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Defensively challenged Isles host Winnipeg tonight

Nov 27, 2013, 11:44 AM EDT

Brayden Schenn, Radek Martinek, Kevin Poulin, Josh Bailey AP

The New York Islanders are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games, and it’s not hard to figure why. With 38 goals surrendered during that stretch, their goals-against average has crept up to 3.33, third highest in the NHL.

Blame for all those goals allowed has been parceled out differently depending who you ask. Some look to the goaltending of Kevin Poulin, the inexperienced 23-year-old who was forced into regular starting duties after veteran Evgeni Nabokov went on injured reserve. (Before he was hurt, Nabokov wasn’t exactly rock solid, and as an extension general manager Garth Snow has been blamed for not addressing the most important position in hockey.)

Others don’t so much blame Poulin, who was actually playing quite well earlier this month. They blame the Isles’ defense for breaking down, running around and/or failing to clear rebounds after the first save is made.

Here’s an example from Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Philadelphia that contains all three of the above elements:

Whoever’s to blame — we can’t forget head coach Jack Capuano, who’s received his share of criticism — the losing the needs to stop. Last place in the Metropolitan Division, the Isles (8-13-3) have fallen five points back of the third-place Rangers in the division and nine points back of the second wild card spot in the conference. Only the Buffalo Sabres have fewer regulation/overtime wins (2) than the Isles (5).

New York hosts Winnipeg tonight in the first of a three-game home stand that also includes Detroit (Friday) and Washington (Saturday).

  1. dsonashville28 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    If they haven’t put in a waiver claim for Rostislav Klesla, they’re not trying to win. *Islander fan getting fed up here*

    • bcisleman - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      Thought about that. They may still do so, but Klesla has had injury issues.

  2. arrooo - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:29 PM


  3. vgraziano - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    0-2-2 in their last four Thanksgiving Eve games and if I recall most of them have been at home to the Pens-let’s hope we can fare better against Winnipeg…

  4. islesjb - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    This season is turning into a massive disappointment

  5. bcisleman - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Isles are a diferent team w/o Lubo and Straiter. Their av GPG through EDM (last game both played in) was 2.2. Since then nearly 4.

  6. mattymarts17 - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    This is asinine… I honestly don’t think Poulin has played all that bad, the defense is atrocious, the forwards don’t hustle back to help, Hamonic has been a shell of himself (a very, very soft shell) and Capuano seems to have lost this team. Honestly I think a coaching change needs to be made,and not Weight either. This team has rebuilt long enough, we have offensive talent good enough to drag a decent defense but not a defense THIS terrible. Every post game I feel like Cap says the team played “good” really? They have won 2 games out of the last 10 “good” is far from the truth.

  7. pftfan - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    the Isles are a team built with three NHL-caliber defensemen (Hamonic, MacDonald, Visnovsky) and five waiver-wire/organizational depth defensemen (Martinek, Strait, Carkner, Hickey).

    The two rookies they’ve called up (Donovan and Ness) aren’t exactly ready for the big leagues either.

    This is all on the GM. He lost the team’s best defensemen in the offseason and placed to much faith in his dumpster diving approach to personnel. Once Visnovsky went down, they were basically down to one NHL-caliber pairing each night!

    Hence, 8 losses in their last 10 games.

    • mattymarts17 - Nov 27, 2013 at 6:54 PM

      I think Ness has been serviceable considering he’s been paired with mostly Carkner or Martinek… Both guys who should not be dressing regularly. Why didn’t they claim Klesla?!

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