Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/1/13
Tonight in Ottawa the Islanders played exactly how, generally speaking, you might expect them to. The offense was in mid-season form with five goals, multiple breakaways, a staggering 57 shots on goal and 90 (!) shot attempts. On defense, there were some mistakes and lapses interspersed with goal-creating jumps into the offensive zone and some soft goals let in by the starting netminder. Speaking of Evgeni Nabokov, he allowed four goals on 31 shots, which isn’t particularly bad. But there were certainly a couple of those four that he would like to have back. The second goal he allowed could have been a real wrench in the Isles’ fortunes — credit to them for battling back — but it was a Mike Zibanejad shot that ticked off his glove and into the net, putting Ottawa up 2-0 heading into the first intermission. Ottawa notched two in the final two minutes of a first period the Isles otherwise dominated. The other blatant miscue was a Clark MacArthur wrap around goal in the second that Nabokov simply got beat to the far post on. It’s not really clear if the puck got in but the NHL released a picture of Nabby’s backside to prove a point… Or Something. Regardless, he got beat across the crease. Nabokov’s save percentage now drops to .903 on the year and we already knew Kevin Poulin was probably starting at the Coliseum tomorrow night against Boston. At this point, if Poulin plays well against a tough Bruins team — not guaranteed, of course — he should be getting the next start after that. Moving on, the real story of this game was the Islanders offense and, goodness, how many chances they had to pretty much shoot at will tonight. The Senators didn’t do much to dissuade the Islanders from easily getting through the neutral zone and then retreated multiple times almost to a penalty kill formation in their own zone, 5-on-5. The Islanders have issues with defensive brain cramps and miscues in their own zone, but boy does that pale in comparison to the Senators literally not having a defensive game plan. The Islanders would battle back from two, two-goal deficits in this one. First, they would score twice in a 28-second span in the early second to tie the game 2-2. Thomas Vanek made a super swick backhanded feed to John Tavares for an easy goal.
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