It didn’t take long for backup goalie Michal Neuvirth to show his true worth between the pipes after being acquired on trade deadline day by Garth Snow.
Michal Neuvirth will be the first to tell you that his New York Islanders debut is one to put behind him.
Three goals on 18 shots is simply not good. The Islanders dropped the game to the flu ridden Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout loss. Still, it was another well-earned point that had the Islanders for the third time in this four-game road trip score late in the third.
"With that said there was an obvious jazzy feel with the team as Neuvirth played behind them."
The Islanders were confident through the ranks with their new backup. When Chad Johnson played it felt as if they were looking over their shoulder worrying that any risky and aggressive play would end up on the scoreboard.
Last night the players stayed the course. It was a sloppy game by both sides but the Islanders did not let up off the pedal which emanated confidence in their new teammate (Neuvirth).
Since the first month when Johnson peaked the Isles have struggled in front of their backup keeper. It was painful to watch the team when Johnson would start witnessing them not play their game.
They were inconsistent and unable to be aggressive with the puck changing their game. It was never brought up as we have learned the Islanders win and lose as a team.
Garth Snow did the finger-pointing for his players by dealing Johnson for Neuvirth at the trade deadline.
Last night’s debut for the new Islander was a tough one for a goaltender who is used to seeing thirty plus shots a game yielded by his previous team, the Buffalo Sabres.
It was a considerable challenge for the young netminder trying to keep his focus playing behind a team that is heavy on puck possession and fires at will at their opposition. Neuvirth is going to have to make the big saves when it is called upon him, if he sees seven or 17 shots he needs to stop the puck.
Jaroslav Halak will have to guide his new partner in a unique mindset, when the bell rings be there to answer it. Halak has become a professor in stepping up when it is time. The Islanders have had a habit of falling a sleep around the second period, Halak has been there until his team snaps out of their siesta.
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Michal Neuvirth will adjust, he is more than just an upgrade from what the Islanders have had this season when Halak was rested.
There is without a doubt a ton more at stake coming from a team that is looking to get the first pick in next seasons draft to a team that is putting together a run for the cup. The Islanders looked to have responded well with Neuvirth behind them, now let’s hope he can do what he was brought here for.
The Islanders are off to Toronto Monday and host the Rangers Tuesday. There’s a good chance we will see Neuvirth in Toronto and Halak go against the Rangers.
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