Statement Game For New York vs Devils? No

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/06/2011 06:13:00 AM |

Sunday is not a long-term statement game regardless of the Devils run compared to New York having the second most points in the East going back three months, depending on where you draw the line.

We can draw the line anywhere we like, but bottom line is the complete NHL standings.

Of course, I love what I'm watching on the ice. This team is skating hard every game, even when you would expect the club to be tired/sluggish or another team is waiting to play them. Pick a player and virtually all of them are working hard and progressing/effective from Parenteau's work to setup Moulson/Tavares, to Katic's skating to Wishart's strong play, with Tavares getting more confident with every game along the boards/in front of net.

Does anyone even notice anymore Travis Hamonic is a rookie and Andrew MacDonald is in his first full season playing these minutes?

Look out if Bailey, Comeau or Okposo get hot and Grabner starts finishing.

It's not just the goals, the skating, but the quality shots against. When this team was getting it's 15/18 points in December they were being outshot/outplayed badly.

Not anymore.

Remember that win against the Devils in Newark here where the Devils dominated for long stretches, and outshot the Islanders 35-14 or New Years Eve in Detroit where but the Islanders scored on their few shots, where Roloson had to make 43 saves?

This has been different with the club getting stronger instead of fading. It's been fun to watch this team play games. Sunday is a good test because it's a Devil team that virtually never losses (allows more than a goal or two) facing one of the hottest teams in the East going back to December.

This gives us a good look to see where the Islanders are, and if they can win what will likely be a low-scoring game.

Ultimately the statement will be made when next season starts, with a lot of different players that include most of the defense out and Trent Hunter.

And that will also include if Jack Capuano is back or someone else is hired, with a new coaching staff.

As well as Al Montoya has played with his adjustments made by staff after Buffalo game, it's tough to see him keeping this up or Rick DiPietro out of the net when he's ready to play, now that he's returned to practice.

The test for Montoya will be how he bounces back after a bad game, it says a great deal about how well he has played that to this point he has not had a bad game once he got a start.

Having written this he's making a case to be qualified as a RFA next summer and force a decision regarding goaltending that includes Koskinen, Poulin, Nilsson along with Nate Lawson/Rick DiPietro.

Grabner made his best pass this season to Parenteau for that goal, might be worth considering switching Okposo to first line for a few shifts.

As for 2010-11 playoff statements if New York goes 16-0, they finish with 91 points.

New York wins Sunday they are one point behind the Devils, who many feel can pull off a miracle and qualify for the playoffs.

10-6 matches last seasons 79 points which is incredible considering how far back they were from that pace with all the injuries they have had.

We'll see, win/lose another game Tuesday.

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