Category Archives: New York Islanders

SeeYouInOctober’s Tournament of Greatness: The Sweet 16

If you’ve been paying attention to our tournament thus far there have been a few upsets, lots of overtime games and some great discussions on the road to finding out who the best player in the history of New York and Boston sports is. Today we’re giving the athletes the day off to post the updated bracket to catch you up on what’s been happening in the frenzied first and second round. Tomorrow we will release the entire round of 16 for your voting pleasure. Currently there is one match up undecided with Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera dueling late into extra innings, so you still have time to cast your votes here.

New York VS. Boston Tournament of Greatness

In the spirit of March Madness and the great rivalries and players in the history of New York and Boston we here at SeeYouInOctober are putting it to a vote. We have combed through the annals of the Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Knicks, Nets, Yankees, Mets, Giants, Bills, Jets, Rangers, Sabres, Islanders and Devils to find the 64 players deserving of entry. There were so many great players and we had to make tough decisions, but we feel this is the best field. Our primary considerations included championships, MVP awards and how long a given player was with the team. Beyond that was where the real arguments came in. How do you quantify the city’s connection with a given player if it doesn’t compare to the success of another player? From the very beginning we set out to make a blog that honors greatness and post season success.

Over the coming days we will have four play-in games (you can vote for Rajon Rondo or Deron Williams right now click here.) pitting promising young New York and Boston players who may prove they belong when their career is over, but at present time have too small a sample size. They will then in all likelihood be slaughtered by the number one in their given sport. Our schedule will follow that of the NCAA tournament, so be sure to vote early and often in the frenzied first couple of days. And now without further ado: The SeeYouInOctober Tournament of Greatness!

Who did we leave off? Where were the biggest snubs? Who is the favorite to win it all? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment. Download the bracket, print it out and play along at home. Every vote counts, so make your case for your favorite players.

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The Chase for the Cup

As we near the stretch run of the 2011-2012 NHL regular season, the Buffalo Sabres are in a deep hole and looking to dig themselves out of a very competitive and tight Eastern Conference playoff race. With that being said, nearly every team in this conference is alive for a playoff spot. We will begin from last place up to first place.

15) Carolina Hurricanes (20-25-9) 49 pts.

In Or Out?: Out

Facts:

-29th in NHL in goals against

-6-13-6 road record

-Points back of 8th-12

Carolina has played better as of late, but their miserable start will make it nearly impossible to make the postseason with the lack of depth on offense, along with lackluster play from goaltenders Cam Ward and Brian Boucher this season.

14) Canadiens De Montre’al (21-24-9) 51 pts

Odds of making postseason: 20%

In Or Out?: Out

Story: Does having a coach who doesn’t speak French considered wrong? Granted, head coach Randy Cunneyworth’s team has not exactly been up to snuff, but the team is filled with a lot of youth and talent and could be considered a force in the next couple years.

13) Tampa Bay Lightning (23-24-5) 51 pts

Odds of making postseason: 20%

In Or Out?: Out

Story: Same as Carolina and Buffalo. Lack of consistent scoring, underwhelming goaltending (cant blame Roloson being 41 years old), but a bright note is Steven Stamkos who is tearing the league up this season, well on his way to winning the Richard Trophy.

12) Buffalo Sabres (23-24-6) 52 pts.

If Vanek and the Sabres continue their hot streak they could sneak into the post season.

In Or Out?: Uncertain/Out

Facts:

-tied for last in East in goal differential (-28)

-tied for 28th in goals for (128)

-on pace for lowest scoring total in a season in franchise history.

-points back of 8th-11

Buffalo has four less games played compared to idle Ottawa who have 61 points through 56 games. The Sabres have potted 7 out of 8 possible points the last four games. They have a heavy home schedule for the month of February, with 8 of their next 11 at First Niagara Center. This is the same month last year when they dwindled near the Eastern Conference basement before storming back in March and April to make the playoffs. With Gerbe and Ennis healthy, the energy shown on the ice has picked up considerably. Don’t count out these Sabres yet.

