Islanders 2, Blue Jackets 0: Isles Hold Two-Goal Lead, Shutout Jackets

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Kevin Schultz

With 41 saves from Evgeni Nabokov, the Islanders put a damper on Columbus’ playoff hopes at the Coliseum this afternoon with a shutout win. For Nabokov, it was his third shutout of the year and he was named first start of the game. In a post-game interview with MSG’s Peter Ruttgaizer, he reminded those in attendance that he was feeling good by telling the Coliseum crowd “I still got it!” before telling the same to the assembled media in the Isles hallway. 

Maybe today was a bit of public posturing by the 38-year old unrestricted free agent to be or maybe it was some of his trademark personality.

Regardless of the reason, Nabokov brought to the forefront an off-season question for the Islanders; do they stick with the safety blanket that has been effective but not amazing between the pipes or do they move on to someone else?

Goaltending has not been the Islanders strong suit this year by any stretch of the imagination. The team, prior to today’s 41-save shutout, had a NHL-worst .888 save percentage, which is the best metric of goaltender evaluation. Nabokov had a personal mark of .898 prior to the game, which was better than Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson but well below  this year’s NHL average of .913.

So do the Islanders bring Nabokov back as a starter or backup? You’d certainly have to hope they don’t choose the former and pursue a better option either via trade (the unhappy James Reimer from Toronto?) or an unrestricted free agent.

The re-sign Nabokov campaign started in earnest at the Coliseum this afternoon, but it doesn’t make sense in anything more than a backup role. After three seasons, it’s time to move on.

*  *  *

Of course there was a whole hockey game played, the result of which matters now in determining the Islanders draft pick at the end of the year, should they choose to not give it to Buffalo for the Thomas Vanek trade.

Cal Clutterbuck started the scoring seven minutes into the first period. After Johan Sundstrom tried a wraparound, the puck came loose in the slot where Clutterbuck picked it up and zipped it into the net past Sergei Bobrovsky. The Islanders would add another to their lead just prior to the second intermission, as Travis Hamonic pulled off his best Mark Streit and skated right through the Columbus defense, which has got to be some of the worst penalty killing of the year:

From there, the Islanders entered the third with the “dreaded two-goal lead,” but chose to hold onto this one against a Columbus team that looked like the just didn’t have their legs. The Islanders also retired their black third jerseys today, ending with a 7-12-5 record in those unis.

Next up for the Islanders is a road trip that goes through Carolina on Tuesday and Tampa Bay on Thursday. They return home on Saturday to host the Devils.




281 comments
tag1
tag1

I just saw this in the Post, very interesting:


Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said on Monday he planned to relocate his company that runs the Brooklyn Nets basketball team to Russia, in keeping with the Kremlin’s call on Russian businessmen to repatriate their assets to help combat new US sanctions.

Well I guess we know who he is loyal to. 

TonyM
TonyM

                    @Vic73   At this point Toronto would take Beetle Bailey for Reimer!

wally1616
wally1616

Is it just me or does Halmo remind you of the "Toy Tiger" Gary Howatt? Halmo's, an inch taller with short arms flailing and rag dolling Comeau brings  back fond memories of the good old years. I like this kid. He's a keeper.

mrcisback
mrcisback

@tag1   You know what Tag i can't tell if your a comedian or a wise guy. I read your response to my comments earlier. The reason why i say why the Islanders will be a much better team next year is because Nelson, Strome and Lee will be much better players next year. They'll be on the team from day one. Each of those players should score some where between 30 and 50 points each. That should solidify the offense for the Islanders. Now the defense should be much better with the additions of Griffen Reinhart and Ryan Pulock. Ryan Pulock is absolutely tearing up the minors. He should make the team. In my opinion the only way the Islanders are a bad team again is if John Tavares is out for the entire 2014-15 season and if the Islanders fail to improve the Goaltending. If you haven't figured it out yet i always try to stay positive when it comes to the Islanders. Theres enough of negativity around here when it comes to the Islanders.

dkdk
dkdk

And I would take a 1964 VW Beetle for Bailey

jepliberty
jepliberty

@wally1616

Halmo is a human punching bag, check out his fights on hockeyfights .com.

