The New York Islanders visit the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night as the NHL resumes games after its three day Christmas break. The Islanders will look to improve on its 23-11-0 record, good for second in the Metropolitan Division.
It’s good to root for the New York Islanders now. The team is humming along at 19-7-0, atop the Metropolitan Division, one point off the top of the league. Even the most optimistic of Islander fans could not have predicted this tear the team has been on. It’s been a fun two-month ride to start the season, a feeling that has been absent all too often in recent years.
While people have (rightfully) given large amounts of credit for their success to new-comers like Jaroslav Halak, Nick Leddy, and Johnny Boychuk, is it time to finally give coach Jack Capuano a little love?
Michael Grabner has been activated off the injured reserve and is close to making his debut in the Islanders line-up this season. He was seen this morning practicing with Frans Nielsen and Mikhail Grabovski, although it has yet to be confirmed if this is the line he will be playing with tomorrow night when they visit the Ottawa Senators for the second half of a home-and-home match-up.
Where Grabner would fit has come into question, given that the current line-up has done very well this season (18-7-0).
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 hosted the visiting Dallas Stars tonight at Nassau Coliseum, hoping to take advantage of a team that played on the road last night. They may not be able to say that they did just that, but Frans Nielsen's hat trick helped propel the Islanders to a 7-5 win on home ice.
The first period started with a quick tempo pace from both teams, as they both got plenty of chances early in the game. Chad Johnson was forced to make a sprawling save on a breakaway, and Anders Lindback had plenty of traffic in front for the first twenty.
The traffic in his crease would eventually lead to the first goal by the Isles. Brock Nelson fed the puck to Calvin de Haan at the far side of the Stars’ blue line before letting go of a wrist-shot that was redirected behind Lindback by Anders Lee for his first goal of the year.