Goals win hockey games; there is no question about it. But in order for the Islanders to defeat the Washington Capitals in their opening round of the playoffs, goaltender Jaroslav Halak will have to be playing at the All-Star level he was at back in February.
Halak has gone 38-17-4 on the year with a 2.43 GAA and .914 save percentage. These are all respectable numbers, especially the 38 wins, which are the most by any Islanders goaltender in team history.
But the team only went 6-8-5 over their last 20 games of the regular season. This is not to say that Halak is at fault, but many feel that he was not playing at the elite level that he was at prior to the All-Star break.
The Jack Adams award is given out each year to the coach who is judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success in the National Hockey League. If you were to ask Isles fans about Jack Capuano’s name being thrown into the list of candidates for the award a year ago, you would have received plenty of laughs.
Despite being the next winningest coach for the Islanders after Al Arbour, Capuano had drawn the ire of the Islanders faithful for his inability to provide Nassau Coliseum ice with a winning hockey team after making the playoffs the year before.
But considering the success of the Islanders this season, it would be inconsiderate of the league to not take a look at Capuano when deciding who should be nominated for the award.
The New York Islanders played host to their former coach Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators, who are currently sporting the best record in the National Hockey League. But the Islanders would prevail as the best team on the ice, battling their way to a 5-2 win at Nassau Coliseum.
After having an incredible first half of the season, the New York Islanders find themselves in a somewhat unfamiliar position. The Isles are losers of four of their past five, and barely scraped away with a shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
Tonight the Isles will face the Buffalo Sabres, a team that is dwelling at the very bottom of the NHL standings and is also 2-8-0 in their last ten games played.
By all standards, this is a game that the Islanders should absolutely win. However, the Isles need to make sure history does not repeat itself.
Last night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers is not one where the Islanders could skate away believing that they played their best despite an unwanted outcome. Defensive breakdowns, a few bad goals let up by Jaroslav Halak, and an inability to capitalize on scoring chances led to their 5-2 defeat.
But there is one major positive that can be taken away from a 5-2 loss on the road to a team that has had a horrible start to the season.
The Islanders are on a losing streak to start off the month of November and every Islanders fan is clutching their forehead in a panicked frenzy expecting this team to drop to last place in the Eastern Conference standings overnight.
Two words everyone: calm down.
It cannot be denied that seeing the Islanders drop three games in a row is not a good thing. Nor is it good to see a team that started 4-0 suddenly hovering one game above .500. But it is a very long season and it is still very early.
And despite their recent struggles, the Islanders currently sit at third place in the Metropolitan Division.
The New York Islanders have ended their 2014 season by finishing 26th in the league, good enough for the fifth overall pick in this year's draft lottery and a 34-37-11 record.
At this time last year, the Isles were 24-17-7, a record that was good enough to place them eighth in the Eastern Conference and allow them to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round playoff series match-up.
Clearly, this was not the direction that the Islanders and their fan-base expected them to travel this year.
The NHL trade deadline is scheduled for March 5th, just a few days shy from officially being one month away. Typically, that would leave for plenty of hockey to be played between now and then, but that isn't the case this year with the Winter Olympics coming up in just a little over a week.
In fact, there are only seven NHL games to be played between now and then.
They currently hold a 21-28-8 record that is good for 50 points and 14th in the Eastern Conference. They are also 10 points away from the eighth placed Philadelphia Flyers.
With the Islanders having lost their last five games in a row, all signs point to this team becoming sellers at the deadline.
The New York Islanders lost 4-3 in overtime last night to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, thus ending their run in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins took the series in six games, winning the last battle on Coliseum ice in front of a sold out crowd of Islanders fans that continued to give their home team a standing ovation despite being eliminated.
"It's exciting to play in a building like this. It's a lot of fun. In my opinion, we're probably the loudest arena in the league now," said Matt Martin after the game.
"The fans were unbelievable through the end of the season there in the last five home games and all through the playoffs. They were a big factor in the way we played at home down the stretch. It makes a huge difference for us. People don't realize it but it gives you a little extra boost, a little extra energy when the crowd goes nuts like that. You definitely want to do something exciting."