11) New York Islanders (22-22-8) 52 pts

It looks like the Islanders are down and out. Again. (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

In or Out?: Out

Story: Well, who would’ve thought that the New York Islanders would be anywhere but the basement this late in the season. Goaltender Evgeni Nabakov and Al Montoya have been stellar for the Isles this season. With a great core of talent, shoring up the defense will make this team a playoff contender next season.

10) Winnipeg Jets (25-24-6) 56 pts

In Or Out?: Likely Out

Story: With 8 players having 20 points or more, the Jets’ are a balanced club who have been energized by the city of Winnipeg. If goaltender Ondrej Pavelec gets hot at the right time, you can see these Jets flying into the playoffs as the 7th or 8th seed.

9) Florida Panthers (24-17-11) 59 pts

In Or Out?: In

Story: Florida has been a pleasant surprise this season, but I think they will bow out to Washington for the Southeast division crown. But they could join Winnipeg in sneaking in the bottom two spots in the playoffs. I have a lot of confidence in head coach Kevin Dineen, who has an experienced club in front of him.

Ottawa Senators (27-22-7) 61 pts

In Or Out?: Out

I just do not see the Sens continuing the pace they are going at.

7) Toronto Maple Leafs (28-20-6) 62 pts

In Or Out?: On The Fence

Jury isn’t out on the Leafs yet, but having 30 goal scorer Phil Kessel and the USSR line definitely helps.

6) Pittsburgh Penguins (30-19-5) 65 pts

In Or Out?: In

Proved last season they could win without both Crosby and Malkin, they have the latter right now for this season.

5) New Jersey Devils (31-19-3) 64 pts

Martin Brodeur and the Devils look to continue their playoff push in Buffalo tomorrow.

In Or Out?: In

Not the prettiest style of play, but they have a bunch of no-names who work well as a unit.

4) Philadelphia Flyers (30-16-7) 67 pts

In Or Out?: In

Trades paid dividends in offseason. Almost no drop in play after their top two scorers left for free agency.

3) Washington Capitals (28-21-4) 62 pts

In or Out?: In, if their goaltending shapes up.

2) Boston Bruins (33-17-2) 68 pts

In or Out?: In

Very strong team that can roll four lines and score on all of them. Rough stretch lately but they will right the ship.

The Rangers are the current beast of the East. (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

1) New York Rangers (33-13-5) 71 pts

In or Out?: In

Despite their horrendous power play, the Rangers from top to bottom are as balanced and strong as any team in the East.

So my playoff positions in the Eastern Conference are as follows,

1) Boston Bruins

2) New York Rangers

3) Washington Capitals

4) Pittsburgh Penguins

5) Philadelphia Flyers

6) Florida Panthers

7) New Jersey Devils

Toronto Maple Leafs

Best chance to sneak in: Buffalo Sabres

-Special thanks to Lars Lewis for his reporting and analysis. Lars can be reached via twitter @larslewis12

Who has the best chance of sneaking into the post season and who will come out of the East? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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Mediocrity Doesn’t Sound So Bad

The Islanders actually looked good against Ovechkin and the Caps. (Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

New York Islanders (17-21-6) 40 pts.

Unless we see something crazy happen, the Islanders are still on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture this year. This past week they went 2-2 including a nice shutout win against the Washington Capitals, but they would have to do a lot better than that to have any shot at the post season. As January winds down, so do the hopes of Islanders fans. The ones who are still hanging on, that is.

Last Thursday, the New York Islanders took on the Philadelphia Flyers in what was a guaranteed tough matchup. The Flyers struck first when Scott Hartnell wristed in his 19th of the season on the power play. In the second period, they added to that with a Wayne Simmonds goal and it remained 2-0 Flyers until the third period. Just twenty-two seconds into the third, Kyle Oksposo finally brought the Islanders within one but they failed to score another before Sean Couturier restored the two-goal lead with only a minute and a half to play. The Islanders did manage to get a second goal with only sixteen seconds remaining but fell short, losing to the Flyers 3-2.

