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Atlantic Division Holiday Wishes: New York Rangers

In this 5 part series, Brian Bock informs you about the letters to Santa he ‘intercepted’ from each of the teams in the Atlantic Division. First up, the New York Rangers.

Three Out Of Four Ain't Bad- Islanders/Blackhawks Pregame

The New York Islanders haven’t had many important December games recently.

That changes tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Balanced Attack Beats Tampa Bay

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.

Moulson Is Seeing Stars

Matt Moulson scored the first four-goal game of his NHL career Saturday night against the Dallas Stars; it was also the first individual four-goal game of the 2012 season. As a result, the Islanders were able to hold on for a thrilling 5-4 win.

Although the win is what ultimately matters most for the Islanders, who took seven out of eight possibly points on their four-game road trip, Moulson was the recipient of this week's NHL's First Star honors.

Isles Fall To Blackhawks in Shootout 5-4

Friday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks was arguably the most exciting game the Islanders have played in all season. The Islanders came into this game looking for their third straight win but came out with a well deserved point.

The Chicago native Al Montoya was the one chosen by Jack Capuano to start for the Isles. Montoya, playing in his third straight game, made some unbelievable saves throughout the whole matchup. Facing the Islanders was the 26 year old Corey Crawford.

But enough about the goaltenders, let's talk about the offense. It was a real positive to see the Islanders scoring creative goals. Poking at rebounds and capitalizing on special teams. In past games, the Isles have used the dump and chase method, which obviously has not been working. It was great to see players go to the next and try to make a play instead of players just throwing the puck at the net and hoping for the best.

Chicago's penalty kill has not been the best this season and the Islanders definitely capitalized, scoring two goals with the man advantage. But the Blackhawks had their share of capitalizing on special teams as well. Chicago was able to score a powerplay goal and a shorthanded goal against the Isles.

The goalscorers for the Islanders tonight were Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, PA Parenteau, and scoring his first goal of the season was Nino Niederreiter. Focusing on Okposo, it really seems as if he is in his required game shape. He is making plays and hustling much better than he had in the beginning of the season.

The Blackhawks offense never quits either; with goals coming from Andrew Brunette, Ben Smith, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp.

So it came down to a shootout. Jonathan Toews was lone scorer and was able to claim victory over the New York Islanders, 5-4.

If the Islanders can play the way they have played in the last week for the rest of the season, they will be in good shape.

Be sure to follow the Isles' The Checking Line page on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter! (@EvanPivnickNYI)

Chicago pulls out win over the Islanders in a shootout

It was a sloppy win that felt more like a loss.

Last night, Chicago took on the NY Islanders at the United Center and came away with a 5-4 win in a shootout. The game was a mess on both sides of the ice, starting with the Blackhawks' too many men penalty at 2:28 that led to a PPG to open up the scoring, and reflected in the lopsided stats that marked the whole game.

Early in the first, Chicago had a couple good looks at the net and, as has often happened this season, came out strong. But a bad shift change led to that 2MM penalty, and Kyle Okposo put the Islanders on the board first at 4:07. Chicago tied it up at 10:27 with a very pretty pair of passes from Danie...

Montoya Holds Firm In Isles' Road Win

In yet another of a seemingly endless string of low scoring affairs, the Islanders went to Buffalo on Tuesday night and shuffled out of town with a win.

The Islanders, who hadn't won consecutive road affairs since March, were bouyed by the fine (and sometimes downright spectacular) play of Al Montoya.

Montoya, who improved his season's numbers to a 2.07 Goals Against Average and .933 save percentage, has clearly established himself as the best goalie employed on Long Island. For head coach Jack Capuano to even consider starting Rick DiPietro ahead of him at this point is laughable.

It took a power play after a hi-sticking call against Buffalo (you're going to...

Islanders Skate To First Road Win!

The Prudential Center was as loud as it had been the entire night. The New Jersey Devils just tied the game at 3 with 2 seconds remaining in regulation.

Or did they?

 

After a league review in Toronto, it was determined that Zach Parise’s skate directed the puck into the net and the goal was overturned.

 

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Isles Dance With Devils

The New York Islanders play host to the New Jersey Devils this afternoon.  Islanders fans also hope that their team remembers to play hockey – something that has proved to be a difficult task in the last few games.    

On Thanksgiving Eve, the Islanders dropped a heartbreaker to the Flyers in overtime, despite having gained a 3-1 lead.  An unfortunate bounce off the glass led to Danny Briere’s tying goal with 5 minutes to play in the third period. 

The Islanders received a power play opportunity in overtime, but were unable to convert.  The Flyers quickly took advantage of the second chance they were given for the bonus point and ...

Where Have The Isles Gone?

Before I begin to talk about the current state of the New York Islanders, I have to ask where this team that is portrayed in this YouTube clip (courtesy of user bufmemaud) has gone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E5f7dVNMnY&feature=related

"We saw it last year, I saw it. I saw the energy and the desperation in our game last year. The second half, we had the best record in the National Hockey League after the All-Star break. We were physical. We were tough to play against."

-Islanders head coach Jack Capuano after the New York Islanders 6-0 loss Saturday night to the Boston Bruins.

Ask the Boston Bruins and Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh...