Islanders perfect in standings, but still have work to do


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

NEW YORK — The Islanders are off to a perfect start this season, but their 6-3 win over the New York Rangers was far from it on Tuesday night.

And while the players and coaching staff were happy about the win, there was no back patting in the Islanders dressing room. The visitors from Long Island played a strong third period from start to finish. The dominating four goal period helped push them passed the city dwelling Blue Shirts, but their first two periods put them in a serious bind.

“I thought we weren’t playing a very good hockey game. We were turning pucks over a lot and we gave up over 40 shots tonight, so I think we feel fortunate to have a goaltender that really kept us in the game,” John Tavares said. “I just like the way everyone came out hungry, played aggressive in the third there and we got rewarded. We knew we had to be a lot better after the first forty.”

Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano went into the team dressing room after the second period to rally his troops after they did not play, what he called, the “Islander way.” To read more of this story, click here

Game recap: Islanders 6 — Rangers 3

Recap: The unbeaten Islanders (3-0-0) broke it open with four third-period goals to win at Madison Square Garden, 6-3.

Need to Know: After Jaroslav Halak fended off the Rangers in the second period with 21 saves, the Isles poured it on in the third on goals by Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson, Mikhail Grabovski and Nick Leddy in a span of 10:11. Okposo started off the barrage 48 seconds in to the period to break a 2-2 tie.

John Tavares, Grabovski and Okposo (goal, assist) and Ryan Strome (two assists) were the Islanders with two points.

Halak had 40 saves on 43 shots; the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist had 21 saves on 27 shots.

The Islanders hadn’t started 3-0 since 2001, when they got off to a 4-0 start.

Links: AP recap | Box Score

What’s Next: The Isles host San Jose Thursday (7 p.m.).

Tonight’s Game: Islanders at Rangers

The Islanders and Rangers square off at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. It can be seen on MSG+2.

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders. He is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 GAA in his last five starts against the Rangers.

The Islanders have four power-play goals on eight opportunities, while the Rangers have yet to score with the man advantage despite eight chances. The Islanders’ penalty kill has been vulnerable, however, surrendering four goals on nine power plays.

John Tavares has gone without a point in six of the last seven meetings, though he had three assists in a 5-3 win at MSG on Jan. 21.

For more on the Rangers/Islanders matchup, visit

Isles postpone presser…

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Oh Boy-chuk, what a start!’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of Islanders Point Blank look back at a wonderful weekend for the Isles. Plus, the guys preview Tuesday night’s game with the Rangers.

For the show rundown, click here...

  • Isles sweep Canes
    • Brock Nelson
    • Last opener at the Coliseum
    • The New Guys
    • Josh Bailey
    • Brian Strait
  •’s Pete Jensen talks Fantasy Hockey (9:45)
  • Isles-Rangers preview (17:19)

Some thoughts after the Isles home opener


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Islanders are now 2-0 in their first two games for the first time in seven years. More importantly, they kicked off their farewell to the Nassau Coliseum with a win on a night that was the most emotionally charged since game 3 in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguin.

For the game story click here and for the feature on the final home opener at the Coliseum click here.

Below are some quick thoughts and notes from Saturday night’s game:

  • It’s hard not to commend the fans who showed up early in the morning to tailgate. I even heard several had slept in their cars to get prime tailgating real estate. They were out in force, loud and proud the entire day. The constant Islanders horn honk was echoing throughout the Coliseum parking lot throughout the day. Inside the building, it felt like the 2013 playoffs all over again. The crowd brought the energy and the barn was deafening when the players took the ice.
  • Another hand has to go to the game operations staff and Islanders for their opening intros. The team passed on the usual individual player introductions and instead took the ice for the first regular season game at the coliseum as a one. The pregame video and countdown was well done. As a whole the introductory ceremony was well done.
  • Brock Nelson… Enough said. The second year player has played lights out hockey through the first two games of the season. For the moment, Nelson leads the NHL in points with six ( three goals, three assists). Early on it seems Nelson is becoming the player a lot of people have been hoping he would develop into.
  • The power play has looked very good for through the first two games of the year. The are 4-for-8 through the first two games and has seen a vast improvement from last season. Johnny Boychuk on the point has become a deadly weapon and a much needed power play quarterback. The puck movement has looked solid during the man-advantage and the Isles have been capitalizing.
  • On the other hand the penalty kill has struggled. They have gone 5-for-9 on the penalty kill, which is not terrible, but it is something that will need to be addressed. At times it has looked disjointed and Carolina capitalized on those mistakes. The one positive to take is that the PK did seem to look better as the game progressed. It will be something the Isles will work on before they see the Rangers on Tuesday at the Garden.

Isles fans begin their goodbyes to Nassau Coliseum

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The goodbyes to the Nassau Coliseum began early Saturday morning.

A smattering of fans had already set up tents in the Coliseum parking lot by the time players began to file into the building for the morning skate at 10:30 am. Johnny Boychuk, who has been staying at the Marriot right across from the Coliseum, said he heard them in the morning.

“I heard people tailgating. It actually woke me up,” he said, while chuckling, after the Islanders 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. “It was a little bit different, but it was good to see you that you have passionate fans.”

Where TD Garden is situated in Boston there isn’t much room to tailgate, so the experience was new for the team’s newest defenseman. Saturday will serve as Boychuk’s first and last time experience the home opener tradition at the Nassau Coliseum. It was also the fans final time to celebrate a new season by firing up the grill in the Coliseum parking lot. To read more of this story, click here