camb33
camb33

@wally1616 ughhh...no!     he beat up blake comeau, I repeat blake comeau...what happens when someone who can actually fight hits stome in that situation...halmo would run for the hills

camb33
camb33

@mrcisback @tag1 mrc...we had hope for you but you proved yourself to bE a joke....move on

John Richards
John Richards

The goaltending will be just as bad so ergo pencil in another non playoff year!!

dkdk
dkdk

I love the negativity point, love it. This isn't a chicken and egg thing. The team's performance doesn't stem from comments. The team's terrible performance stems from a cheapskate, criminal owner, an inept coach, an even more inept GM, and no scouts. If those elements were to change the comments would be very positive. But being positive in the face of this mess would be insane.

ejej
ejej

@dkdk - At this point dk, I would take Bubbles over #12...

tag1
tag1

@camb33 You mean fighting comeau isn't like fighting Dave Schultz?

willymayshays
willymayshays

@mitchfritz @wally1616 

It's nice to have depth in the AHL, good depth.  Someone who can come up in the case of injury  play 10 minutes bring some youthful energy and avoid being a huge hole.  I like Hamlo for those reasons.  NHL level "keeper"... certainly not yet, maybe though, one day.  But he certainly would have to develop well.


I always look at good depth with more importance than most.  It is something, completely, (and almost always) unappreciated by most fans.  The way some prospects get treated on top of that pisses me off.  One example for me was Ullstrom.  I was hoping he would have made the team this yr.  But Snow wouldn't give him an NHL contract so he left.  Speed, aggressive forechecking with some offensive upside.  Instead Regin /Bouchbag get a contract.  You know I like Donovan, but I'm not making him out to be more than he is.   I'm hoping he could pushed to a bottom pairing with a great top 4 above him.  Prospects like Nino, Strome and Nelson are not getting developed right.  And the development of lesser yet good prospects like Donovan or Ullstrom are utterly neglected.  It is akin to trading Matty for someone who is not going to stay here.  The Islanders throw away what little they have, too often, and replace them with lesser talent.  One step forward, two steps back should be slogan.

dkdk
dkdk

I mean it isn't like we had Dryden last year and he ripped up a knee and retired and needs to be replaced. The goaltending was just as bad last year and several young goalies moved but none to us. Another 12 moved at the deadline and none to us. If we don't get hiller or miller , and we won't, how are we drastically upgrading?

rjmatty
rjmatty

@dkdk  100% correct. There is a difference between being negative and being realistic. True without goaltending next season is over. To expect two kids defensemen no less who are "tearing it up in the minors" to come in and be impact players is silly. The point is this franchise hasn't won a playoff series in over 20 years. The owner without the Lighthouse could care less about the team and will not spend money. The GM is probably the worst in the NHL and he replaced THE worst GM in the NHL. Capuano, I'm not so critical of, he doesn't have much other than a couple of players to work with. This has been what an 8/9 year rebuild? Wishing for a good team isn't going make it a good team, and who here really trusts Snow to do this?

ejej
ejej

@tag1- Ahh, the Odd Couple, ranks up there with the Honeymooners and Taxi. Hell, almost forgot the "meathead" and Archie. 


Tag, remember on the OC the episode "Oscars Ulcer"? Man, that was a classic. "You point a loaded tamale at your stomach and accuse me of pulling the trigger'? How about the scene in the restaurant when Oscar is gorging himself with Mexican food, the heavy set guy is in the backround listening to Felix say all the bad of spicy food. Finally the guy walks out holding his stomach with two hands...LOL


The cast of Taxi was loaded. Ahhh, Elaine, humanahumana..

tag1
tag1

@ejej @dkdk mrc remember what Felix Unger said what happens when you assume? You are assuming a lot of positives there and Goring himself said you really cant judge these young players playing these meaningless games.

Habs/Bruins now that was a fun game to watch

ejej
ejej

@dkdk - All is well pal, likewise. I meant the post to the other side, not you. Just to clarify, in case you thought I was still under yesterday's spell of the crystal ball, LOL. 


