This is the year that the New York Islanders should look to be buyers at the trade deadline.
It is only just eight days away, and the Islanders presently sit with 31 points, just two shy from tying the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot with only 16 games remaining in the regular season.
Typically at this juncture, the Isles are on the verge of collapsing into the final three spots of the Eastern Conference and increasing their chances of winning the draft lottery. Although that is still a frightening scenario that can still play out for Garth Snow's squad, it is time for the Isles GM to make a statement that the rebuild is over.
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.
No, Nassau Coliseum has become "Home defeat home" in 2013.
After New York fell 4-1 to a talented and tough Bruins team, fans are clamoring to have the Islanders finish the remainder of the season on the road.
The Isles continued to look lost and slept walked through another tough home defeat on Tuesday. The team was able to put spurts of decent hockey together but it wasn't enough. The Bruins came in with an impressive record and their daunting presence steam rolled the Islanders from the first whistle.
In front of a raucous, Bruins jersey littered crowd, the Isles continued to search for answers on home ice.
After a promising first period with chances for the Isles, they were able to knot the game on a gritty goal by Casey Cizikas. Unfortunately it all went down hill after the Islanders went into the dressing room for the first intermission.
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.
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.
The second game of the year started off a little differently than most early starts for the Islanders in recent years. These day games usually saw the Islanders sleep walking and getting outworked by their opponents.
Maybe Matt Martin and Joe Finley both knew that the team needed an alarm clock to get the team and the crowd into it. (Photo Credit: Flickr/capwell)
Whatever the reasoning was for dropping the gloves, it worked. The team was inspired. The crowd was loud.
Lost in the fisticuffs to begin the game, Jack Capuano took his spot behind the bench despite undergoing surgery to remove kidney stones just days prior.
The new slimmed Capuano could have helped inspire an energized Islanders' squad.
The Islanders came out swinging and their energy resulted in a much better effort than Saturday's opener vs. New Jersey.
The 2012-13 NHL season commences today, with 13 games in total taking place. More importantly, the New York Islanders will have their fourth consecutive home-opener against last season's Eastern Conference Champions, the New Jersey Devils.
Unfortunately, the Isles haven't won on opening night since 2007. Last October, they gave the new Winnipeg Jets their first win in 2-0 shutout. (Photo Credit: IslesPunkFan/Flickr)