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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.

Islanders Cannot Let Lightning Strike on the Island Tonight

The Islanders return home for a 3 game home stand tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are coming off on a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators last night. The Isles are coming off a 5-4 win over Dallas which may be referred to in the future as the "Moulson Game".

The Lightning have had a struggling season so far. At 11-13-2, the Bolts turn to their leading scorer Steven Stamkos (16 goals, 13 assists, to get them over .500. There is a defenseman the Lightning acquired over the offseason that has been putting points on the board in when he is in the lineup; hold on to your hats here Isles fans, but that player is Bruno Gervais. Gervais has 2 goals, 1 assist in 7 games so far this season for the Bolts and it seems as if he has found his fit in Tampa. 

Litmus Test Time

Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers showed something in their small west coast swing last week. Yes, they came back against the lowly Anaheim Ducks and won. Yes, they started strong and cruised to a win in Phoenix over the Coyotes. Yes, the team took care of business and did what they were supposed to do.

Was it a litmus test? In terms of the ability to win on the road after a long layoff and a plane trip longer than one in-flight movie, it was.

Drawing The Line: Isles Will Move To "Conference D" Next Season

(Photo Credit: cornholeo2552/Flickr)

It wasn't news to anyone that the NHL would be setting up a new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 season. Plenty of speculation went into this idea as to how it would effect the current Eastern and Western Conferences. The Winnipeg Jets, although presently in the East, seemed to be a team that would make much more sense in the West. Rumors began to run that the Detroit Red Wings would move to the Eastern Conference, or even quite possibly the Nashville Predators.

The bigger question, and one that still looms over the hearts of many fans out in the desert, is whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes will still be in any Conference next year. They are currently in what seems to be the final year of their lease agreement after almost being relocated this past summer. There's still a good possibility that they might be relocated in the near future as well, but all of that remains in limbo as the 2012 season moves forward.

However, the NHL and it's Board of Governors could not wait to see what happens in Phoenix and passed a very dramatic change to the current alignment. The Eastern and Western Conferences will ultimately be removed next year; the standard two conferences that consist of 15 teams will become four conferences with either seven or eight teams in each one.

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.

Nabokov's Injury May Increase His Value

Evgeni Nabokov was excellent in the Islanders 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night and earned another start against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, but he would never make it to the end as he left in the first period with a groin injury. Rick DiPietro came in relief for the win with fans left wondering how serious the injury would be to the team's most valuable trading chip. After being re-evaluated, Nabokov has been placed on the IR retroactive to November 17th. 

Groin injuries can be tricky, especially for goaltenders. Although he is a forward, Nino Niederreiter missed near to a month of playing time after suffering a groin injury in the pre-season. ...

Flyers Fall in Overtime; Controversy Awaits?

Wednesday night, the Flyers dropped a 2-1 decision to Tampa Bay in overtime.

But, the game's result wasn't exactly the main issue of the night , instead it was the team's strategy for the first 30 minutes.

Mark Trible explained what happened in the game and what may happen moving forward.

Are The Isles Better Than .500?

Once again the New York Islanders fell to the Florida Panthers last night in a 4-2 loss to end their Florida road trip. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines were held scoreless as John Tavares and Mark Streit did all they could with the support of strong goaltending coming from Evgeni Nabokov in net. For a full recap, read Evan Pivnick's post-game report here at TCL.

The Isles currently sit with a 3-3-0 record, placing them at 10th place in the East and fourth in their division. The New Jersey Devils sit in third with seven points, trailing the second placed Philadelphia Flyers with nine points. The Pittsburgh Penguins sit in first with 14 and the Rangers sit in fifth with six. All indica...

Can the Islanders Catch the Lightning in a Bottle?

Preview:  Islanders (1-1-0, 2 pts, 4th in Atlantic, 11th in East)

The Islanders are coming off of a pair of games in which they have failed to put together 60 good minutes of hockey.  A disappointing performance against the Panthers on Saturday was followed up by one good period and two "hang on for dear life" periods in Monday's matinee against the Wild.  As discussed in Rob McGowan's post here at The Checking Line on Tuesday, New York's young forward unit is having difficulty getting pucks to the net.  Rob also keys in on the Isles' difficulty staying out of the box through 120 minutes of competition.  Against the highly skilled a...

Caps Re-Cap and Report Card 10.9.11

By Scott Lowe

The Washington Capitals opening-night 4-3 overtime victory against Southeast Division-rival Carolina in front of the 107th straight Verizon Center sellout Saturday didn’t lack for thrills. From the Caps’ perspective there was plenty to be excited about – a few standout individual efforts and enough mistakes to remind everyone that there is plenty of work ahead. All in all it was a pretty typical opening-night performance, with the team getting an overall grad of a B-minus for the effort. A further breakdown follows:

Caps Goals: Semin, Chimera, Laich, Green

Caps Assists: Backstrom (2), Carlson, Ward, Alzner, Ovechkin, Wideman

Shots on...