Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Isles on verge of falling out?

While the first place Rangers were being handled by Carolina 4-0 over on Broadway, the Islanders were dropping another game; this time at home to the Bruins 3-1. It was their third consecutive defeat.

Over that span, they've been outscored 11-3 bringing to mind the scoring epidemic that's stricken Ted Nolan's club. While they're still sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 13-11-1 record good for 27 points, lack of offense has become a problem.

Team scoring leader Mike Comrie (8-12-20) has just two points in his last seven games and is now tied with slumping winger Trent Hunter (4-6-10) for a club worst minus-10.

After a promising start, Ruslan Fedotenko has gone in the tank. The former 2004 Bolts' playoff hero hasn't lit the lamp in eight straight and has only two helpers over that span. That just won't cut it and explains why Tampa let him go.

Most discouraging has been the lack of production from team captain Bill Guerin. After a promising beginning, the 37 year-old veteran power forward hasn't registered a point in the last 14 spanning over a month since he tallied a deciding marker in a rare win over Tampa Bay.

With just five goals and six assists for 11 points, Guerin is hurting his team big time. He hasn't been the same since missing a couple of games due to injury. But still, it's been a while now since he's returned. It's time for the emotional Isles' leader to step up.

Meanwhile, Miroslav Satan continues to be streaky. The Slovak has good stretches and then suddenly disappears. Would it kill the ex-Sabre to be more consistent and show up on a nightly basis?

Veteran pivot Mike Sillinger (4-5-9) has slumped badly after a nice first season on Long Island.

About the only player who's exceeded expectations up front is Josef Vasicek. He centers the Isles' second line and has a team best nine goals including two shorthanded plus three assists and a respectable plus-four rating. The former Hurricane has never been known as a big finisher and needs just one more goal to match his output for the past couple of seasons with Carolina and Nashville.

His career best in goals came back in 2003-04 when he tallied 19 while also registering a career high 26 helpers and 45 points for the Canes during his fourth season.

The Fishsticks will continue to need that kind of production from the 27 year-old Czech.

But if they're to hang around in the division and postseason race, they'll need some of those other slumping players to rediscover their scoring touch.

Rick DiPietro can't do it alone. He needs help.

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