Article Written By: Adam Wible
It’s not Pittsburgh, Boston, or Washington. The New York Islanders are on fire, 8-2-0 in their last 10.
New York has had all around team success as of late.
John Tavares was named the League’s First Star of the Week with four goals and six assists. He has points in eight of his past nine games (eight goals, 10 assists). Calvin de Haan has a four-game point streak (one goal, five assists). Kevin Poulin is a winner of five straight games, 6-1-0 in his past seven and 4-0-0 since replacing the injured Evgeni Nabokov. Thomas Vanek has at least one point in 11 of his past 12 games. Kyle Okposo has nine goals and 16 points in his past 12 games. Brock Nelson has three goals in four games.
Like the story has been all season, backup goalies are playing lights out. Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson will have their hands full, as the Islanders begin a tough five games in seven nights stretch.
Poulin and Tim Thomas meet tonight in the Sunshine State. The Islanders look to make it five in a row. A win against the Panthers would extend the Islanders’ winning streak to five games for the first time since 2008, and match the franchise-record road winning streak of eight set in 1980-81. The surge has put the Islanders seven points out of a playoff spot with 35 games left to play.
This is the first of three games between the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers. The Islanders swept all three games last season by a combined score of 12-5 and have won four straight against the Panthers.
”We’re competing. We’re defending a little better,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ”Playing more within the team concept. I think when you can utilize your four lines that we do, a lot of guys the minutes are distributed.”
The Panthers return home after going 1-1-1 on their three-game road trip.
“They’re a dangerous team,” Panthers Coach Peter Horachek said. “Their special teams are pretty good. Their power play, especially that line, is dangerous. You’re really going to have to, hopefully, keep them limited on the scoreboard.”
Bruins 3-2, Rangers 4-2, Islanders 3-2, Blackhawks 4-2
Buffalo Sabres 2-1