Records: Islanders (4-4-1), Rangers (4-5-0)
NYR Leading Scorer: Marian Gaborik (5-3-8)
NYI Leading Scorer: John Tavares (4-7-11)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (8 GP, 2.83 GAA, .900 SV%)
NYI Goaltender: Evgeni Nabokov (8 GP, 2.99 GAA, .905 SV%)
Preview: The Islanders are off to a pretty decent start –for the Islanders– at 4-4-1. They are one point ahead of the Rangers, and have done so with the drama that is the Islanders. After trading for Lubomir Visnovsky, he refused to show until last week. They also added Brad Boyes to replace the departed P.A. Parenteau, but other than those two moves, the Islanders were relatively quiet this offseason. That said, the Boyes move really worked out for them.
The Islanders are another Atlantic division team that utilizes the 1-2-2 trap, but the difference between them and the other 1-2-2 teams is that they are slightly more aggressive, sending their second line of attackers to the blue line, as opposed to the neutral zone.
The Isles also pressure the point in the defensive zone. With slow-footed defensemen, this causes turnovers and odd-man rushes. Luckily the Rangers have benched their slow-footed defenseman, so while this may still cause some turnovers, it won’t be exacerbated by someone who can’t catch up.
The Isles also differ from the Rangers in the sense that they have been able to put the puck in the net regularly this season. Their defense and goaltending are still major issues, but their offense has carried them to nine points in nine games thus far.
People may look at the standings and freak out because the Islanders are ahead of the Rangers, but let’s remember that they are one Bettman point ahead, and their records are essentially identical.
Fun Fact: Your feet stick to the floor at NVMC.
Crazy Thought: Still hoping for a powerplay goal.
Opposition Blog: Islanders Point Blank