Originally posted on Islanders Hockey Blog  |  Last updated 3/9/12

In what was forecasted to be the single most important 3 games of the month for this team, the Islanders sure didn’t play like it tonight. After a 1-0 shutout victory on Sunday, and a 4 day break in between, the Islanders were completely uninspiring after getting blown out 5-1 by the New Jersey Devils.

Devils dominated play for the large part of the first, and the Islanders were having trouble getting pucks to the net from the very start, with David Ullstrom providing the only real scoring chances for the majority of the period. New Jersey would however gain the lead midway through the first, as a somewhat fortunous bounce from the boards on a one-timer, led to Ilya Kovalchuk to have his own rebound on his stick with an empty net in front of him. 1-0 New Jersey.

The Devils would add to the lead almost right away in the second, as a penalty by Steve Staios put the Islanders on the penalty kill early, and after a bit of cycling Kovalchuk would fire home his second of the game with yet another one-timer this time from the top of the faceoff circle.

The Islanders would get one back though, as time neared the end of the second period. David Ullstrom, one of only 2 Islander to finish with a +1 in tonight’s game, led a rush down the wing, cut to the middle, and took a shot. Andrew MacDonald, who’d joined the rush, went for the rebound behind the net, and what was simply supposed to be a pass to the front of the net became a goal as it hit Martin Brodeur and went in the back of the net. A fortunous goal, but a goal none the less.

And it was so that the Islanders entered the third period with hope, hope that all wasn’t lost and they could still get back into this game, as they were only down by 1. That’s exactly the mindset the Islanders entered the third period with, but not quite how they left it. Entering the Islanders were buzzing for a good five minutes, keeping New Jersey in their own end for the majority of it, and forcing Brodeur to make saves. However, the puck just wouldn’t seem to get through, at least not for the Islanders.

Seven minutes into the third, the Islanders were getting stuck in their zone for one of the first times all period, but New Jersey did what the Islanders couldn’t, capitalize. After the Islanders took a penalty, New Jersey would get the extra skater on the ice, Carter, who along with Elias, drove right to the net as Adam Larsson unleashed a bullet from the point. With traffic in front, Elias would drive home the rebound and give the Devils a 3-1 lead that the Islanders would never find their way back from.

It was all Devils from there, as Kovalchuk would shoot yet another one timer past Nabokov, this time from the slot, and earn himself a hat trick while giving the Devils a 4-1 lead. David Clarkson would later wrap up the scoring at 5-1 on a deflection in front.

The blame could be cast on almost anybody and everybody, but most of all the coach. On a game as important as this one, and with four days off to prepare for it, it’s unacceptable that Capuano didn’t have his team ready to go for this one. Things must change for the Islanders, the only thing is, is it too late?

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