January 6, 2014

Islanders Notebook: Tide starting to turn

By Christian Arnold

Colin McDonald and the Isles hope they're starting to turn a corner. (Getty Images)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Prior to Saturday night’s loss, the Islanders were starting to feel good about their game.

They had won three straight games for the first time in 2013-14, and had been playing a style of hockey that seemed to resemble what they had shown at the end of last season.

“I think there were times when we were going through that losing streak, where it could have been just one bad mistake and it cost us,” Colin McDonald said prior to Saturday night’s loss. “It was very frustrating cause there were times … we were playing pretty well and we couldn’t find a way to get the win. Now we’re finding ways to get the win.”

McDonald, along with several other players in the locker room, credited the improved defensive play of the team over the three game stretches.

“I think we’re playing better defensively,” he added. “Power play clicked one game, that game in Boston. It’s the feeling we had last year, but it’s only been three games or whatever and we need to continue to do that for the next however many games we have left.”

The good feelings came to a screeching halt after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, but the Islanders have a chance to rebound Monday night when they take on the Dallas Stars at Nassau Coliseum.

Week in Review

December 31: Islanders 5 @ Bruins 3

The Islanders rallied from two goals down to beat the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins. David Krejci scored to give the Bruins the lead 4:25 into the game, but the Isles found the tying goal early in the second. Two goals in the span of a minute by Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille put Boston ahead 3-1, however the Islanders power play did their job. Nielsen scored at 16:30 of the second and Kyle Okposo score with three seconds left in the second period.

Back-to-back goals by John Tavares gave the Islanders the win.

January 2: Blackhawks 2 @ Islanders 3 (OT)

The Islanders blew a two-goal lead, but managed to come away with a win thanks to the heroics of Kyle Okposo. Casey Cizikas and Thomas Vanek scored for the Islanders, before Brent Seabrook scored late in the second period while on the power play. Ben Smith scored 1:50 into the third period to tie the game. It took Okposo just 58 seconds into the overtime period to win the game for the Islanders.

January 5: Hurricanes 3 @ Islanders 2

A bad minute of hockey cost the Islanders their fourth straight win on Saturday. With the game tied at on – thanks to goals by Manny Malhotra and John Tavares – Carolina scored two goals 57 seconds apart from each other. Jordan Staal scored at 13:12 to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 and Brett Sutter scored at 14:09 to make it 3-1. Thomas Vanek scored a power play goal late in the third, but the Islanders could not find the equalizer and fell 3-2.

Three Stars

1. Kyle Okposo – Two goals and three assists in three games.

2. John Tavares – Three goals and three assists in three games.

3. Thomas Vanek – two goals and two assists in three games.

Week Ahead

The Islanders will take on the Dallas Stars (20-14-7) Monday night at Nassau Coliseum. It will be the first of two meetings this season between the two squads. The Islanders then leave for a six game road trip starting on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs (21-17-5). They will then take on the Colorado Avalanche (26-11-4) on Friday at the Pepsi Center. 

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