Sunday, April 17, 2016

N.Y. Islanders: Flatbush Ave Braces for Brooklyn's First Ever Stanley Cup Playoff

From the desk of:  FIVE FOR FLATBUSH

Series tied 1-1
I - NYI 5; FLA 4
II - FLA 3; NYI 1

Florida Panthers
New York Islanders
Barclays Center

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: A bit of thanks for the team which brought NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs to Brooklyn...

For one season (1941-1942) the old New York Americans moved to Brooklyn.  World War II canceled their second season and essentially caused them to suspended team operations, but not without a promise from the league they'd be allowed reinstatement.  When ownership reapplied in 1946 after the war, the New York Rangers blocked them, thus ending NHL hockey in Brooklyn.

After a 73 year adjournment, the Islanders bring the first ever NHL Stanley Cup playoff game and series to Kings County.

A quest that started back in 1985 after winning four consecutive championships in Uniondale, the Islanders' Drive for Five resumes tonight, only this time along Flatbush Avenue.


If the Islanders want to get by the Panthers, 
they must slow them down!

This is a team that posted back-to-back 100 point seasons.

Don't get me wrong, the Islanders can skate along side Father Time Jaromir Jagr, and his young band of Florida sunshine.  Game Two may have been just one of those things ... after all, they peppered 37-year old Robert Luongo with 42 shots.

The Isles, however, have been playing without their own starting goalie, Jaroslav Halak.  Backup Thomas Greiss has been in net the first two games.  Since Jaroslav last played on March 8, Greiss started 11 of the Isles final 18 games, in which he posted a 4-7 record.  The Isles were outscored in those games 34-29 (including the decisive goal in shoot-outs).  Greiss' worst moment to date may have come on March 25, when the Isles fell to Tampa by a 7-4 margin.  He faced 41 shots that evening, allowing 6 goals.  In the 3rd period, he allowed a pair of even strength goals within 23 seconds of each other, and three goals overall.

After two games in Florida, the Islanders have been outscored by a slim 7-6 margin.  That's too close for comfort, and something the Islanders' forward lines must change - not necessarily Greiss, or any potential return of Halak.

That said, defensive issues have long been a point of contention for Coach Capuano and the Isles.   Look no further than Game One, when five goals barely held up.

John Tavares brought the Islanders to within a goal of Florida at the 16:27 mark of the 3rd in Game Two.  The Isles nevertheless fell short, with the emphasis being Tavares (and his line) can not carry the Islanders by himself - he/they can, but he can't ... not in the playoffs ... and not with this kind of depth.

Quick item - Brock Nelson must continue being a leading scorer for the team.

Otherwise, the Islanders strength is their depth of forward lines, from the first to their fourth units, and their overall physicality.

Lean on that.  Lean on them.  Grind the Panthers down to a crawl.  The Islanders let the Panthers skate around a bit too much in Game Two and paid a price.  Said another way, it's time to make wall paste art out of Panthers jerseys along the side boards of Barclays Center.

That falls on all four lines, but, particularly the fourth.

An early goal and big hits will go a long way towards educating an only somewhat newer Brooklyn fan base in playoff hockey etiquette, and what is expected of them tonight at Barclays Center.

To all you Long Islanders coming into Brooklyn aboard the LIRR, I hope this playoff run makes all your efforts worth while,

.....for as long as it doesn't come at the expense of Tex's Rangers - whom are incorrectly referred to as an Original Six member.  The Americans came first and got screwed.

Just saying...

Stanley Cup Playoffs - Brooklyn is in the house.

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