At the beginning of November, there were dreadful thoughts of the New York Islanders heading into their usual and reoccurring slump of seasons past. Instead the Islanders gave fans one of the most memorable months is decades. In fact, their play put them in the NHL map as serious contenders for the regular season. After going 11-3 for the month of November, the Islanders sit in 4th place in the NHL based off the winning percentage. Let me write that again, the Islanders are FOURTH IN THE NHL! Not fourth from the bottom. If the Islanders get a win or two in the upcoming week, they could very well move up. So with two months now removed from the schedule let’s take a look at some of the decisions the Islanders have hade that got them to where they are, and what needs to be looked at a little deeper heading into the month of December.
First, LW Thomas Vanek has 2 goals in 23 games. Nikolai Kulemin has 5 goals in 24 games. Clearly Islanders general manager Garth Snow knows where to spend his money.
Ryan Strome is maturing in front of our eyes. He’s only going to get better and as he does, so will the Islanders.
Brock Nelson is a beast. Many fans saw something special when he played in the World Championships last season and were hoping that he could duplicate that into a full NHL season. Not only has he duplicated, he could exceed.
I know many are on the Johnny Boychuck wagon, and with great reason too, but Nick Leddy is another player coming into his own and is looking like a future All-Star.
Jaroslav Halak has just been lights out. Halak continues his winning ways heading into December winning nine games in a row while combining a 1.18 GAA with a .956 SV% and 3 SO.
With this being December, I think it’s safe to say that the Islanders first round pick will not be in the bottom 5, hence no double dipping in the lottery for Buffalo. If the Islanders continue their trend, there will be no difference between a lower first rounder or an upper second rounder in this years draft.
With Michael Grabner return all but certain, what changes will be made to the Isles lineup?
I have beaten this dead horse now, I’m playing the xylophone on it’s bones. The backup goalie is essential to this teams success. Having said that, Chad Johnson knows he must step up.
Finally, with the Isles in a heated race with Pittsburgh for the Metro Division, winning as many games in regulation will be beneficial, especially if their needs to be a tiebreaker by the end of the season.
Don’t underestimate the Ottawa Senators, they’re a good team, so winning tonight’s game has some mertit.