It's a Long Season, "Challenge Accepted"

2 Down, 80 more to go, and another 16 W's after that! This past weekend has seen a whirlwind of emotions carry from Raleigh to Long Island, like... well, a hurricane. The Isles have gotten themselves off to a 2-0 start, their best in a decade, but now the real challenge begins. Can the team carry the momentum from the final home opener into the next few weeks?

(Photo by: slgckgc)

This is the perfect challenge for our Orange and Blue, starting with their cross-town rivals, the New York Rags... I mean Rangers. After a respectable year that saw the Blue-shirts reach game just 3 wins away from hoisting Lord Stanley's favorite milk bowl, they too saw plenty of off-season changes. With an up and down start to the season, the Islanders need to come out with the same pressure and grit they had on Saturday night. Only this time it will be in their sworn enemies home.

Comfort is not a luxury we can yet afford, even with our new look defense, our 1a/1b netminder combo or the complementary forward corps. The biggest challenge for this game, IMHO, will be the penalty kill. And with the Rangers not known for their man-advantage, which is also missing (ex-Islander) quarterback Dan Boyle, there is no better time to build your momentum then tonight at the worlds most famous arena.

October is 2 games old with matches versus Division favorites, the Bruins and Penguins, along with a powerhouse team in San Jose, a thorn in the side in Winnepeg, the better tasting Maple Leafs and a high flying Avalanche. Again I repeat, we cannot settle and this team cannot get too comfortable. As Capuano put it in his post game comments on Saturday night, "...there are still a few guys taking shortcuts..."

This team needs to come out strong and feed off every ounce of momentum they can tonight. If there isn't a scrap in the first 10 minutes then take it to the net. Lundqvist is coming off a game in which he yanked himself after allowing 6 goals. Players like Conacher, Kulemin, Okposo and our 4th line need to make their net front presence known. It's time to get back to work and get under our opponents skin. Time to prove that this team is truly for real! Let's Go IS-LAN-DERS!

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