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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Islanders — Nabokov or Bust!

Right now the Islanders have 47 points in 49 games and that puts them 10 points back of the Devils who own the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. After seeing some good signs last year I was expecting better things from the Isles this year; and, with Nabokov on the team they should be holding a playoff spot right now. However, the team had some let-downs and lost their first 6 OT and SO games, and Nabokov had a groin injury and has only participated in 24 games thus far. He has been outstanding and was named the NHL’s 3rd Star of the Week for the period ending January 22—due to only letting in 2 goals in 3 games. In his 24 games, Nabokov has posted a Save Percentage of .919, a Goals Against Average of 2.38, and 1 shutout. In his great career with the Sharks, Nabokov has only had a better Save Percentage twice.

Before I continue, take a look at this absolutely incredible save by Nabokov when he was a Shark and in a playoff game against Dallas.Please click the link and after the video is over please click the back arrow in your browser to return to my site.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_7jzAG1wzo

PLAYOFF HOPES

The Isles still have a chance to make the playoffs and have done well in their last 10 games by registering a 6-3-1 record. The Isles happen to have four more games this year with the Devils and the teams have had very close contests both last year and this year. It is possible that the Isles could win 3 or all 4 of those games, but, I believe that they need Nabokov in net to do so. In fact, in my opinion, the Isles need him in net every game for the remainder of the season except for back to back games. The problem is that Capuano (head coach) is playing three goalies right now, something that I really hate because it prevents goalies from being “game sharp.” Nabokov had a four game streak going and lost a game, and then Capuano went ahead and played Montoya for a game and then Poulin for a game (who he brought up for his third game of the year). Capuano is either throwing in the towel on the playoffs and trying to lose, or, Nabokov has another injury and the Isles have not made it known. I searched and could not find any information indicating that he was injured again. It would be interesting to know.

To be playoff bound, Tavares, Moulson and Parenteau need to not only continue to play well but they must pour it on every time they touch the ice. Every player on the team needs to play every game as if it was a Stanley Cup Finals game—smart and giving everything they have.

The next couple of months shall be exciting for sure!

TJ Stanley