Montoya steps up – Isles shut out Kings


In his first two efforts as a ‘relief’ goaltender, Al Montoya did not appear to be as confident looking as a NHL goaltender should. In additiion, pucks were bouncing off the pads like baseballs off a pitch back. I know that in my section in the Coliseum, there was not a lot of people expecting a lot of the Islanders newest goaltender.

I guess the opinions have changed a little after tonight.

35 saves and a good sixty minute effort later, Montoya would get his 2nd shutout in his brief NHL career (5-1-0 lifetime record). The 26 year old from Chicago, knows that this could be the last chance for him to stick in the NHL.

“I come out here to give this team a chance,” he said to the media after the game. “I don’t want nerves to get the best of me. I left it all on the ice, and that was my mindset coming into the game.

“I take it day-to-day. I am appreciating the chance I am getting. Who knows when the next chance will come, so I just leave it on the ice”, said Montoya.

Montoya, the first star, deserves the nod on Monday against the Panthers, and should be in the net for the forseeable future.

Matt Moulson, the second star of the game, scored twice, and won the family battle, against his Brother-In-Law, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Moulson got two beautiful shots off on Quick, scoring the second and third goals of the night. The first tally was created by the third star, Frans Nielsen, who scored his league leading 5th shorthanded tally of the season. The play started off with a great steal of the puck by Michael Grabner. After a little struggle with a Kings forward with the puck, Nielsen got the puck crossed the blue line, and pushed a wrister past Quick.

“I don’t know why I am scoring so much (short handed)”, said Nielsen. “It is about us being aggressive.”

Grabner, who now has not scored in his last two games, after his eight goal week last week (which earned him NHL player of the week honors), is happy with the way that the team is playing.

“We are having fun!”, said number 40. “It is great to go out there with these guys every night, and it is translating to success.”

Playing this way for the remaining 22 games, and getting two points as many nights as possible will make the run to April quite an interesting one.

Other notes:

This is the first game that the Kings lost in regulation on their 10 game road trip.  This was the ninth game out of 10, and they are 5-1-3 on this trip which concludes in Anaheim.  Grabner led the Isles in shots tonight with 5.  John Tavares got two helpers tonight giving him 51 points this season, three shy of last year’s total of 54.  The Islanders are the ONLY team in the NHL with three players on their team with 23 or more goals.  Ty Wishart replaced Bruno Gervais on the “D” line tonight.  Matt Martin served the last of his four game suspension tonight, and is eligible to return on Monday against the Panthers.