Their following matchup was against the struggling Buffalo Sabres, who have looked just dismal lately. Matt Moulson scored first in the contest, getting his 21st goal of the season. This was the only goal scored in the first period. Buffalo struck back in the second on a Patrick Kaleta goal early on. Okposo regained the lead for New York with a deflection, but only forty-two seconds later Derek Roy tied it back up for the Sabres and that was how it remained after two. It was Michael Grabner who netted the eventual game winner and added an empty net goal at the end to give the Islanders a much-needed 4-2 victory.

After winning such a hard-fought game, the Islanders came out flat against the Nashville Predators in the last of their four-game home stand. Nashville got three goals past 21-year-old Kevin Poulin, who saw just his second start in net of the season for the Isles, due in part to Rick DiPietro’s ongoing groin problems. The game stayed 3-0 for pretty much its entirety until John Tavares finally snapped the shutout with four minutes left. The Islanders played terrible and suffered another loss.

The Islanders really need to step it up and start playing better if they want to even dream about playing in the post season, ever. They are 28th in the NHL with 2.34 goals per game and 23rd with 3.00 goals allowed. They need to play more like the did on Tuesday night when they traveled to Washington to face the Capitals and were dominant. They only allowed 17 shots in the whole game and got a power play goal by Tavares and two by PA Parenteau. One bright spot is the fact that they are now 6th in the NHL when it comes to the power play with 19.4%. The Islanders destroyed a decent Capitals team and showed what they are really capable of if they skate hard. Evgeni Nabokov was credited with the win and a shutout.

-Special thanks to Tyler Perrillo for his reporting and analysis.

There’s always next season? Are there any Islanders fans still out there? Let us know via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

 

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Tough Times Living on the Island

The Islanders are looking up at just about everybody in the East. (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

New York Islanders 11-14-6

Out of all the SeeYouInOctober teams in the NHL the New York Islanders are the worst and now they are looking forward to next season. Their games have been painful, at times, to watch. With 28 games played so far this year, the Islanders have just 24 points, landing them in 14th place in the East. They are 28th in the league when it comes to goals per game and 27th with goals against. Whatever the opposite of the phrase “firing on all cylinders” is, that’s what the Islanders are doing. Is there still hope for this season? Not unless Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, and a few elite D-men all somehow join the team. Even then, it would be difficult to get out of the hole they’re in.

What They’re Doing Right:

On the bright side, the Islanders are getting some decent play out of their top line. Mark Streit has also been answering the bell and playing sound defense as well as producing a lot of points. Besides their last two close losses, the Islanders were on a respectable point streak, getting ten points in five games.

What They’re Doing Wrong:

The Islanders are playing very poorly in their own zone. Goaltenders Al Montoya, Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro were playing well in the beginning of the season but now, even they cannot lift their team past their defensive mistakes. Montoya’s save percentage has dipped to a .916, Nabokov’s to .910, and DiPietro could be replaced by just about anyone, posting a percentage of .876. The Islanders were stealing some games earlier but now that their goalies are coming back down to Earth, it is going to take a miracle to stop the team’s slide. They have three guys with more than 20 points and only seven with 10+ points. In addition to that, only three players have more than four goals. They’re about as deep as a kiddy pool.

Outlook:

The team is healthy and still playing horribly. It’s going to take a lot of work to turn this team around and, to put it bluntly; this is not a core of guys that can get it done. If this team wants any kind of chance at this year’s postseason (or next year’s for that matter), drastic measures have to be taken. Nothing short of a blockbuster trade or coaching cuts will do the trick.

-Special thanks to Tyler Perrillo for his reporting and analysis.

