After watching at least 40 of the Islanders soon to be 50 games this year, this is a team that reminds me of the Devils organization, where defense is first priority, a lot of one goal games, a top netminder, and no matter who is inserted into the lineup, the system is working to the teams benefit. Many believed that this would be another non-playoff year for the Islanders, and quite a few thought the same about the Devils this year as well, but after the first half, the Devils are in first place in the division as of this blog, and with a win tonite will secure a 7th place playoff spot for the Islanders. Not bad for two teams that have the lowest goals produced in the conference.
But the Islanders have three key players that, if they can produce, will not only spark their own confidence, but the rest of the teams as well, and could possibly improve that 7th place standing. The first key player is Ruslan Fedotenko. When Fedotenko scores, the Islanders are 6-2. Trent Hunter, a popular trade rumor around the internet bloggers of Long Island, is having possibly his second best season as an Islander, who is on pace for 42 points, and was recently given an "A" while Brendan Witt was out. If he and Sillinger can get the puck to Fedotenko more, and scores a few, watch the confidence go up in Fedotenko and that whole line. The next key player is Sean Bergenheim. He's only scored 3 goals, but the Islanders are 3-0 when he scores, and no, none of those games were when Fedotenko scored either. He is starting to catch on to the game and has 2 goals in his last 13 games, which is an improvement from the first time he scored in October. The line of Vasicek, Satan and Bergenheim are the best defensive minded line the Islanders have and you'll see the point totals go up for everybody, if Bergenheim gets hot. The third and final key player is Blake Comeau. He has 4 points in his last 8 games and is always improving. Nolan will most likely give him more time on the ice to improve and may actually imrove the goal scoring of a few forwards who could use the goals. If Comeau can get Witt to score, he can get anyone to score.
If these three can step up and improve, watch the points continue to go up, despite the rest of us on our seats, sweating out every one goal game we see this season.