The New York Islanders took on The Buffalo Sabres at First Niagra Center Saturday night in front of a sell out crowd. On Wednesday, Buffalo fired long time coach Lindy Ruff and hired Ron Rolston for the position. Isles big news occurred on Friday when the team placed G Rick DiPietro on waivers.
DiPietro cleared waivers and will play in Bridgeport for the remainder of the season, in all likelihood. He will get plenty of ice time there, and we will see if he can find his game again. I have nothing against DP, but I fear this will be a tall order. Time will tell.
The Isles opened the game with the successful Tavares-Moulson-Boyes line. David Ullstrom was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game. Hamonic-MacDonald started on D, and Evgeni Nabokov was in goal with Kevin Poulin as his backup.
The Islanders hosted fellow Atlantic Divison rivals, the New Jersey Devils, on Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. The Isles evened up the season series at two-a-piece in another explosive game by John Tavares and the lethal power play unit.
Tavares led the way through this one, scoring his 4th career hat trick and adding an assist to the 5-1 win over New Jersey. Matt Moulson assisted on all three of Tavares’ goals, in addition to scoring one of his own, giving both of them 4-point games. (Photo Credit: T.J. Weber/The Checking Line)
The Islanders are just slightly past the quarter mark of the season after playing their 13th game of the year last night against the New York Rangers. They skated to a 4-3 shootout victory to give them a 5-7-1 record.
With 11 points, the Islanders sit 12th in the Eastern Conference; four points out of the eighth placed Rangers and last in the Atlantic Division (Photo Credit: theseoduke/Flickr).
Five of the Islanders top-six forwards have been producing from the start of the year. John Tavares has 16 points in 13 games, trailed by Matt Moulson with 13 and Brad Boyes with 10. Frans Nielsen has quietly put up nine points in the games that have been played, while Michael Grabner has seven.
The New York Islanders went into tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with the hopes of ending a four-game losing streak before heading back to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night for their Valentine's Day re-match with the New York Rangers. Despite ending their scoreless power play streak, the Islanders would add another tally to the loss column with a 6-4 defeat on home ice.
Frans Nielsen opened the scoring with a power play goal just 2:48 into the hockey game with assists coming from Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic. But former Islanders Tim Wallace would tie the game a little over mid-way through the first period, sending both teams to their respective locker rooms in a draw.
The middle frame would prove to be a wild one. John Tavares scored the Isles second power play goal after jumping on a rebound in front. Matt Moulson and Lubomir Visnovsky earned the helpers. But Canes forward Jeff Skinner would knot it up at two less than 30 seconds later with a snap shot in the high slot that Rick DiPietro never saw.
Kyle Okposo spent a considerable amount of time on the Isles top unit last season alongside of John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Despite a very slow start that saw him sit in the press-box as a healthy scratch for multiple games, Okposo managed to reach the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career with a total of 24 on the year (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flickr).
Okposo started this season with the same line-mates mentioned above but only scored three points in eight games and appeared to be struggling to keep up with his offensive counterparts. So last night head coach Jack Capuano shifted him back to the second line with Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner, two players that found chemistry with Okposo for the majority of last year.
The Islanders will play their third home game of the season later today against the New Jersey Devils. After a 5-game road trip, the Isles secured 7 out of 10 possible points, leaving them tied with the Devils for 2nd place in the Atlantic. (Photo Credit: Thomas Weber/The Checking Line)
These two teams last met on Thursday, where the Islanders put on a spectacular special teams showcase. The Isles killed all five New Jersey power-plays and went 3 for 4 on their own man advantage, winning the game 5-4 thanks to a Brad Boyes overtime goal.
With seven games in the books, Islander fans are left feeling oddly confident and pleasantly surprised with the team's success to begin their season. With a tough road trip that traveled through the cities of Toronto, Boston, Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, the Islanders return home accomplishing what they had intended to do.
One of the most refreshing commentary about this team is that they are in every game. Yes, it is still early but they have not looked over matched and they had opportunities to win every game they've played in this year.
It's early. The season is only four games old for the New York Islanders, who have come out of the gate with a 2-2-0 record. And although he has four assists on the year, it hasn't been John Tavares who has been scoring the majority of the goals (Photo Credit: MR_53/Flickr).
Keith Aucoin, who is tied for first on the team in goals with Michael Grabner, is slowly emerging as this year's key pick up by GM Garth Snow.
Grabner is expected to be on the score sheet after scoring 20-plus goals over his first two years with the Islanders. But Aucoin has only played 106 NHL games and only had the first two-goal game of his career last night against the Boston Bruins.