When one reads multiple "should", that falls right into future tense....exactly. Remember the hype from Snow with the famous Ty Wishart for Dwyane Roloson trade? Another stud Dman to anchor the future. How did that work out? He's currently playing in a German league...

John Richards
John Richards

Yep and unless Lee is the real deal we will have no first line!! Strome is nothing special!! A little boy who is weak 5on 5!!

dkdk
dkdk

What's up EJ! Hope all is well.

I mean multiple people posted the year by year record under snow. What makes anyone think next year is dramatically better? Of course it could happen, but what assurance is there? We needed a goalie for years and haven't gotten one. We are going to be without Moulson/Vanek too meaning once again JT will have to break in another new winger. It is an every deal for the poor kid.

ejej
ejej

@dkdk - Unless you were receiving one of these:


Charles B. Wang, LLC                                                                                    3050

1255 Hempstead Turnpike 

Uniondale, NY. 11553


Pay to the order of______________________________________  Amount__________


Memo: Schill Account                           _________________________Authorized Signer

dkdk
dkdk

A bubble would play tougher

erika
erika

@tag1 I never said he was as GOOD as Howatt, but he is a tough little SOB, and not a complete goon...he can put up some points. Plays with lots of energy as well. Now, granted we have seen a small sample size, but so far, I like him!

Vicp73
Vicp73

@jepliberty @Vicp73 @ejej  Another beast, Kocur had the most devastating right hand! Him and Tony Twist both could do damage with those right handed bombs

ejej
ejej

@jepliberty- Hey Jep. That would of been PJ Stock for the Bruins. Another one of those smallish type, but could go.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@ejej @tag1

Check out that guy Stock, can't recall his first name but for  a short guy, as tough as they come.

tag1
tag1

@Vicp73  Vanek might have to fight tonight

tag1
tag1

@Vicp73 @tag1@ejej love this type of hockey Vic can the Habs stand up to the Bruins toughness?

tag1
tag1

@ejej He can't seem to find the right goalie for starters how many number ones have the Caps gone through under Mcphee?

ejej
ejej

@tag1- They were going to clean house when Bruce Boudreau was let go, but McPhee  was retained. Time could be all out there..

Vicp73
Vicp73

@tag1 @Vicp73 @ejej  i would say average, nothing special. What do you think of Mcphee Tag? I mean he'd be better then goofball Snow

ejej
ejej

@Vicp73- Wow, interesting on McPhee. But he has had Lionesis' full support now for some years. Talk about a good fighter, George could throw em good back in his days.

tag1
tag1

@Vicp73 @ejej Has Mcphee done such a great job in Washington considering he can spend?

Vicp73
Vicp73

@tag1 @ejej @Vicp73  Healy is awesome to. He would be the perfect guy for this organization, only problem is he wouldn't take any of Chuckles BS

tag1
tag1

@ejej @Vicp73 Glen Healy formally of heels and flats comes off as someone who might get into hockey management when I listen to him.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@ejej @Vicp73  I haven't heard anything along those lines, but i also didn;t spend anytime listening to the fan today. I did hear George Mcphee was on his way out of Washington and possibly headed to Calgary as the new GM.  

ejej
ejej

@Vicp73- Have you hear any rumors on Ray Ferraro possibly leaving the set on TSN for an assistant GM or VP of Hockey Ops? One of my friends from Quebec emailed me over the weekend and said that is a live rumor in the Toronto area.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@mitchfritz  Saw Bobby when i was a young fellow fight Jim Korn  at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1984. Bobby kicked the living sh-t out of Korn. You should youtube that fight Mitch. 


