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Haunting Flashbacks & Lessons From Montreal

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The New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens concluded their season series with the Canadiens taking the final third game by a score of 4-2 and sweeping the regular season 3-0. For the Islanders, it was good to get these games over in November than have to play the Canadiens in March or April while still in the playoffs race. For Montreal, it’s more separation from other teams in their division and a message to the NHL that they’re making another serious run for the Cup this year. But this series will also shed some light on what the Islanders can do to improve the hockey club and make a stronger push to the playoffs so if they have to meet Montreal in the playoffs, they’ll be better prepared.

Trading Hamonic Now Is Good For Isles

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When news of the trade request by Islanders defenceman Travis Hamonic broke a few days ago, I’m usually one for writing a rumor piece strictly because I love the entertainment value of talking about where certain players may go and for whom. This time however, I refrained from it because of the peculiar circumstances and who requested the trade. Travis Hamonic is a player very dear to the fans on Long Island and he’s probably one of the core players fans had hoped to see his number raised to the rafters of Nassau Coliseum. Unfortunately, the Barclays Center will have to do. Hamonic signed a long-term contract and many were sure that with him and the rest of the core that he’d experience winning a Stanley Cup as a New York Islander. It may still happen, but it doesn’t look realistic. There are many rumors now about where he will be traded to as he has requested a trade closer to his home for personal reasons. I’m not writing this piece as to where he may go, but when.

Isles Win Against Arizona; Lose Grabovski

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Thoughts: This was a very good game that was played by the Isles. The only real concerning sign from last nights game was that the Isles have to stop giving teams a powerplay goal. They’ve allowed it to happen six out of the last seven times. The Isles are 6-2-2 when they don’t allow a powerplay goal. (NYISkinny)

Hockey from the Blind Side, Winning 2 Out of 3 Out West and Turning the Ship Around

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The New York Islanders come back home after winning 2 out of 3 on the road. A lot of fans had their concerns about this road trip, and I won’t deny I was one of them.

However, with a 4-2 win in San Jose and a 4-1 victory over the Ducks sandwiched around a 2-1 loss in Los Angeles, they have been playing much better. Realistically, they surely played well enough to win against the Kings, especially in the third period. With a little “puck luck”, it could have been a sweep on this trip for the Isles.

Isles Come Home On Winning Note

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Just a few thoughts:

The Isles are now 2-2 without Ryan Strome. Still a good idea sending him down? I say more games played by the Isles will decide this.

Frans Nielsen has seven goals already this season. Read that again. It’s November 15th, roughly five weeks after the season has started and he already has seven. He usually doesn’t get seven until around Christmas time. Someone is playing for a contract because he’s on pace for 32!

Brock Nelson has come around and is now on pace for 28 goals. It does wonders to a players confidence when you’re put on the top line.

The powerplay is now a power outage once again. They’re now out of the top 10 and in the middle of the pack. Just look at the 5 on 3’s. The penalty kill is still in the top 5 in the League.

Isles Continue To Slide, Recall Pelech

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Just a few quick thoughts about the game:

I didn’t think the Islanders played bad, but it felt like I going back to 1995 when the neutral zone trap was in style. This game had some real boring moments and it was happening quite often.

The goaltending was solid, but Halak really wasn’t tested all that often.

When your team is top five on the powerplay and your opponent is now ranked last on the penalty kill and all the Islanders can muster is one powerplay goal that was 5 on 3? How many times were the Islanders on the powerplay during that game?

Isles Struggle To Find the Net Continue with Loss to Bruins

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** NOTE – nice to be back – it has been a while…. **

Is The Glass Half Full Or Empty?

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The New York Islanders defeated the new Jersey Devils last night by a score of 2-1. Since my last post the Isles have gone 1-1-2 and many fans are not happy with how the Isles have played. Writing for myself, I was hoping for a 4-0 run this past week. I was really expecting the Islanders in first place and have a really good buffer between the other teams who have struggled. Alas, the Islanders stay in third place in the Metropolitan Division and still ahead of last seasons pace of 101. So are you a glass half full or empty kind of fan. Let’s go over the relatively short season and find out.

Isles Have Chance To Improve Record; Thoughts On Hickey

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The New York Islanders defeated the Calgary Flames Monday night by a score of 4-0. This was the one game this week that had me a bit worried because the Flames could come out at any time and beat you. With that said, the Islanders improved their record to 6-2-1 with games against Carolina tomorrow and the Devils on Halloween. To go another step further, they play the Sabres and the Devils again to begin next week. So by 11:00pm next Wednesday the Islanders could, and should go 4-0 which gives them a record of 10-2-1. The schedule for this coming week is a big reason you may not see any changes coming to Brooklyn.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Good Teams Find Ways to Win Games

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The New York Islanders managed to pull out a win last night against the Saint Louis Blues, despite not playing well most of the night and probably deserving to lose the game. If it wasn’t for the impressive goaltending of Thomas Greiss, in fact, they Isles most likely would have been beaten badly. It was, to me, not the way I had hoped they would come out after losing at home the previous evening to the Boston Bruins.

Isles Sneak Away With Two Past Blues

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Isles Forget To Show Up Against Bruins

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This was a game the Islanders need to quickly forget. As for the Bruins, this was a game that showed some promise in a few players.

