Goals win hockey games; there is no question about it. But in order for the Islanders to defeat the Washington Capitals in their opening round of the playoffs, goaltender Jaroslav Halak will have to be playing at the All-Star level he was at back in February.
Halak has gone 38-17-4 on the year with a 2.43 GAA and .914 save percentage. These are all respectable numbers, especially the 38 wins, which are the most by any Islanders goaltender in team history.
But the team only went 6-8-5 over their last 20 games of the regular season. This is not to say that Halak is at fault, but many feel that he was not playing at the elite level that he was at prior to the All-Star break.
Moving isn’t easy. There are a lot of things that need to be packed away when transitioning from one home to another. There are many, many things actually, especially if it’s a home that you spent several years in.
You have your clothing, furniture, pictures and little personal belongings, but there are several memories that cannot be packed away into a box and reopened somewhere new. You may have a few pictures of these memories, and although pictures can help ease the bittersweet hardship of leaving a place you called home, you are still leaving a part of you behind.
I can’t say that I’ve called Nassau Coliseum my home for 43 years. As a 27-year old blogger, I can only say that I truly appreciated that building for 13 years.
The New York Islanders defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Saturday night for their second to last home game of the regular season at Nassau Coliseum. In honor of the fact that the Islanders will soon be leaving Nassau County for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the franchise dedicated this evening’s game to a few select players that have played major roles for this team over the past four decades.
Such players included Ed Westfall, Gary Howatt, Bobby Nystrom, Butch Goring, Ken Morrow, Pierre Turgeon, Steve Webb, Eric Cairns and Shawn Bates.
Each player was honored with a video tribute highlighting their contributions to the franchise during their respective decades.
Blowing a two goal lead in the third period of a hockey game is never acceptable by the standards of most coaches and players, but to let it happen when you are looking to solidify a playoff spot is downright atrocious.
And that’s what the New York Islanders did last night.
With all due respect to the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that has now won eight games in a row, they are not a contending playoff team. They currently sit fifth in the Metropolitan Division, 15 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (and the Pens sit in one of the Eastern Conference wild card spots, only one point away from knocking the Islanders out of the top three in the Metropolitan Division).
This was a game that they needed to win and should have won – and they were well on their way until they blew it; a common theme for the Islanders over the past several weeks.
With less than three weeks left in the regular season, the Islanders have positioned themselves nicely for a top-three finish in the Metropolitan Division. Their 92 points (44-25-4) is currently good for second, two point ahead of Pittsburgh and four points clear of Washington and a wild card spot. Yes, it will be disappointing not to win the division after being atop it for so long, but the goal right now should be a top three-finish, and just as important, home-ice in the first round of the playoffs.
The New York Islanders will have a welcomed face back in the line-up tonight as Kyle Okposo is set to return as they take on the New York Rangers for the last time at Nassau Coliseum tonight.
This will also be the last time that these two teams will meet, barring a match-up in this year’s playoffs.
Okposo has missed the last six weeks of the season due a detached retina that required immediate surgery. According to Newsday, the surgery was so serious that he was unsure of whether or not his vision would have officially been restored to his eye.
The New York Islanders weren’t anticipated by many to be busy today during the NHL’s annual trade deadline. But to the contrary, Garth Snow’s phone was ringing plenty today as the Islanders GM made a handful of moves.
The Jack Adams award is given out each year to the coach who is judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success in the National Hockey League. If you were to ask Isles fans about Jack Capuano’s name being thrown into the list of candidates for the award a year ago, you would have received plenty of laughs.
Despite being the next winningest coach for the Islanders after Al Arbour, Capuano had drawn the ire of the Islanders faithful for his inability to provide Nassau Coliseum ice with a winning hockey team after making the playoffs the year before.
But considering the success of the Islanders this season, it would be inconsiderate of the league to not take a look at Capuano when deciding who should be nominated for the award.
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.
The trade deadline is less than three weeks away and for what is a rare occurrence in recent years, the Islanders are in a position to potentially “buy” and not “sell” before March 2nd. While the rumor mill is heating up around the league, it is time to re-assess what the Islanders should do leading up to the deadline as they prepare for a playoff run.