The Red & Black

Early Hockey Season Overview

Taking a look at the Islanders and Rangers so far.

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Early Hockey Season Overview

NY Islanders on the ice at Barclays Stadium.

NY Islanders on the ice at Barclays Stadium.

Photo by Eric Wertz

NY Islanders on the ice at Barclays Stadium.

Photo by Eric Wertz

Photo by Eric Wertz

NY Islanders on the ice at Barclays Stadium.

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After the first month of the NHL season has been completed, both teams residing in the New York area have been exceeding expectations.

Over in Brooklyn (soon to be Uniondale), the Islanders are shockingly leading the Metropolitan Division with an 8-4-2 record and on top of that a 6-0-0 record against divisional opponents. This success has been associated with the Stanley Cup winning head coach, Barry Trotz.

The Isles have already taken major strides in team defensive play with defensemen like Scott Mayfield and Thomas Hickey blossoming in the new system. This new defensive structure has aided goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner to a strong start as well.

Greiss is currently ranked 3rd in the league in save percentage with a .940, as well as in GAA (Goals Against Average) with a 1.98 and he has already passed his total of shutouts from last year with 2.

In a post-game conference after a 3-0 win over New Jersey, Trotz said “I think when you see the level of commitment and the level of work ethic, and what we’re putting into it, we’ll have success.” This shows he has been pleased with the team’s play as of late and seems to be enjoying his time so far with the Islanders.

Their leading scorer is Josh Bailey, who was an All-Star last year and is under the microscope this year in his first season without John Tavares. Bailey is proving the doubters wrong and is  flourishing.

Bailey and the Islanders headed to Florida to take on the Lightning and the Panthers this past weekend.

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Over in Manhattan, the Rangers started off slowly but now have eclipsed the .500 mark and have looked impressive lately.

The Blueshirts play centers around their longtime franchise goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. The goalie nicknamed “The King” has been lights out this year with a 2.64 GAA and a .922 save percentage. These numbers stand out because of the lack of defense that’s been in front of Lundqvist at times.

The constant shuffling of the lineup has seemed to slow down as Kevin Shattenkirk and Neal Pionk have found their game.

What needs to improve if the Rangers look to get into a playoff spot is their special teams, as both their power play and penalty kill are ranked 22nd in the league.

David Quinn, the coach, said on the Rangers lack of discipline leading to penalty kills “ At the end of the day, we have to stop beating ourselves. It’s hard enough in this league to beat teams without beating yourself up. It has to stop. It’s on me.” This shows the coach is taking responsibility for the team’s miscues, something former coach Alain Vigneault seemed to lack at times.

The Rangers offense has been sparked by the usual suspects, center Mika Zibanejad and wingers Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello. Secondary scoring is another aspect of the team that needs to develop.

The Rangers and Islanders meet for the first time this season Thursday, the 15th, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Isles look to extend their six game home win streak over the Rangers, who have not beaten the Islanders since their move from the Coliseum.

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About the Writer
Eric Wertz, Staff Writer

Grade 12

"I'm an apostrophe, I'm just a symbol to remind you that there's more to see." ~Dan Reynolds

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Early Hockey Season Overview