I’m going to make this short and sweet: the Isles turned the puck over and the Bruins took advantage and capitalized on them. The Islanders maybe played 20 minutes of hockey, the competitiveness wasn’t there and their play one-on-one was nonexistent. They have a few more gears, but it looked like they were in neutral for a good chunk of the game.

If there are some positives for the Islanders it’s John Tavares extending his point streak and Josh Bailey continues to shine in this early season. As for the Bruins, I liked the performance of Jonas Gustavsson and look out for Brett Connelly, someone who has waited for a golden opportunity to showcase what he has.

Isles Shut Out Columbus: Richards Fired

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Jaroslav Halak made 37 saves and the Islanders, winners of four in a row defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 4-0. The Blue Jackets are now 0-7 to start the season and it may have already ended last night. The last team to start the season 0-7 were the 97-98 Chicago Blackhawks and they finished with 73 points. Thomas Hickey, John Tavares, Cal Clutterbuck and Nikolay Kulemin all scored for the Islanders.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Another Comeback Win for the Isles and 3 Wins in a Row This Week

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The New York Islanders made it 3 wins in a row and 7 out of 8 points at the Barclays Center. In addition, they have scored 14 goals over that 3 game stretch with some secondary scoring returning to the lineup. Jaroslav Halak made his season debut last night as well after Thomas Greiss played quite well during the previous two wins.

On Monday, the Islanders rebounded after a rough start in their back to back games with the Black Hawks by defeating the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. It was a much better effort in that game with the top line doing most of the damage. It was also the first win of the season at the Barclays Center after their overtime loss opening night.

Isles Comeback To Defeat Sharks

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If there was one word to describe yesterdays New York Islanders 6-3 victory over the San José Sharks, it’s resilience. The Islanders once again came out a little slow and San José, playing the night before against the New Jersey Devils, took full advantage of it, taking a 3-2 lead midway through the second. It’s an early season issue that appears to reoccur. At that point of the game, I had seen the fourth line do like they usually do, the Nelson-Kulemin-Grabovski line were flying all night and despite pressure from the Sharks, John Tavares and his line were making their presence during the game. It was at this point I decided to tweet about the missing line:

Isles Hold On To Beat The Preds

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The New York Islanders came back to defeat the Nashville Predators by a score of 4-3 despite not playing their best game so far of this short season. The Islanders (2-1-1) have now won two games in a row and will continue their winning ways tomorrow against San José at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

The Islanders once again started off slow, but were able to get back as the game progressed. They learned last year on how to win these types of games by experiencing playoff hockey 2 out of the last 3 years and have learned that even if you don’t have your best game, you have to stick with your plan and things do work out. Last night was a good example.

Isles Earn Their First Win At Barclays

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The New York Islanders defeated the Winnipeg Jets this afternoon by a score of 4-2. John Tavares had a goal and two assists to lead the Islanders. Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey also scored for the Islanders who are now 1-1-1 on the season. Thomas Greiss collected his first win as an Islander by making 22 saves.

The Isles came out fast and strong in the first period and they outshot the Jets 16-6. The Islanders power play finally showed up after taking a long hiatus dating back to last year by going 2 for 6 with 10 shots in the first period alone. The Islanders ended up outscoring the Jets by a total of 44 to 24.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Isles Drop 3 out of 4 Points to Open the 2015-16 Season

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It certainly was not the way Islander fans nor the New York Islanders would have wanted to open the new season. Frankly, I was quite disappointed and, to some degree, disgusted. After they played a pretty solid game for their home opener at the Barclays Center on Friday, they played a spectacularly bad game in Chicago last night to complete the home and home with the Black Hawks. The home opener loss was 3-2 in overtime, but last night, it was a 4-1 beating that realistically should have been worse.

Isles Fall While Bridgeport Wins

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The Chicago Blackhawks completed the home and home sweep of the New York Islanders yesterday in Chicago.

At least the Isles won’t see much of the Hawks for a while. There’s really not much to say about this game. I Thought rookie goalie J.F. Berube played ok for his first NHL game, but it was clear that some of his teammates were not playing with any kind of consistency. If there was one glaring issue for this team it’s turnovers. They need to make a better impression on Monday when they take on the Jets at Barclays. For Chicago, they look like their in mid-season form and the Islanders should take notes about how quickly you need to get there when the season starts.

The Sound Tigers defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-1 last night in Bridgeport.

2015-16 NHL Eastern Conference Predictions

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Welcome to the NHL season everyone! Today, as I do every year the first day of the hockey season, I’ll make a few predictions and see where the teams in the Eastern Conference will finish 6 months from now. Not an easy task. I usually get 6-7 out of the 8 teams right and every five years I do get all eight, but this is just to give the fans a hint as to where their teams stand beginning today. I will use my yearly categories once again: The Core, Bubble teams, the Sophomores, Lottery teams and then I’ll give a brief analysis of each team. This is a little different from my “By The Numbers” as some teams have added a few players since training camp started and I do look at the overall organization: the players on the team now, the minor league system and the salary cap. So without further stalling here are my predictions:

The Core: (Alphabetical)

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