Islanders Insight’s Top Shelf: The Close Out November Edition: 11/30/15

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NHL: Colorado Avalanche at New York Islanders

November has had a lot of attributes that Islanders’ fans would like to forget. The month started with a 2-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, featured a demotion and recall of a key to the future in Ryan Strome, hit a depressing lull when a preseason trade request by fan favorite Travis Hamonic was made public and had three dates with the Montreal Canadiens that all ended with tough losses.

Despite the uncertainties around the team, the Islanders wake up on the final morning of this historically tough month for the franchise possessing a 6-6-1 record since the loss to Buffalo with a game tonight against the Colorado Avalanche in Brooklyn that will give them a chance to escape November with a winning record.

So what are some of the good things that have happened this month that have kept the Islanders above water and possibly among the top three teams in the Metropolitan Division when November closes tonight?

1. Two Short Road Trips Went Well – 

Road Trip #1

The Islanders went out west to play the Sharks, Kings and Ducks and took four out of a possible six points. The team scored nine goals in the process and then added five more in their next game against the Arizona Coyotes. This was after they started the month with five goals in four games.

Road Trip #2

The Islanders celebrated Thanksgiving in Florida and then faced off against the Panthers on Friday and the Lightning on Saturday. The Isles overcame two goal deficits on both nights. On Friday, Ryan Strome and Josh Bailey scored to help the Islanders overcome a 2-0 deficit, but the team was denied the second point when Jaroslav Halak gave up goals to all five shooters he saw in the shootout. The next night, unanswered goals from Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck and John Tavares helped the Islanders overcome a 2-0 deficit in regulation. Thomas Greiss was outstanding in goal and his heroics included a poke save on a Steven Stamkos penalty shot.

2. The Top Line Has Produced

Brock Nelson (6G,4A, 10Pts.), John Tavares (6G,4A,10Pts.), and Kyle Okposo (2G,8A,10Pts.) have been a very productive trio since Nelson’s promotion. Although they’ve slowed down the last few games, JT’s late game winning power play goal was a nice crowning moment on Saturday night.

3. Two Goalies Have Contributed

Many people are ready to send Jaroslav Halak packing after the shootout fiasco on Friday, but he is still a very good NHL goaltender you shouldn’t rush out your door if he’s on your roster. Halak was sick for a small portion of the season yet has managed a .921 SV% and 2.02 GAA in 13 games. He’s the Islanders #1 right now. Thomas Greiss has never played more than 25 games in a season in his NHL career so it’s difficult to see him taking Jaro’s job, but it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world if they evolved into a goalie tandem. But that’s pure speculation at this point. Greiss is currently sporting a .927 SV% and 2.24 GAA in 11 games. The Islanders have two solid goalies and it’s a wonderful problem to have.

The Colorado Avalanche are coming to Brooklyn tonight. Keep your eyes and ears here for Andy Graziano’s pregame report this afternoon.

In Case You Missed It…

Tonight will be Josh Bailey’s 500th Game

The Islanders take a stand for men’s health issues

A few days old, but make sure you check out this former Usher’s story if you haven’t

Predictions for the second quarter: The Rangers will drop and Hamonic will stay

McDavid is progressing ahead of schedule

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