Isles Look to Extend Winning Ways against Boston Bruins
The New York Islanders have their fourth three game winning streak of the season and the team will look to expand on their recent success in a matchup against the Boston Bruins. In their last game against each other, Evgeni Nabokov stole two points from the Bruins at the TD Garden as the Islanders left Boston with a 3-2 victory against the home team. With only 5 games left for each team, the Islanders and Bruins will go into Saturday afternoon's contest with different goals. (BridgetDS/Flickr)
While the Bruins have locked up a playoff spot in the Easter Conference, the team will look to build upon its 94 points in order to keep their number 2 seed for the playoffs. On the other hand, the Islanders are simply looking to finish off the season on a strong note and only have one point to play with before being eliminated from the playoff picture. Even though the playoffs are almost out of the picture, the Isles have been showing that they are a team that wants to show that they can play instead of tanking for a higher draft pick.
Al Montoya will probably get the start in goal for the Islanders and will most likely be opposed by Tim Thomas at the other end of the ice. Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, and Kyle Okposo will look to continue their red-hot ways as the trio have been the main catalysts for the Isles during their most recent winning streak. Even though secondary scoring has played a huge role for New York during their their three game streak, the Isles' penalty killers should be given credit as well. New York's PK units have only allowed 1 power-play goal to the opposition in their last 6 games and opponents are 1 for 17 on the man-advantage against the Isles in that span.
The most encouraging part of the streak looks to be the fact that the Islanders are once again gelling and playing with confidence. Kyle Okposo recently set a career-high in goals with 20, but more importantly, he and his line-mates (Frans Nielsen & Josh Bailey) seem to have found some chemistry that could transition to the 2012-2013 NHL season. With the Islanders back at .500, the schedule will not get any easier to close out the season as New York will play the Bruins, Senators, Devils, Jets, and Blue Jackets. This much is for certain, the Islanders are playing with purpose, even though any team that was in their position a week ago would probably be hard-pressed not to pack it all in and fail for a better draft pick.
While the Isles' remaining schedule is full of tough opponents, New York's recent loose style of play can be difficult for their opposition. Pittsburgh and Florida both experienced how well and organized the Islanders have played and the team has been getting the job done without much help from the top line. If the Islanders keep up their attack and keep pressing their opponents like they have been, then they will be a hard team to beat in these last several games of the season.
Evgeni Nabokov will likely miss the remainder of the season with what looks to be a lower-body injury.