The Islanders stuck to the basics and made some changes after getting shut out 1-0 on Friday afternoon. The slight changes they did make resulted in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils about 24 hours later.
Michael Grabner was finally able to bury a chance on a breakaway, what was this 6th of the home-and-home set with the Devils. It would end up being the winning goal for the Islanders. Grabner stole the puck from Ilya Kovalchuk, who was carrying the puck up the ice in his own zone on a Devils powerplay. In other words, it was vintage Grabner.
Matt Moulson was able to stop his slide to. Josh Bailey scored his first goal since the Islanders were in Colorado. Both came on nice shots in the slot area - a spot where the Isles have been hesitant to get to lately.
Ironically, when Moulson scored his goal I wasn't happy at first because I thought he was waiting too long, which you normally can't do against a goalie like Martin Brodeur. But when the puck goes in, all will be forgiven.
I was surprised Jack Capuano went with Al Montoya for the game, but he made the right call. I thought for sure they would split the net and have DiPietro play the second game but they finally did the right thing when it comes to a starting goalie. Montoya should get a majority of the starts. It's pretty clear who the team feels the most comfortable with now between the pipes, and who gives them the best chance to win.
Nino Niederreiter sat for a fourth straight game, leading many to question what exactly the team is doing here - myself included. No one can seem to get any answers out of Garth Snow or Capuano as to what is going on with him, but the team has said it's not related to his injury. During the first period, a frustrated Niederreiter Tweeted to fans asking him why he was sitting by simply stating "I don't know." The Tweet was later removed, likely at the request of the team. Uh oh.
The Islanders are creating their own PR mess here, as they have a 19-year-old kid who has played two games and only about 10 minutes in each. We have no idea if he can stick or not from that sample size, but the Islanders don't seem to be as worried about the kid riding the pine. It really makes no sense whatsoever. One can't help but think about those games played incentives in Niederreiter's contract.
Defensively, the Islanders had a better effort than we've become accustomed too but still struggled at points. Mike Mottau struggled again, and rode the pine at points again. Unfortunately, there aren't many other choices right now seeing as the guys in Bridgeport aren't ready for prime time just yet. At least the Islanders are developing some of their blueliners the way they should be.
For the Isles, it was important to get that first road win out of the way as this was the start of a string of four straight on the road. They're all tough games too - Buffalo, Chicago and Dallas. The Islanders will have their work cut out for them.
NYI FYI Sunday, 10 AM: Sean and I will be back at it Sunday morning for what promises to be a passionate show. However, we will not be on at our usual time. Instead, we'll be going live at 10 AM. You can still catch us live on our uStream page, and participate in the chat room. You can also send us your thoughts through Twitter.
For those who miss the live show, be sure to download the podcast later in the day.