Sooooo, that didn't work out the way coach planned.
No, it wasn't Dubie's fault the Isles lost, 4-1, to the Rangers Thursday night at the Coliseum. Blame an absolutely pathetic power play and a defense that had more holes than Roger Clemens' Congressional testimony.
Give credit to the Islanders for making a game of it with a strong second period, but let's face it, a couple of inches here or there and it's 4-0 at the end of one, not 2-0.
Did benching Rick DiPietro take "a lot of guts" as Greg Logan writes in Newsday? Perhaps. But D.P. was ready to go against the Rangers and didn't absolutely have to have another day off to be ready for the stretch drive. He was geared up for the Rangers at home and the team has a better chance of winning when he's in there.
Now, the stretch drive is that much tougher with only 13 games remaining, and maybe the move to start Dubie had an effect in the locker room. Who knows? The Islanders came out firing in the first few minutes and hit all game long, but broke down too often and showed nothing on the power play.
And ultimately that will do this team in. The league is geared to reward special teams and the Islanders' power play is as pedestrian as they come. Bill Jaffe said on the telecast that the Isles need to shoot more on the PP. But the real problem is that they have no offensive playmakers and so there is no creativity. Defenses know this and simply pressure the puck constantly. A good power play will tic-tac-toe an overly aggressive PK to death, but since the Isles can't do that, the shots they do get off are of the low-percentage variety.
We've said from the beginning that no one on the Isles' offense scares you, and while they can win when they're all playing well within Nolan's system, that will only take them so far.