Browsing Posts in Islanders

**Pictured Above: Islander Forward, Blake Comeau**

Written By: Alex Lowenthal

What better way to start this final stretch than to beat the 3rd best team in hockey? Tonight the Islanders got off to a bit of a slow start, but thanks to great goaltending mixed with shoddy goaltending from Chicago, they got themselves a gritty victory.
They looked a bit flat early, and were out shot 22-9 in the first period by a Chicago team who had previously won 4 games in a row, and trails only Washington and San Jose in the NHL with 87 points.  In this period, they were out shot, out played, and were only down 2-1 at the break, thanks in large part to veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson (who may not even be an Islander after 3pm tomorrow).
The Islanders were a different team coming out of the locker room in the second period.  Blake Comeau scored his and the teams second goal just 2:27 into the period, knotting the game up at 2 a piece.  25 seconds later Richard Park scored a bit of a soft goal to take the lead 3-2, with Jon Sim’s help parking himself in front of ‘Hawks goalie Antti Niemi.  Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville had seen enough at that point, pulling Niemi and replacing him with Cristobol Huet.  Chicago’s goaltending has been their biggest problem, and there’s a good chance they’ll have a new goalie before the deadline tomorrow at 3, maybe even Islanders’ hero Roloson.  This change didn’t help much, as Park scored again just 4:14 seconds later, making it 4-2 Isles.  They weren’t done yet.  Blake Comeau decided to record his first career NHL hat trick with 17.3 seconds remaining in this Islander dominated 2nd period, putting his team up 5-2.  The Isles out shot Chicago 11-8 in the frame, and looked like the better team doing it.
The third period was much more defensive minded, as they Isles were protecting their lead and trying to get the win.  They were out shot 14-3, only surrendering 1 goal.  Chicago pulled their goalie down 2 with 2:33 left, but to no avail.  Final score, 5-3 Islanders.  It was a big, much needed win, and hopefully this will give the team the momentum they need down the stretch.
Side Notes
-The Islander penalty kill was subpar, surrendering 2 goals on only three attempts.
-Chicago out shot the Isles 44-23, thanks for the 41 saves Rolly.
-Trent Hunter hasn’t scored now in 13 games, and had a terrific chance to do so on an empty net, but hit the post.
-Isles will face off Thursday night at 7pm in Atlanta against the Thrashers.
-The NHL trade deadline is tomorrow at 3pm, I have a feeling the Islanders will shed one of their three goalies.
-Isles traded D Andy Sutton to Ottawa today for a 2nd round draft pick in next year’s draft.

What do you think Islander fans?

Written By: Alex Lowenthal

If the Islanders want to play more than 82 hockey games this year, it’s going to be a tough battle for the remaining twenty.  The Islanders currently have 58 points, putting them tied for 12th place with the Florida Panthers, and 6 points out of the coveted 8th playoff spot, held by the Montreal Canadians with 64.

The Islanders have 20 games remaining to be played between now and April 11.  These 20 games are anything but easy.  18 of these games are against teams with winning records.  Only 1 of their remaining opponents has less points then they do themselves.  8 of the games are against their division rivals who all are ahead of the Isles in the standings (Penguins, Rangers, Devils, Flyers).  5 opponents are in first place in their respective divisions (Blackhawks, Devils (twice), Canucks, Senators).

I think you get the point.  The task at hand, making the playoffs, looks near impossible.  However, if we’ve learned anything during the Olympics, its that any team can win a hockey game on any given night.  Also, only 9 points separate the 6th place team from the 13th team in the East.  Basically this means that if a team gets hot (Islanders hopefully), they can definitely make it.  7 of their remaining games are against teams in these 6th-13th place spots.  We call these 4 point games.  A win for one team and loss for the other equates to a 4 point swing.

I predict that the Islanders will need at least 90 points to make the playoffs.  That’s 32 points out of a possible 40 in their last 20 games, 19 against teams with better records than them.  They need 14 wins, and a few overtime losses as well.  Its a tall, unlikely task, but its possible.  If there’s a time to get hot, it’s now Isles.

