Apr. 13, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders defensemanLubomir Visnovsky
(11) handles the puck against the New York Rangers during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Middletown, N. J. – The Islanders loss last night to the Rangers in overtime does nothing to dampen the spirits and good karma that is surrounding the team right now. Optimism abounds and rightfully so. This team is ready to take the next step. The rebuild is complete, the team on the ice is more than competing on a nightly basis and the youngsters in Bridgeport are almost ready to make an immediate impact as early as next season. Your post game recap can be found here.
There is so much to feel good about right now if you are an Islanders fan. John Tavares is on his way to cementing his status as a top 10 player in the league for a long time. Ryan Strome should make the team next season out of training camp and provide ample secondary firepower allowing Frans Nielsen to slide into a more comfortable third line center checking role. Matt Martin and his consistent enthusiasm and eager physical play allows the team to roll one of the best 4th lines in the league. And we have all witnessed Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey take major steps in their development over the course of this shortened 48 game sprint to the finish line.
On defense, Lubomir Visnovsky liked it so much here he signed a two year contract extension, the team is only 500k apart on agreeing with captain Mark Streit, Thomas Hickey is yet another example of waiver wire gold for general manager Garth Snow and Travis Hamonic could have a ‘C’ stitched on his jersey before long. Andrew MacDonald has persevered this year through some inconsistent play to lead the league in blocked shots.
In goal is where the Islanders find most of their question marks, what with Evgeni Nabokov in the last year of this contract and 37 years of age. Is Kevin Poulin the answer? Mikko Koskinen? What ever happened to Anders Nilsson? These are all questions that the front office will sift through this summer and if the recent past is any indication, they will indeed figure it out and put the team on a path to success. There is no reason to suspect or believe other wise.
No matter what happens the rest of the way, this team NEEDS to make the playoffs. They might succeed and take us on a magic carpet ride, they might not. But at the end of the day, experience is what the end goal is. And with how the standings and final slate of games look to be playing out for the Eastern Conference contenders, playoffs look like a real possibility. Start saving your money now folks.
Lastly, everyone please pay attention closely to this one and make sure you heed its call….Very important…..
Skating Around The Rink
- Washington blew a 5-1 lead against Tampa but still grabbed the two points after winning in overtime 6-5 on Mike Green‘s winner. Alex Ovechkin remained absolutely scorching, tallying his 27th of the season. Over a full 82 games, he would be close to a 60 goal pace.
- Toronto rode a 4 goal first period to hammer the Canadiens 5-1. The unexpected reversal of fortune continues for the Leafs, although I am not 100% sold as of yet. Don’t know why, just a gut feeling. Philadelphia should continue to kick themselves for allowing James Van Riemsdyk to get away.
- Ah look who’s back….The Hurricanes defeated the Bruins 4-2 in Carolina with Jiri Tlusty scoring two goals to up his total to 19 on the year. Bruins still tired maybe? Losing Bergeron could hurt this team more than most realize.
- Here are your top 10 goals of the week…some dandies in here……
Current Eastern Conference Standings
As you can see above, the Isles are in real good shape heading into the stretch. Florida at home Tuesday awaits then a regular season ending 5 game roadtrip. Worried? Don’t be, as the team is 12-5-2 away from Nassau Coliseum. Only 2 teams in the East have more road wins. If the Isles remaining schedule (Florida, Toronto, Winnipeg, Carolina, Philadelphia, Buffalo) bears a 3-2-1 record, the Jets would almost have to run the table at 4-0-2 or 5-1-0 to just tie the Islanders in the standings.
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