Where Is The Isles Second Act?
The Islanders went into last night's game against the Rangers looking to cap off a four-game home stand with a decisive win in regulation against their cross-town rivals, and they did just that. John Tavares' hat trick, P.A. Parenteau's helping hands and Evgeni Nabokov's stonewall performance were enough to earn a 4-2 win, improving the team's record to 3-1-0.
The 3-1-0 start is the best that the team has had in ten years, dating back to the 2001-2002 season when they started off 4-0. And you don't have to remind many Islanders fans about how exciting that season was, ending in what was arguably the most brutal first round exit to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
TCL's Evan Pivnick has the post game recap in what was a superb follow-up performance to their 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. But head coach Jack Capuano will have to do his homework with the Islanders off until Thursday night's re-match with the Bolts.
Tavares and Parenteau are currently among the league leaders in goals, assists and points. JT is currently tied in goals and points with Toronto's Phil Kessel at eight while Parenteau is tied with Nashville's David Legwand in assists with six. Al Montoya leads the league in GAA for goalies. All of these statistics are easily subject to change; this is not an Islanders fan boasting that the team's top line is at the top of the league. The season is only four games old here folks, and it's likely that other superstars will start challenging/taking the reigns of where the Islanders leaders currently sit.
And that's something that needs to be addressed.
The Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau line has been nothing short of spectacular over the past two games. But the offense has to start coming from the second and third lines if the team wants to insure more wins down the stretch.
Brian Rolston, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen all have one point in the first four games. Josh Bailey is still searching for his first tally in the points column as well as Blake Comeau, who was a healthy scratch last night despite having an impressive resume against the blue shirts over the course of his career.
It certainly appears that the writing is on the wall for Comeau, who was only signed to a one-year deal after rumors circulated that he was being shopped over the summer. Hopefully the scratch, in what has been the biggest game thus far this season, will serve as a wake-up call, especially since his absence served as an entrance for enforcer Trevor Gillies, who played just under three minutes of hockey last night. Depth forwards, such as Jay Pandolfo, were kept in the line-up since he, as well as the rest of the fourth line, have been excellent so far in creating energy and throwing out big hits. With Nino Niederreiter likely back on the ice in the near future, Comeau will have to work hard to find his game.
Tavares did have eight points in two games, showing that he is off to a great start and will be one of the top competitors in the Eastern Conference this season. But what happens when JT is stopped more than once and can't find the back of the net?
All four lines have to start finding a way to produce on the ice if this team wants to be taken seriously as the season rolls along.
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