Photo Credit: pictures.zimbio.com

Written By: Alex Lowenthal

Rick Dipietro is the face of the New York Islander franchise.  I guess that’s expected when you sign the 2nd longest contract in North American sports history since Magic Johnson signed a 25 year deal in 1981 for the Las Angeles Lakers.

However, due to injury, he played a whopping 5 games last year, and just returned this year on January 8th, making 8 starts since this return.  In the last 2 seasons, Dipietro is 3-8 in 13 starts.  Normally I would be thrilled for him to return and help the lowly Islanders who haven’t made the playoffs since the 2006-2007 season.  But this year is different…..

The Islanders are full of new, young faces, and have a ton of talent.  They have shown team chemistry, the ability to win against good teams, and there has been a new buzz in the Nassau Coliseum that hasn’t been present in years.  Until Dipietro’s return, they were doing well, with the playoffs looking more than feasible.  However, since his return, things have changed.

On January 7th, 2010, the Islanders were 1 point behind Montreal for the final playoff spot, and they were playing well, going 6-4-1 in their previous 11 games.  This was largely aided by great goaltending….from DWAYNE ROLOSON.  40 year old Roloson was at the top of his game at the time.  He was 5-0-1 leading up to Dipietro’s return.  In his last 12 starts, Roloson has only allowed 29 goals on 371 shots, which is good for 2.41gaa, and a .92SV%.  And let it be known that 10 of the 29 goals allowed were when the Islanders were short handed.

Dipietro then returned.  His first game was in Dallas, and he looked sloppy in a 4-3 loss against the Stars.  Since his return, he has started 8 times, and the team is 2-6, as he is 2-5 in those games.  He was pulled early after allowing three goals against Washington on January 26 in a 7-2 loss, and he has lost his last 5 starts.  Its obvious that Dipietro is not playing his best hockey, allowing 20 goals in 201 shots faced, which is good for a weak .900SV%.  The Islanders are 5-9 since their star goaltender has returned, and now find themselves 5 points out of that coveted 8th spot, with only 24 games remaining.  It seems like their playoff hopes are slipping as quickly as Dipietro’s fan base.

I’m in no position to make managerial decisions for a professional sports franchise, and yes there have been other injuries and factors during this awful stretch from the Islanders lately.  I also believe that Dipietro is one of hockey’s premiers goaltenders.  However, i’m not a big fan of the decision of trying to get Dipietro right back into the thick of things when the team has (or had) a legitimate shot of making the playoffs behind veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson.  Call me crazy, but when you have something that’s working and you’re playing better then you have in years, why change it?

Written By: Eric Conway

As of right now the Islanders sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference and just 5 points back of the 8th and final playoff spot.  If they can string together a solid winning streak they can be back in the hunt for the playoffs.  So how can they put together this winning streak?  The answer is simple.  They desperately need John Tavares to bust out of his slump and start putting pucks in the net like we all know he can…….

Tavares has not recorded a goal in the past 10 games.  His last goal was registered January 16th against the Buffalo Sabres and prior to that goal he hadn’t sniped a goal in 9 games.  I really do not know how he remains second on the team in goals after 2 scoring slumps of that magnitude.

The Islanders are only 8-6 in games where Tavares tallies at least one goal.  He only has 2 game winners and I think it is about time the young phenom takes it upon himself to start burying opponents and inject some life into the falling Islanders in a time when they need it most.  The Islanders are victims in their last 7 games and right now is the time where John Tavares can step up and make a major impact and put this team into the playoffs.

As an Islander fan I watch almost every game and I believe Tavares has the ability to put the team on his back and carry them into the playoffs.  Do I think the Islanders will make much noise in the playoffs?  Probably not, especially if they have to play the Capitals who are on an absolute tear as of late, or the Devils with newly acquired superstar Ilya Kovalchuk.  The fact of the matter is this is not the Islanders year, but I think many critics have taken notice of the young nucleus of players the Islanders now boast.  They are a young, fast, exciting team that will be a Cup contender in the very near future.

The Islanders next game is Tuesday versus the Nashville Predators at home.  I will certainly be tuning in, in hopes that the number one overall pick from last year’s NHL Draft takes matters into his own hands and starts burying his opportunites as he did in his days of junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League, where he is the league’s all-time leading goal scorer.