Islanders: Red’s Rewind: Volume III

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Islanders Insight
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NHL: New York Islanders at Florida Panthers


Welcome to Red’s Rewind: a weekly look at the New York Islanders through the eyes of a redheaded Islanders fan…


Looking Back

Although Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning stings a bit, it’s impossible to not recognize the Islanders’ hard work over this past week. They continued their win streak at home on Tuesday when they sought revenge on the Colorado Avalanche, winning by a score of 6-0 and giving Jaroslav Halak his second straight shutout. The Islanders’ depth improvements were hard to ignore, seeing as all six goals came from different players on different lines- a truly encouraging sign of things to come. The Islanders then visited the Florida Panthers on Friday where they topped the cats 4-3 after a shootout. An interesting trend to notice is how the Islanders seem to play a less intense game against lower caliber teams – Friday night being not exception. They seemed to lack not only the persistence we see when they play more élite teams, but also smarts; John Tavares even took quite a few penalties. Regardless, the Islanders grinded out a win thanks to the skills competition. The loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday was not because of a lack of effort on the Islanders’ part. In my opinion, the traditional goaltender switch for back-to-back games should have been reversed – Halak has been on a hot streak, so it would have been nice to see him against the Bolts with Chad Johnson going against the Panthers. Even though the Islanders’ five-game win streak was snapped, this November’s record of 5-2-0 so far is hardly something to lose sleep over.


Looking Ahead

The Islanders have a tough week coming up, as they face the Lightning again at home on Tuesday for their second consecutive matchup with the second-place squad. It’s possible that ex-Islander Evgeni Nabokov could be in net for the Bolts, meaning a homecoming celebration would be in order, and hopefully a New York win as well. The Islanders then will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh and at home, respectively. Although the Islanders lost to the Penguins earlier in the season, blue and orange is much more settled in its new shell now, so it should make for a very interesting two games. Defense must stay aggressive, goaltending must remain tight, and forwards must play a simple, effective game. Pittsburgh is the only team that now sits ahead of the Islanders in the Metropolitan Division, so it’d be nice to see New York grab four points after the weekend is through.


Player of the Week

It goes without saying that this season’s goaltending tandem for the Islanders has been the best the team has displayed in years – even with Johnson still trying to recapture his Boston magic. After having recorded two consecutive shutouts, Jaroslav Halak is awarded with this week’s recognition. Not only did he allow zero goals for two games straight, but he then led the Islanders to a victory when he stopped a shot from the league’s leading shooutout goal scorer Brad Boyes in Florida on Friday. And how could we talk about the win without mentioning the ‘head-save’. A remarkable effort by Jaro as he pinned a rolling puck against the crossbar and held perfectly still until the official blew the play dead. Halak’s record this week was 2-0-0, so recognizing him as Player of the Week is no question. Congratulations, Jaro!



For the Ladies

The ever-charitable NHL has participated in their annual Hockey Fights Cancer fundraiser, which raises money to donate to national and local cancer research, treatment organizations and various charities. The league-wide effort is always admirable, and this year is no different. Players from all teams have worn purple sweaters during warmups to then auction off, and the proceeds were donated to the fund. Commercials this year to promote Hockey Fights Cancer feature (the best looking) NHL stars holding a sign showing who they’re “fighting for”- an irresistibly persuasive campaign. Find out how you can give to the amazing cause here.



You can follow the Islanders Insight team on the Twitter machine (@IslesInsight), and myself as well (@BigRedDiva). Thanks for all the support and be on the lookout for next week’s edition of this weekly column.

Islanders: Red’s Rewind: Volume III
Alex Kuhlke