The struggling New York Islanders (7-10-3) look to turn things around tonight with Evgeni Nabokov in goal against the visiting Detroit Red Wings (9-5-6). The Red Wings, now a new Eastern Conference opponent due to the alignment change, are facing the Isles for the first time this season after a 4-3 shootout loss last night to the Washington Capitals.
The Isles, who once sat second in the Metropolitan Division, currently sit in 6th, five points behind the second place Capitals and three points behind the third place Carolina Hurricanes.
An inability to hold gain leads and/or hold them has propelled the Islanders to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings (12th in the East) and has allowed their division rivals to surpass them.
The Islanders found themselves floundering after a stretch of poor losses. Nothing erases the bad taste of defeat like consecutive wins. Behind the pads of Kevin Poulin, they took the ice looking to add another win to their record. After four frustrating losses, the Isles' righted the ship against a tough foe. It didn't matter who they were playing, they needed a win. But defeating the Nashville Predators really seemed to ease the nervousness among fans and players.
That loose style was carried over into Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Islanders battled hard and rallied around Kevin Poulin's strong effort in net. Although, the Islanders went scoreless in the first, they held the high powered Kings in check.
Kabanov played two games for the Sound Tigers scoring one goal. Then he was sent down to the Thunder. Coincidentally (or not), the 6’3” winger was late to a team meeting shortly before being sent to Stockton. Newsday’s Arthur Staple tweeted at the time that he was placed on the Thunder to get more minutes rather than as a demotion.
Either way, it is rather curious. Last season, during the playoffs, Kabanov was one of the prospects on the Sound Tigers who was brought over to be in the press box and to presumably learn what a NHL team experiences during a playoff run.
After a winless road trip, the Islanders returned home to Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night for their second and final meeting of the season with the Nashville Predators. The first meeting was a Predators 3-2 victory last month. Tonight a different story as the Islanders snapped their 4 game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Predators on home ice.
Although he is second on the all-time list of wins as head coach of the New York Islanders, Jack Capuano's job may be slowly becoming in jeopardy with every Islanders loss (Photo credit: OneTigerFan/Flickr).
This is his fourth season behind the beach of the New York Islanders as the head coach of the team, now working closely with assistant coach and former captain Doug Weight. Like many of the previous coaches to hold the position, Capuano's future with the team has always been mired with plenty of criticism.
New York’s struggles haven’t been confined to the current trip. Despite beating a good Boston team at home last week, the Isles are 3-6-1 in their last ten. This has dropped them from second in the division to fifth, and they’ve fallen to 11th in the conference. (Photo credit: kwong yee cheng/flikr)
In this context, these two points loom a bit larger. And, the Islanders will have to earn the win without newly acquired Thomas Vanek who was hurt in last night’s loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
#highlight of the week Kyle Okposo scores the game winner in overtime to give his team the win and let Team USA know they made a big mistake by not adding him to the roster for this year's Olympic games