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.
After having an incredible first half of the season, the New York Islanders find themselves in a somewhat unfamiliar position. The Isles are losers of four of their past five, and barely scraped away with a shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
Tonight the Isles will face the Buffalo Sabres, a team that is dwelling at the very bottom of the NHL standings and is also 2-8-0 in their last ten games played.
By all standards, this is a game that the Islanders should absolutely win. However, the Isles need to make sure history does not repeat itself.
Jaroslav Halak is a clear cut NHL all-star. If you tuned into the NHL All-Star weekend, you would have noticed that John Tavares (arguably the MVP of the game last night despite the hometown guy taking the honors) was not the only Islanders player representing the blue and orange.
Halak has gone 25-9-0 this year in 34 games played this season to go along with a 2.41 GAA and .910 save percentage. Halak’s numbers are excellent, and he has been nothing short of spectacular for the New York Islanders this season.
Chad Johnson, who was supposed to be Halak’s co-star between the pipes, has appeared more like a stunt double; he’s only played when Halak’s needed a rest and has dealt with some ugly situations.
The Islanders have already surpassed the midway point of the season, embarking on the second half of a year that is marking the end of an era for this organization.
There are currently 40 games remaining of the regular season, leaving only 24 games left to be played at the only building they have called home for the past 43 years; Nassau Coliseum.
With the off-season moves that GM Garth Snow made this summer, many predicted that the last year at the Madhouse on the Meadowbrook would be a memorable one. But it’s doubtful that many Islanders fans and hockey pundits expected the Islanders to be sitting atop the Metropolitan Division as they prepare to face their biggest rivals tonight, the New York Rangers.