Postgame 4/13/14: Islanders defeat Sabres 4-3 in Shootout to Conclude Regular Season

The Islanders concluded their 2013-2014 season on Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres and for the second consecutive game it was a victory in the shootout.

For the season finale the goaltending matchup features Anders Nilsson for the Islanders and Connor Knapp for the Sabres. The Islanders trailed during the early portion of the game and then saw a change of events in the 3rd period. They first trailed 2-0, Anders Lee cut the lead back to a goal and Lee later tied the game early in the 3rd. The Sabres jumped back on top 3-2 until late in the period Brock Nelson tied the game at 3 to send the game to overtime. After a 5 minute overtime period of scoreless play, the game went into the shootout and it was Nelson again who completed the comeback with a shootout goal.

For the 2013-2014 regular season, the Islanders finished with a 34-37-11 record for 79 points and a last place finish in the Metropolitan Division. They finished with a winning record on the road but 6 games under .500 at Nassau Coliseum. Down the stretch the team played well but as it has all been set and done, the early inconsistent play in November and December really hurt the team’s chances of having an even bigger season. John Tavares was missed down the stretch but the team reports his recovery is going well and will be ready for training camp in September.

Going forward, a decision will be made soon by GM Garth Snow involving the draft and which 1st Round pick to give the Sabres to complete the Thomas Vanek trade from October whether it’s for this year or next year. It was reported that they will send the 2015 choice to the Sabres but nothing has been confirmed. With recent reports of Charles Wang looking to sell the Islanders the questions begin on the futures of Snow and head coach Jack Capuano. There is no time table for the team to be sold and if Wang will sell so for the time being who will be in charged with the draft and free agency? Wang has been loyal to his GM but will a coaching change be made for this group to get back to playoff form.

Strong play down the stretch is what Jack Capuano can make the case for to stay but will that go over this time around with Brooklyn also a year away.Right now the Islanders need to go back and evaluate this group and see what direction to go in this summer with some key needs. As the draft free agency approach we will report on Islanders targets among other things during the summer.Next season will be a special one for the Islanders, their last on Long Island and at Nassau Coliseum before the move to Brooklyn. It will be a season to remember that will hopefully continue with one last playoff appearance on Coliseum ice.

On behalf of myself, our Editor in Chief Rob McGowan, and the rest of our writers we thank you for following our reports this season and we hope you continue to do so in the offseason and in the years to come. For me it has been a great first year at The Checking Line and I look forward to continue reporting with this group and on the Islanders during the offseason and next year.

-John Santamaria

Follow me @JSantamariaNY and follow us @TCLIsles