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 Pittsburgh Penguins skate into the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum seemingly much more awake than the last time the Islanders ran into them. The Penguins will look to continue their hot streak and put the 4-1 domination by the Islanders behind him.
In case you haven’t followed where Pittsburgh has been since they were outplayed at home, they have strung off 3 straight wins in dominating fashion outscoring their opponents 14-4 over 3 games. Sitting at 6-3-0, they look to add to their slight Atlantic Division lead.
Meanwhile the Isles battled tooth and nail with a gritty Devils team. The Islanders feel victimized by a call that quickly turned a 0-0 draw late into the third period into a 3-0 Devils win.
Whether or not Brian Strait should have been sitting in the penalty box when the Devils rallied for the win is irrelevant. The score on Sunday was misleading and they continued their strong play all day.
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.
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.