New York Islanders: Defense Is Their Problem, Not Goaltending

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IMarch 14, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 13: Alex Ovechkin #8 and the Washington Capitals celebrate a goal against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 13, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Capitals defeated the Islanders 5-4 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Over the past few games, the Islanders have lost repeatedly not because of offense or goaltending, but because of defensive miscues.

Many would be quick to blame Evgeni Nabokov, the goaltender. It's understandable because the goalie usually makes a good scapegoat, but it's not his fault.

In the last game with the Capitals, the Isles defense somehow blew a 4-1 lead. Only one of the goals was on Nabby's tab.

For the first of Alex Ovechkin's goals, the Isles allowed him to gain easy access to the crease where he stuffed a rebound past Nabby. There was nobody on him at all.

For Orlov's goal, the Islanders defense very sloppily let Orlov slip into the slot uncovered for an ridiculously easy shot on goal.

And the game tying goal was as bad as any defense could get. The Islanders allowed Ovechkin not one, not two, but three shots. Nabokov made two great saves.

One on the initial shot, one on the rebound, but Ovechkin was there to jam it in right in front of the net.

If the Islanders want to find any success at all next year, they need to start cleaning up these defensive miscues. Steve Staios, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas were all on for two of the Capitals goals.

In the game against the Rangers, the Isles defense allowed Brad Richards to march past them on the power play. They also allowed another goal via deflection because of a failure to clear the crease.

No goalie could probably stop most of these goals because of the Isles lack of defense.

If the Islanders want to become Stanley Cup contenders in the next few seasons, the first step of action is playing fundamental defense.