So, the 2009-2010 season comes to an end for the New York Islanders. Overall, a 34-37-11 record with 79 total points and a spot in the draft lottery tomorrow. A 7 to 1 thrashing by the Devils at the Rock started the weekend, and then a 6-5 loss in overtime to the Penguins at home yesterday concluded the season. Ironically, as seemed to have typified the season, the Islanders trailed the Penguins 5-2 in the third, but fought there way back to tie the game on a John Tavares deflection of a Freddy Meyer shot. However, just like the playoffs, so close, yet so far away was the final result in overtime.
Nevertheless, a 30 goal season for Matt Moulson, who virtually came out of nowhere, a 54 point rookie season and 24 goals for John Tavares, 52 points for Kyle Okposo, and the vast improvements of Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey were all major positive signs for this team. This on top of the great play of what became a patchwork defense and the solid goaltending from Dwaine Roloson and Marty Biron. No, as far as I am concerned, this team showed so many good things, and despite missing the playoffs, it is clear that the “rebuild” is ahead of schedule. I see this all as far more than a simple “silver lining” in the clouds of another season absent of the playoffs. A 17 point improvement in the standings compared to last year, 8 more wins, and more goals scored, are all positive steps forward. In fact, the Islanders scored the same 222 team goal total as the New York Rangers, and their scoring was not comprised of one guy being involved in about 40 percent of their overall scoring.
And now, we move onto the playoffs. The Rangers missed their shot by losing to the Flyers in a shoot out to finalize the 1 through 8 spots in the Eastern Conference. There are going to be some interesting match ups as well, with the Buffalo and Boston series and the Flyers and Devils being quite intriguing to me. I think Montreal might be a bit of a challenge to the Caps, and the Penguins are not necessarily going to skate easily by the Senators in their first round meeting.
In the west, San Jose is going to have to make a showing and get passed Colorado, while Phoenix is going to have their work cut out for them in facing Detroit. Vancouver and Los Angeles should be quite interesting, and we’ll see if Chicago’s goaltending can stand up against the Predators of Nashville. It all starts on Wednesday night, folks.
Congratulations to all of our fellow bloggers whose teams are a part of the 16 in the playoffs. Unfortunately, there can be only one in the end, and I look forward to a great NHL Stanley Cup run.