The New York Islanders took on The Buffalo Sabres at First Niagra Center Saturday night in front of a sell out crowd. On Wednesday, Buffalo fired long time coach Lindy Ruff and hired Ron Rolston for the position. Isles big news occurred on Friday when the team placed G Rick DiPietro on waivers.
DiPietro cleared waivers and will play in Bridgeport for the remainder of the season, in all likelihood. He will get plenty of ice time there, and we will see if he can find his game again. I have nothing against DP, but I fear this will be a tall order. Time will tell.
The Isles opened the game with the successful Tavares-Moulson-Boyes line. David Ullstrom was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game. Hamonic-MacDonald started on D, and Evgeni Nabokov was in goal with Kevin Poulin as his backup.
The Islanders hosted fellow Atlantic Divison rivals, the New Jersey Devils, on Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. The Isles evened up the season series at two-a-piece in another explosive game by John Tavares and the lethal power play unit.
Tavares led the way through this one, scoring his 4th career hat trick and adding an assist to the 5-1 win over New Jersey. Matt Moulson assisted on all three of Tavares’ goals, in addition to scoring one of his own, giving both of them 4-point games. (Photo Credit: T.J. Weber/The Checking Line)
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.
The New York Islanders visited their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers, last night for the first time this season. Despite out shooting the Rangers 28-25, the Isles came up short for their third loss in a row and were defeated 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. (Photo Credit: JR_in_NYC/flickr)
The Sound Tigers would fall behind again with 26 seconds left in the middle period when the Whale scored a power play goal with Nino Niederreiter on the bench serving the teams ‘too many men on the ice’ penalty. John Persson would tie the game in the final period scoring his fifteenth of the season on Bridgeport’s second and final power play opportunity of the night, setting the stage for Sean Backman’s late game heroics.
Backman’s game has improved noticeably over the last month or so. In the past his time was spent between the hashmarks waiting for an outlet pass and avoiding the dirty areas of the ice, but no longer.
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 New York Islanders were looking to continue their winning ways against the New Jersey Devils today in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee but came up short, surrendering three late goals in the third period for a final score of 3-0.
Special teams would be a key factor in this game, as the Islanders had a handful of power play chances in the first period that they were unable to connect on. In the end, a charging penalty on Isles defenseman, Brian Strait would ultimately lead to all three goals scored by the Devils. Steven Bernier received a bouncing puck off an Adam Henrique shot and was easily able to roof it over a sprawled Evgeni Nabokov, who had 24 saves on the night. Adam Greene had the secondary assist.
Just over a minute later, Bernier would strike again, this time at even-strength with the assists coming from Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta.
David Clarkson would add an empty netter, which also gave Greene another helper for the night.
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.