March 6, 2013

Isles Continue Momentum, Prep for Rangers

It's amazing how much fan outlook can change over the span of a couple of games. But today, Islanders fans have plenty of reasons to feel good.

Once the buzzer sounded to conclude a 6-3 win over the East-leading Montreal Canadiens, fans began to look towards Thursday game with more hope.

While the Canadiens didn't have their best performance at times, let’s not take everything away from the Islanders, who got goals from primary and secondary sources in this one, with Matt Martin and Michael Grabner in particular stepping up in huge ways.

Speaking of stepping up, you can't say enough about the play of Radek Martinek in the absence of Lubomir Visnovsky. Aside from the goal, which proved to be the game winner, he looked pretty solid on defense and even made a few nice hits in a little less than 13 minutes of ice time.

Also notable in Visnovsky's absence was the powerplay, who's 2-for-5 showing helped the Islanders to win this game. They were finally able to generate consistent scoring chances and make the Canadiens pay for miscues.

The Islanders did a great job in not letting the Canadiens speed advantage get to them, and it showed at various points throughout the game. Rather than chase Montreal down the Islanders just tried to make themselves 'big' and did a nice job of sticking with their cover or getting a stick in the way of a pass or shot.

Evegni Nabokov, although shaky at times came up big when needed and kept the Islanders in the game, despite Montreal answering the Isles jump to a two goal lead with one of their own.

And now, the Islanders have drawn everyone in again and the stage is set in seemingly the way it always is. With a nice little streak at home, they have the chance to extend it and get back to the playoff race with force and be tied for the 8th seed. However, every time this situation has popped up in the last few seasons, the Islanders squander their opportunity and fall out. Will they be able to change their fortunes against their biggest rivals?

Sean and I are skeptical and said as much on the last show. Here's the Isles chance to prove everyone wrong.

- Chris

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