howson is on the phone right now. Weight has been mentioned and could likely be had for next to nothing, given his age and the fact that the Islanders are going nowhere this year. Nothing going to happen for a week yet, but let’s hope Chimera is healthy soon.