Can the Islanders make this season respectable? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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Realignment: It’s Not Just For Football

Gary Bettman still needs to approve the alignment changes for his hockey empire. (Ron Chenoy/ US Presswire)

Who would have thought the NHL would take it’s cues from college football. Yesterday the NHL announced a realignment in terms of conferences and divisions for the entire NHL. This has been coming for a little while since Atlanta moved to Winnipeg. (Just for those who don’t know Winnipeg is nowhere near anything that resembles Southeast). The shakeup creates four different conferences which are yet to be named, as of now they are just Conference A, B, C and D. There are eight teams in the A and B conferences which are the Western conferences. The C and D have seven teams each and are the more Eastern conferences. The playoffs will now be the top four teams from each conference playing each other. Then the winner of that mini-bracket will play the winner of the corresponding conference (i.e. the winner of Eastern C plays winner of Eastern D).

For SeeYouInOctober’s purposes the A and B conference aren’t of much interest beyond a general fan hood of hockey. It is the C and D conferences that speak to the Northeast hockey fan. Conference C bosts a roster of the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.

For those of you who like to get your information from TV graphics.

The D confeence is perhaps even more stacked with the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. That’s a hefty looking group of teams. (Well except the Islanders). So let’s take a look at what this realignment got right and what it got wrong.

The Good

Initially looking at the D conference a hockey fan might think that it is too stacked with too many good teams and players. For example Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, arguably the faces of the NHL both in the same conference rather than in separate ones to spread the fame. However this speaks to what the NHL did a great job of keeping alive, despite the radical changes. That is keeping alive the rivalries and bad blood in hockey. Sid the Kid and Ovechkin might be the best players but they also are heated rivals. Can you imagine an NHL season without Devils versus Flyers? Rangers versus Devils? Bruins versus Montreal? Even on the West the old rivalries have been held up. (Chicago versus Detroit anyone?). Not only will these rivalries continue in the regular season they will be brought to the crazed emotional clusterbomb of the NHL playoffs.

The NHL is still the forgotten child of the professional sports family in America. (With the MLS being the child that was dropped off at the orphanage because the parents didn’t have any interest in watching it). This realignment makes the league radically different and more intriguing than the leagues that dominate it in the ratings every year. It is almost a mashup of the introduction of divisions and divisional playoffs and the structure of the old NHL and MLB where the best team of not four or five but the whole conference played for the leagues championship.

Although currently the conferences have no names it opens up a host of pssibilities for naming the conference. I for one hope they do not go the boring route and have the Northeast, Atlantic, Midwest and Western conferences that would make sense geographically, with the exception of Tampa Bay in the Northeast. They could name it for legendary players (i.e. Conference C as the Bobby Orr Conference. Though that may just be my Bruins fanhood). Or this could bring back the Prince of Wales Trophy and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl so that hockey can continue it’s domination of having the best championship trophies.

The Bad

Obviously simple math may have alluded those that formed this realignment. The two Eastern conferences have seven teams each and the two Western conferences have

Rivalries will still be in tact. So this can still happen and probably even more in the playoffs.

eight each. That means if you root for a team in the West you have to hope your team can get one of four spots in the playoffs over eight opponents rather than seven. In the east more than half the teams in each conference will be in the playoffs. That is pretty significant but with only 30 teams there was no way to split it into conferences of even

teams. Perhaps they could have had Nashville or Columbus in the D conference. Columbus is just a three hour commute from Pittsburgh and assuming the NHL isn’t forcing these teams to travel by bus everywhere Nashville is within a reasonable distance of Carolina and even Tampa Bay.

The issue with the number of teams also speaks to the issue with how many teams make the playoffs. Although the NHL postseason is probably the most appealling aspect of the league it still drags on for far too long. (So does the NBA which isn’t nearly as good until the second or even Conference championship rounds.) It would have been nice if the realignment also cut the number of playoff teams as well but as long as there is money to make that won’t happen.

The Ugly

Now borderline fans may be turned off by the confusion they might feel next year when everything is completely switched around which may alienate some and hurt expansion of the leagues fan base. This isn’t really that realistic though as a borderline fan would probably only watch the playoffs anyway and with the internet on evvery appliance people have now a days they can probably look up the changes and what it means next season on their microwave while watching a streaming Detroit versus Philadelphia game on their combo computer tablet/toaster oven.

