The New York Islanders played host to their former coach Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators, who are currently sporting the best record in the National Hockey League. But the Islanders would prevail as the best team on the ice, battling their way to a 5-2 win at Nassau Coliseum.
Despite the recent success of the Islanders, there is still a major hole that needs to be filled within the team’s lineup.
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo have been the undisputed top two forwards on this team for the past year. Currently, Tavares and Okposo are tied for the team lead in points with 24 each in 27 games played. However, the third member of the top line is not even close.
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 New York Islanders begin their 2014-15 season tonight against their Metropolitan Division rival, Carolina Hurricanes, in the first of a back to back home-and-home. Tonight’s contest ends the 6 month slumber for Islander fans and begins the 43rd, and final, season of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. But tonight isn’t about that. Tonight is about the present and the commencement of New York Islanders quest for a 5th Stanley Cup Championship.
The New York Islanders have ended their 2014 season by finishing 26th in the league, good enough for the fifth overall pick in this year's draft lottery and a 34-37-11 record.
At this time last year, the Isles were 24-17-7, a record that was good enough to place them eighth in the Eastern Conference and allow them to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round playoff series match-up.
Clearly, this was not the direction that the Islanders and their fan-base expected them to travel this year.
The Islanders head into Montreal to continue to play out the string of this disappointing season as the Canadiens have everything in the world to play for. Translation, the guys in white could be in for an ugly night.
As another Islander season draws closer to an ending, it’s never too early to start thinking about the future (it’s what we do best on Long Island). Free agency will come and go and big-ticket names will be shuffled around in trades. And the one name hanging out there that appears ripe for the taking, Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, just so happens to make a heck of a lot of sense for the team in Nassau.