The Isles are back in action tonight, facing the Boston Bruins. Here are three factors to monitor when the game gets underway.
Lighting the Lamp
Boston has been able to save a little on their electricity bills this season, considering visiting teams have been unable to turn on the goal light too often. The Bruins are the NHL’s top defensive team, combining some stellar goaltending from Tim Thomas with a top-notch blue line and a neutral-zone clogging trap. The Islanders are the second-lowest scoring team in the league, which means the Isles’ defense will need to be far stingier than their 3.24 goals-against average Thursday night.
John Tavares has been held without a point in the past two games. By far the post talented player the Islanders have, New York needs him to be more productive ... but how? Every game he usually faces the opposition’s top checking line and defensive pairing. Considering he doesn’t have much help, it’s been tough for him to get going, but it’s doubtful his help is going to get any better this season. JT is going to have to do it himself.
Given the Islanders’ propensity to sit back under new coach Jack Capuano, this could be a really slow game decided by one or two key neutral zone turnovers. The Isles have reeled in their forecheck under the new coach and Claude Julien’s B’s have always hovered in the neutral zone, waiting to snatch up an errant pass and speed back on an odd-man rush. New York will have to take extra-good care of the puck through center ice tonight.