 Bobby was def one of my favorites of all-time

Vicp73
Vicp73

@tag1 @Vicp73 @ejej  He apparently was the runner up to Bergevin for the Montreal GM position. I never thought of Pierre as a GM  but it makes sense, that guy knows every single hockey player from junior to high school hockey, guys an encyclopedia 

ejej
ejej

@tag1- The "bomber" could thrown them for sure. And thank god for Gord Miller tonight, one of the best. Doc has become a voice that I cannot handle anymore...great man, but no mas on the mic...

tag1
tag1

@Vicp73 @tag1@ejej JD did pretty good going from the booth into management so why not. Gord Miller is so much better than Doc.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@tag1 @Vicp73 @ejej  Great combo there Tag. Gord Miller one of the best, Mcguire sometimes annoying is a wealth of hockey knowledge. If i'm Wang i would hire Pierre in a second to run my hockey opps

Vicp73
Vicp73

@ejej @Vicp73  Domi was the type you hated playing against but loved on your team

tag1
tag1

@Vicp73 @ejej We got lucky here tonight Vic we got Bruins-Habs with Gord Miller calling the game with McGuire.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@ejej @Vicp73  My list of top 5 of all time:


Bob Probert

Dave Brown

Larry Playfair 

Dave Semenko

Clark Gillies

Vicp73
Vicp73

@ejej @Vicp73  Another great fighter and smaller guy was Wendel Clark back in his early years. Not many guys got the upper hand on Wendel.



tag1
tag1

@ejej @Vicp73 then the Russians got back on the ice just as fast when they were told they wouldn't be paid if they didn't finish the game.

ejej
ejej

@Vicp73- Hi Vic..Dave Brown put a whopping on Tie Domi back in the days. Only one of a few that have hurt Tie. You've played organized pucks Vic, you know a short skater like Domi with good balance that can fight is a tough combo. 


For a tough SOB, Domi could skate well too. I'm 6-1 and 225LBS and a very good skater, not to sound like someone we all know and love. My point is that I would rather engage a big boy in the corners or in front of the crease than a little guy with good wheels and balance. There was a kid back in high school that played on our rival team, man, hated to play against him. Could not get him off his skates for all the tea in China.


Wilson and Cochrane were some tough critters. Like you said, the Broad Street Bullies back then were loaded. Bob "hound dog" Kelly, Paul Holgrem, Bobby Clarke, the Watson brothers, Andre "moooose" Dupont, Dave Shultz. Remember when the Russians came to the Spectrum in '76, they got off that ice faster than fast once the Flyers started to throw their weight around.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@ejej @tag1  Philly always had tough teams, remember Behn Wilson and Glen Cochrane? Tough sob's

ejej
ejej

@tag1- Yeah Tag, good call on Bourny. He was not known for dropping the mitts, but could handle himself well. My favorite memory was in the '83 playoffs vs. the Rags at the Coli, he rounded his own net and was in full flight by the time he hit his own blue line, undressed Reijo Ruotsalainen and beat I think Steve Weeks. 

ejej
ejej

@mitchfritz- Good call Mitch, RIP for Kordi, but he was tough as nails. Passed on at only 27...look up some of his bouts on YouTube. The kid has that glare in his eyes, loved to fight.

tag1
tag1

@mitchfritz @tag1 a lot of the guys on those Cup teams could fight Mitch, Bobby Bourne was a underrated fighter in those days if you had no toughness you couldn't win the cup.

tag1
tag1

@erika But comparing him to Gary Howatt is ludicrous, he's no Howatt go on youtube and watch some of Howatt's fights and how much size he gave up.

erika
erika

@mitchfritz @tag1He fought Blake C because that's who hit our player, not because he thought he could take him, sheesh...not much as far as compliments with the Isles this year, but at least give credit where credit is due....who else stood up to Commeau??

tag1
tag1

@ejej @tag1 Yes ej I remember Brown, in those days the Flyers didn't lack in the fighting dept.

I remember Nystrom fighting Nick Fotiu when Fotiu was with the Whalers and he held his own pretty good..

ejej
ejej

@tag1- Hey Tag. You remember Dave Brown for the Flyers? Came in the '82 season, he was a baaad man.


How about Stan Jonathan for the Bruins? Little guy, but mean as a snake and could throw em with anybody.


Bob Probert and Tie Domi got into some classics. A few more bad dudes that I liked: Gino Odjick, Chris Nilan, Dave "tiger" Williams.


wally1616
wally1616

@willymayshays I checked out his AHL bouts and must say I stand corrected. Guess it was wishful thinking on my behalf.