Islanders Puck Talk – Should anyone be surprised by this hot start?
Obviously it’s a loaded question because there was no way any fan could predict that the Islanders would have points in 14 straight games. However, has the hockey community once again looked over the Islanders because they aren’t sexy? Have the Islanders not garnered any respect coming into this season because they didn’t have the “firepower” to compete in a tough Metro?
No matter how you slice it, the Islanders are an excellent team. They were an excellent team last season, good for 103 points and second in the Metro Division. They swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Unfortunately they ran into a red-hot Carolina Hurricanes team and were swept. However, it was a successful and surprising season overall.
This season rolls around and it’s more of the same. What has changed for the Islanders? Not really all that much. The only two big moves they made were bring in Derick Brassard and Semyon Varlamov, as well as say goodbye to fan-favorite Robin Lehner. What have the results been? Well more of the same.
The Islanders have given up only two goals per game in their 14 game point streak. They have a surprisingly very competent offense and their special teams has been unbelievable. New assistant coach Jim Hiller replaced Scott Gomez and has the Islanders in the Top Ten on the Power Play despite having the least amount of opportunities. The Islanders are also in the Top Ten on the Penalty Kill.
The question is; Should anyone actually be surprised by this? Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello have had success at every step in their hockey careers. Trotz gets the most out of his players regardless of how talented they are. Lamoriello is ruthless but one of the best executives in hockey history. He runs a tight ship and there’s a reason why both of them are Stanley Cup champions.
Can the Islanders compete for a Stanley Cup? Absolutely. They aren’t the most talented team in the league but they don’t need to be. As Lou Lamoriello said at the beginning of the season, the goal is to score more than the opposing team. So far so good for this feisty bunch.
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