The Islanders are heading into the Big Apple to face their archrivals, the New York Rangers. Coming off back-to-back shootout wins (courtesy of Frans Neilsen and his patented forehand-backhand-top shelf move), the young Isles team is carrying a bit of momentum into the World’s Greatest Arena. They are playing with more confidence and finding ways to win hockey games.
This is a good thing. Because they will need every ounce of momentum, confidence, skill, (and maybe even a little luck) to leave Madison Square Garden with 2 points against the Rangers in tonight’s contest.
The Rangers (with 3 games in hand) are currently tied for 2nd in the Atlantic Division with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they each have managed 42 points so far this season.
The New York Islanders will welcome the Dallas Stars to Nassau Coliseum this evening to conclude the season series between the teams. Dallas, the current Pacific Division leaders, has exhibited some streaky form of late. Their 35 points, however, leave them eleven points better than the struggling Isles, though New York has played one fewer game.
Fresh off of 1-0 shutout of a the New York Rangers, coupled with some recent unsteadiness in the New York crease makes Dallas a significant favorite tonight.
The New York Islanders were in town on Tuesday night, looking to steal two points from the Habs on home-ice. It didn't work out that way, however, and the Canadiens were able to win their second game in a row with help from a few unexpected scorers.
The first period featured a lot of scoring, for a Canadiens game anyway. Things didn't start off all that well as Lars Eller took an interference penalty just 40 seconds in, which put the Habs stellar penalty kill to work right off the bat. They managed to kill the penalty fairly easily, without the Islanders providing much of a threat. The first five minutes di...
Brian Rolston, Jay Pandolfo, Marty Reasoner and Steve Staios were added to this Islanders team during the off-season to provide veteran stability throughout the line-up; Rolston was acquired for cap room and an added offensive punch over Trent Hunter, Pandolfo and Reasoner were brought in for defensive support on the bottom line, and Staios added grit and experience to a relatively young defense crew.
Let's take a look at their numbers to see where they stand...
The Islanders, who are boasting the worst offense in the league with only a dismal 59 goals for (the second worst team is the L.A. Kings with 63), were heavily criticized for one specific thing over the past three months; not scoring enough goals. (Shocking, right?)
After being shutout several times this year, the Isles were becoming a one-trick pony; if the line of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau wasn't scoring, then there wasn't anything to worry about if you were the opposing team. However, the Isles have been on a recent streak after coming away with points in their past six games played.
When the New York Islanders last welcomed the Tampa Bay Lightning to Nassau Coliseum, it took just 36 seconds for them to establish their lead and roll to a 5-1 victory.
On Tuesday night, the Islanders allowed Tampa to score first, but the result would end up exactly the same.
Al Montoya, whose fine play has been carrying the Isles of late (with his 2.17 Goals Against Average and .931 save percentage coming in to the contest) started in goal. The Islanders faced Mathieu Garon in the other end.
Though they fired the first five shots of the game, none got past Garon. When Tampa Bay was able to get their first shot on net, a blast from the stick of Brett Clark near the point, Martin St. Louis redirected it past Montoya for his 800th career NHL point.
With the Islanders searching for ways to improve their hockey club's anemic offense, the organization called upon David Ullstrom from their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Ullstrom had 14 points in 17 games played with the Sound Tigers and was showing that he was ready for a chance to prove himself at the NHL level.
The 6'3 Swedish forward was drafted by the Islanders in the 4th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at 102nd overall. He weighs in at 198 pounds and is a versatile hockey player, possessing the ability to either play center or wing, although he is a natural center-man. He also has great speed and was clocked as the team's fastest rookie skater durin...