On a day highlighted by trade talk, the Islanders escaped on the ice and prevailed in overtime after blowing another 3rd period lead. The Vanek trade is still the number 1 story in Islanders nation, but this was a great way to have some fun while Garth and company look to get a deal done.
The Islanders continued their 6 game road trip on Thursday night visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning and took a well-earned 2-1 shootout victory over the co-leaders of the Atlantic Division. On the current trip the Islanders have now recorded points in 4 of the 5 games.
Many probably did not expect him to be more than just a fourth line forward that only got the call against top heavy opponents like the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, but Eric Boulton has proven to be a rather reliable player (Photo credit: paul.hadsall/Flickr).
Boulton dressed for 15 of last season's 48 games last year and did not register a single point. He had a -4 rating and 36 PIMs to go with it.
This year, Boulton has seen 12 games this year and has two goals, two assists and four points to go along with a +3 rating and 48 PIMs.
It's been repeated dozens of times before: the Islanders defense is not as good as it needs to be, and the goaltending between the pipes is a major area of concern. But what hasn't been acknowledged is that the Isles offense, which has more or less been excused, needs improvement as well (Photo credit: THEFANBLOG/Flickr).
There's no denying that Matt Carkner's play has been less than superb, and that Matt Donovan has continued to make the expected rookie mistakes. Both of these players have led to Travis Hamonic and most notably Andrew MacDonald being forced into accepting more minutes and responsibility that is perhaps too much for this duo to handle on a nightly basis.
Add that Lubomir Visnovsky's veteran leadership has been missing for quite some time now and you have every hockey pundit saying "ya think?!" when asked if the Isles defense may be one of the reasons why they have slid in the standings.
But see if you can answer this: aside from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek (while healthy) and Frans Nielsen, where has the offense come for this team?
After falling behind 2-0 and 3-1, the Islanders came back to tie the game at 3 against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, but Sidney Crosby put in the game deciding goal with less than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd, preventing the Islanders from at least getting one point, which they deserved.
Prior to the Islanders game against the Carolina Hurricanes last night, defenseman Aaron Ness was recalled for some help on the blueline. It could have been for help, or for a bit of a shake up as well which I think is needed for this team at the moment.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the New York Islanders as they head into next season. The biggest one will be whether or not they are capable of making the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The NHL Facebook page recently asked this same question, and many fans were either skeptical, positive or found the idea downright absurd (and these weren't just Rangers fans).
Despite an intense, hard fought playoff series with a very inexperienced roster against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that has been one of the most dominant forces of the league for the past few years, many critics are still not convinced that the New York Islanders are a guaranteed playoff team.