-Phil

What do you think of conference realignment? What did the NHL get right? Wrong? Neither? Let us know on Twitter (@seeuinoctober) or sound off in the comments.

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Super Bad In a Bad Way

At least the Islanders look good in their winter wear.

New York Islander 4-8-3 (11pts.)

You have to feel for the Islanders. It’s been a really bad season so far and with all the talent they have on that team it’s just downright dumbfounding that they can’t get more wins and at least be competitive. They have so many young talented guys, good goaltenders, and one of the most passionate owners in sports. Coach Jack Capuano is not getting it done and there is little room for error for this team. Last week the Islanders blew a win against the Colorado Avalanche, were handled by the Vancouver Canucks, and suffered a depressing loss against the Rangers at home.

The Islanders seemed to have a little fire in them last Thursday when they faced the Avalanche. Josh Bailey, Brian Rolston and Michael Grabner all found the back of the net as the Islanders found themselves up by three goals with the game half over. However, when something seems too good to be true, it often is and, once again, the Islanders started their patented collapse. Only 20 seconds remained in the second period when Paul Statsny scored a power play goal to make the score 3-1. In the third, Colorado scored two more to come back on the Islanders. The game went into overtime and Al Montoya was charged with a high-stick. Kyle Quincy drove the stake into the Islanders’ hearts when he scored on the power play with a wrist shot from the point to win the game.

On Sunday, the Islanders played finished up a three game road trip with the Vancouver Canucks. Although the Canucks were in the finals last season, they have been struggling this year at 9-9-1. This was a game the Islanders had a shot at but the Canucks struck first scoring a goal in the opening minutes of both the first and second periods. Vancouver dominated the game winning 4-1 in a disappointing loss putting the Islanders winless on the road trip.

Talent? Check. Goaltending? Check. Coaching? Question mark. (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Islanders faced the Rangers at the Coliseum on Tuesday and lost there by a score of 2-4. (Check out a full report in the Rangers recap: http://wp.me/p1Ome5-hs). Last night the Islanders finally snapped their skid beating the dreadful Canadians 4-3 with all their goals coming in the second period.

The Islanders looked dreadful this past week. They beat themselves every third period and their energy seems lost by the end of every game as they lose battles to the puck. Defensively, they need to step up to the opposing forwards and stop giving them chances in front of the net. Their keepers are getting beat on second and third chances because the puck isn’t cleared out of the zone. The Islanders have the second fewest goals per game with 2.07. It’s only a matter of time before they start calling for Capuano’s head in Nassau.

-Special thanks to Tyler Perrillo for his reporting and analysis.

How can the Islanders turn it around? Should the they make a coaching change? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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The View From the Bottom

After an impressive win over the Capitals, the Islanders lose to the Bruins. (Elsa/Getty Images))

New York Islanders 4-6-2 (10 pts.)

The Islanders, once again, find themselves at the bottom of the totem poll.  They currently sit in 29th place after cooling off from a red-hot start. However, with the fewest games played (12) things look worse than they actually are. Last week the Islanders were shut out by the struggling Winnipeg Jets, beat the otherwise dominant Washington Capitals, and were lit up by the Boston Bruins, who have also gotten off to a poor start.

The Jets have been anything but impressive this year after moving from Atlanta, but the Islanders could not do anything against them. They were forced to pull Rick DiPietro in the hopes of a miracle, but they fell to the lowly Jets 3-0 after Alexander Burmistrov scored an empty netter.

After getting shutout by the Jets, the Islanders were able to conquer the Washington Capitals in improbable fashion. Washington scored two in the first, including Ovechkin’s 6th of the season and it was shaping up to be another blowout. That’s where the comeback began. Franz Nielson scored just 1:41 into the second and Brian Rolston tallied another at the end of the period when his slap shot trickled through the pads of Tomas Vokoun for his first goal as a New York Islander. After trading goals in the third period, the game came down to the last few minutes when PA Parenteau broke the tie with 1:46 remaining in the game. With little time left, the Caps were forced to pull their goalie and John Tavares sealed the game with an empty netter.

