The New York Islanders goaltending and some missed assignments certainly played their part in the loss, but basically Ryan Miller stole the game in the Isles' 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres Saturday. Alas, tonight they face another goalie with a recent theft under his belt: Cam Ward stopped 45 shots in his team's 3-2 win over Ottawa last week.
The Hurricanes made two marquee forward additions over the summer. As hoped, newbies Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin are among their top four in scoring in the early going. The Staals are not together, however, with Staal the Younger centering with Jeff Skinner on his wing.
The Canes are also getting contributions from their blueline, with seven goals by defensemen so far.
In goal, Ward has actually had a rough first month, with just a .905 save percentage (.909 EV) and 3.28 GAA. Dan Ellis has played four games (.939) and been the goalie of record in two of their five wins.
A possible insight into this: The Hurricanes give up the most shots on goal per game (34.1), and fire the most shots on goal per game (36.5). Tonight might be a fun one.
Where Wallace At?
The Hurricanes recently recalled Tim Wallace, the AHL grinder who spent 31 games with the Isles last season, notching one assist, before being claimed on waivers by the Lightning and promptly putting up 3-5-8 in 18 games. Tsk, and you thought I'd never get to use that "The Wire" reference again. Where's the grinder, String? Well, last game he was tossed for a high hit on Tye McGinn. (Aside: The Flyers have someone named Tye McGinn? That's not very bully-sounding.)
Wallace's presence may address a need for physicality the Hurricanes feel in the absence of Tuomo Ruutu, who had preseason hip surgery. For what it's worth -- and this is not a very trustworthy stat -- both the Canes and Islanders are in the bottom five in total credited hits this season.
DiPietro in Net
After a tough-luck but quality performance Saturday night, expect the Isles lineup to remain the same. [UPDATE: However, Rick DiPietro gets the start.] We'll have more from the Carolina perspective a little later.
Other Reading Bits
- Newsday: Kyle Okposo is off to another slow start for Islanders
- So Swiss media has discovered Bridgeport crime reports. A profile of Nino Niederreiter and his quest to reach the NHL. Nothing massive, but among the insights are his reflection that top line in Bridgeport is better for him than bottom six with the Isles right now.
- Bridgeport: Both games were snowed out. Here's an update on Ty Wishart, most recently working with Eric Cairns.
- We. Have. A. Cody. Rosen. Sighting.
- Ugly: Lightning vs. Rangers: Brutal Matt Carle turnover leads to goal against - SBNation.com
- Shrink da goalies: Sharks GM Doug Wilson, others, say it's time to shrink goalie pads - The Hockey News
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks iin this thread [fixed].