Over the past few years the New York Islanders may have found consistency on the top line due largely in part to the chemistry between John Tavares and Matt Moulson. But the same cannot be said for much of the depth on offense.
That is until Casey Cizikas began centering Matt Martin and Colin McDonald.
The trio have been playing together as a fourth line, or as head coach Jack Capuano has liked calling them, "the energy line."
It took a dramatic finish, but the New York Islanders finally won a game on home ice during a Sunday matinee game, defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in the shootout.
The Islanders got on the board early in the game when Brad Boyes scored his fifth of the year, beating Robin Lehner glove side under the crossbar. The play started when Matt Moulson received a pass from Mark Streit at the Senators blue line and fed Boyes the puck as he was flying up the slot.
Not long after Boyes' goal, Matt Martin was found banging bodies all over the ice. In fact Martin had 6 hits in just over 3 minutes of play during the first period. Senators enforcer Chris Neil took exception to Martin's physical play and challenged him to a fight, but Martin ignored his request and continued to take out Senators along the wall.
He finished with 11 hits on the night. Coming into the game, Martin was just one shy of tying Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott for the league lead of 94 hits.
The Islanders begin a 7 game home stand tonight when Carolina storms into the Nassau Coliseum. New York has found a way to get back to winning ways and packing their bags may have been the medicine for their losing ways.
Fans have been frustrated with the fact that the team has not played well at home this year. Their league worst 2-6-0 record at home supports the notion that they are simply not playing up to par in front of the home fans.
For whatever reason, the Islanders have played much better on the road and even in losing efforts they just come across as a stronger team. They are truly fortunate that they have found ways to beat great teams in their own buildings marking down a 6-3-1 record away from Long Island.
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 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 Isles are currently 2-1-1 on this trip after Tuesday night's destruction of the Pittsburgh Penguins. As always, the Islanders are led by their star John Tavares who has two goals and six assists for eight points in the season's first eight games.
Looking to rebound from two consecutive road losses to the Bruins and the Jets, the Islanders came into Pittsburgh on Tuesday night to break the streak. The Isles, who haven't had much luck in the Steel City, had been defeated in 13 of their last 14 games in Pittsburgh. (Photo Credit: AxsDeny/Flickr)
Early in the first period, the Penguins went to the power play twice where they were incredibly ineffective. The Islanders penalty killers held the Pens out of their zone and off the scoreboard.
With under five minutes left in the opening period, the Isles put up their first of the night.
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.