Sunday, January 04, 2015

N.Y. Islanders: Taming The Great White North


Canadian Excursion:
I - Isles 5; Winnipeg Jets 2
II - Isles 2; Calgary Flames 1
IV - Tuesday @ Vancouver

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Montreal Caught The Isles On An Off Night When Halak Was Out With An Injury,  But Not Before The Isles Showed What They Thought Of Detroit And Tampa.

Beating the Calgary Flames is no easy task.  They measure up well against the Islanders, and in truth, are almost as good.  But, not quite, as Friday's slim 2-1 Islanders victory proved.  John Tavares, with 2 goals, made all the difference.  The days of the Flames featuring Jerome Iginla are behind them.

The Isles are 2-0 in their great Canadian excursion, with the Edmonton Oilers hosting tonight.

Friday's win lifted Long Island 15 games above .500 for the 1st time since their Stanley Cup seasons, (thanks TV guys).

Entering Sunday night's game against the Oilers, the Islanders owned a 26-11-1 (53 points) record, which knotted them with Pittsburgh for 1st place of the Metropolitan Division.

The following night after defeating Detroit, on December 20th the Isles were losing 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning with only a few minutes left in the 3rd period, when they scored 3 unanswered goals to snatch away a victory.

The team then slipped, losing two straight when Jaroslav Halak (injury) missed consecutive games against the Habs and Sabres.  One, it demonstrated how indispensable the Islanders goalie has become, and two, the Isles are 3-0 since his return.

The equally indispensable Johnny Boychuk got this latest 3-game win streak started with an overtime goal against the Capitals.

Their 119 goals this season rank 3rd in the conference behind Detroit and Tampa, both of whom recently fell to the Islanders as noted.  It's also one more goal than the Penguins have.  The Isles 3.0 per game rank 7th in the league.

They've also put in a lot of effort into improving their penalty kill.  It's still ranked towards the bottom of the league, however, primarily because of their awful October results.  They were 22/33 on the PK for 67%.  Their PK is 62/78 for 79% since then.  The PK was at its best in November when they went 31/38 for 82%.


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