In their next match, the confusing Islanders were beaten 6-2 by the Bruins. Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner had the Isles’ only two goals of the game, both in the first period. Evgeni Nabokov played poorly in net for the Islanders and was relieved by Al Montoya at the end of the first.

One of the biggest problems for the Islanders is the three-headed goalie monster that they have been using. Al Montoya, and Rick DiPietro are both first string keepers. Nabokov seems to be struggling and a three-goalie rotation just doesn’t work. They need to get rid of Nabokov and play games that they are capable of playing like the upset against Washington. With poor netminding and an inconsistent offense the Islanders have to face the Avalanche, Canucks and division rival Rangers over their next three games. They are all winnable, but with the way this team has played, nothing is certain.

-Special thanks to Tyler Perrillo for his insight and analysis.

What do the Islanders need to do to salvage the season after a poor start? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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Heartbreaking Losses Still Result in Points

Evengi Nabakov has played well in the net, too bad the team can't score. (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

New York Islanders 3-4-2 (8 pts.)

This past week, the Islanders took two good clubs into overtime. Unfortunately, they lost both games. Getting a point against the Penguins and another against the Sharks has to be seen as a positive result. With just 13 games played, the Pens lead the NHL with 18 points and the Sharks are a borderline playoff team with 12 points in 10 games.

Franz Nielson netted the first score for the Islanders in their game versus the Penguins last Thursday night off Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo. Streit is off to a fast start with eight points. It remained 1-0 until the beginning of the third when the Islanders struck again. Matt Martin ripped a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury for his first of the season. However, in hockey they say a two-goal lead is the most dangerous because teams can get comfortable and sure enough the Pens tied it up scoring two in the third. Chris Kunitz had the first and James Neal chipped in with his ninth of the season on the power play. The game went to a shootout where the Islanders, determined to lose, put in Rick DiPietro, cold off the bench. It was the $68 million man’s first action of the season due to an

The Islanders are playing teams tough. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

“undisclosed injury” as he relieved Evgeni Nabokov in the net. The result was an overtime loss for the Islanders in a game where they should have stolen two points off Pittsburgh.

Their matchup against the San Jose Sharks was a more traditional overtime loss. After allowing a goal in the first, the Islanders crawled back and scored two of their own in the second via John Tavares (7) and Micahel Grabner (3), both on the power play. A tally by Logan Couture later in the second tied it at two a piece and Brent Burns brought it home for the Sharks on a power play goal in overtime.

Two points this past week was more than expected from this Islanders team. They have been getting great goaltending from both Evegeni Nabokov and Al Montoya. Both their power play and penalty kill numbers are well above average.  The reason the Islanders are not winning more games is because they need to play better five on five. They need more goals and the defense has to play better when the team is at even strength. If these problems can be corrected, the team has enough talent to win some games, especially with the dismal Jets and Bruins on their upcoming schedule.

-Special thanks to Tyler Perrillo for his insight and analysis.

Can the Islanders make some noise in the Atlantic? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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The First Tenth- Atlantic Division

The Rangers have lived on stellar goaltending (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Rangers- 3-2-2 8 points

The Rangers have failed to impress so far this season starting off at 3-2-2 and have posted dismal offensive numbers reminding fans of last season. At only 2 goals per game so far this season, the Rangers are tied for second worst in the league. Offensively they look flatter than Ally McBeal. On a positive note, Marian Gaborik has gotten off to a nice start to the season, already burying four goals. Brad Richards has four assists, but only one goal and the Rangers are looking for a lot more production out of him going forward.

The Blue Shirts can’t blame the goaltending. Both Hendrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron have given them stellar net minding allowing only 1.86 goals per game, which is third best in the league. Defensively this is a tough team. They have allowed four goals or fewer in their first handful of games and have lost by no more than two points. The Rangers play all of their opponents tough and with a little more offensive production they can turn close losses into wins they desperately need.

Fortunately the Rangers are starting a six game home stand tonight at Madison Square Garden. They will open with a game against the Northeast Division leading Toronto Maple Leafs. While they have gotten off to a good start to the year they are giving up 3.38 goals per game, which is good for second worst. Hopefully playing the poor defensive Leafs will give the offense a spark. The rest of the teams they will face are all sitting at the bottom of their divisions. The Blue Shirts are looking to come out of this stretch of games an improved team.  Ex-governor Paterson err… uh… John Tortorella (Patterson’s twin?), is going to have to find a way to motivate his team. The Atlantic Division is proving to be among the toughest in hockey again and mediocre just won’t cut it this season.

New York Islanders 3-4-0 6 Points

The Islanders are a confusing team. They started off hot this season with a 3-1 record before dropping the next three games in a row setting them, once again, in the cellar of the Atlantic Division. Before this season started, I predicted a terrible year for this team and I was starting to second-guess myself. Now I am starting to third-guess myself? When looking at the Islanders it’s hard to really point out any major flaws. They seem to either play really well or just give up. Even in some of the games that they lost, I felt that they played well for at least a portion of the game. Their talent is unquestionable. Their roster features a lot

Tavares gives the Islanders hope. (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

of young guys that are exciting to watch. John Tavares has 10 points already (6 goals and 4 assists), placing him 6thin the league. However, similar to the Rangers and Devils, they aren’t getting a lot of production outside of Tavares. They are tied with both their divisional rivals along with two other teams for second worst goals per game in the league.

The Islanders’ goaltending has been solid so far with Montoya and Nabokov splitting starts. The goaltenders seem to be playing with the same trends as the rest of the team, on some nights, not so on other nights. At 2.43 goals against, they find themselves right in the middle of the pack. Their victories have been impressive with a four goal victory over Tampa Bay, a gutsy win against Minnesota and a solid two goal defeat of the Rangers. However, their defeats have been less than inspiring, especially their shutout loss to the division leading Penguins. Tonight they will play Pittsburgh again as they travel to their ice to take on Syd the Kid and company. After that their schedule doesn’t get much easier, outside of a game against the Winnipeg Jets who play hockey about as well as the New York Jets.

Overall, they have the pieces to get it done. The Islanders want to be taken seriously as a team but they are going to have to prove that they deserve it. They’re not far off the track so far and with more consistency this team could make a surprise run for the playoffs.

New Jersey Devils 4-2-1 9 Points

The Devils have looked impressive so far this season. They’re sitting at 4-2-1 currently, which is third in the Atlantic, although they have only played 7 games  whereas Pittsburgh and Philly have played 11 and 9 respectively. The vintage Devils’ defensive look is still there, but they lack firepower on offense to get it done. This start is a little surprising with Martin Broduer on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and the Devils relying on Johan Hedberg to get wins. Hedberg has filled that role exceptionally allowing 2.12 goals per game with a shutout to his credit.

After being shut out by the Flyers in their first game, the Devils bounced back and have looked dominant in some cases.  Despite all the things going right for

Not much scoring going on in the Atlantic Division. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

the Devils, there are two major areas of concern for the team. First, three games have been decided in a shootout. They won the first two and despite a lead in the third period against the Sharks, they eventually lost. When playing this many close games, they are bound to get burned once in a while. The Devils need to get wins in regulation. The second problem is that only the major players are scoring. They are getting production out of Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk, and David Clarkson, but they need to see other players to step up and score. Depth was a problem for this team last year.

In their upcoming games the Devs will face stiff competition from the Maple Leafs and Flyers. This is a time for them to prove that they are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The season is young, but watching the team this year, I can’t help but feel that this will right itself.

-Special thanks to Tyler Perrillo for his analysis and insight on the Atlantic Division.

How do you feel about your team’s start to the season? Let us know via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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