NHL roundup: Rangers, Islanders, Devils off to great starts

Photo courtesy of Scott Levy // Kyle Okposo and the Islanders celebrate a goal scored by John Tavares.

The NHL Season is well underway. Teams are at a point where they can determine if their offseason moves will lead them to the promise the land, the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, or to another long offseason, where they have to decide tactics for the following season. We’ve seen Connor McDavid, the number 1 overall pick in the 2015 NHL entry draft succumb to an injury. We have also seen that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a bust. Jack Eichel has silenced his critics, who thought the transition from college to the professional level would be tough. But how are our local teams doing?

New York Rangers:

The Rangers are riding high right now. They have won nine in a row, their last one coming against the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4-3. Henrik Lundqvist has still proved, even at age 33, that he is still “The King” and best goalie in the NHL. Rookie Oscar Lindberg is making his mark on the team. The 24 year old rookie has 12 points in 18 games. One of the weak spots in the defensive zone has been Dan Girardi. The Welland, Ontario native has just 8 points in 18 games and has struggled to prove he is worth the 33 million dollar investment the Broadway Blueshirts gave him.

Down on the Farm:

The Rangers American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack has seriously struggled in the last 10 games. They are 2-7-1 since the start of play in November and have only accumulated 14 points in 16 games this season. Center Chad Nehring has been having a solid season. He leads the team with 4 goals and 11 points. Earlier this month, they were shutout for 3 games in a row, breaking a franchise record. The Wolf Pack have started to score again after a tough start to the season.

New York Islanders:

The Islanders got off to an extremely slow start this year. They sent stud center Ryan Strome down to the AHL to work on his confidence. But, after shifting the lines around, it looks like they finally got it right. They’ve taken 2 of there last 3, and have won 3 of their last 5. Right winger Kyle Okposo collected his 200th career assist in a win against the Coyotes yesterday. Superstar captain John Tavares is having another successful season. He has accumulated 17 points in 16 games this season.

Down on the Farm:

Fairfield County’s only mens professional hockey team is off to their best start in years. The Sound Tigers lead the Eastern Conference with 24 points. They have won 4 in a row and have taken 7 out of their last 10 games. Left winger Joe Whitney is off to the best start of his career. He has 20 points, 4 more than any of his other teammates. Bridgeport’s goal this year is to make the playoffs, especially after failing to do so the past few years.

New Jersey Devils:

Jersey’s team has been the most underrated team in the NHL this year. They are 7-3 in their last 10 and have scored 44 goals this year. Mike Cammalleri has by far been their best player on the ice. He has 17 points in 17 games. Goalie Cory Schneider has been excellent. He has only allowed 28 goals and has a .928 save percentage. While many are doubtful the Devils make the playoffs, a successful season could mean anywhere between 80-90 points.

Down on the Farm:

The Albany Devils are having a pretty consistent season. They have 19 points and are in second place in the Northern Division. Right winger Mike Sislo has been an excellent offensive producer for the team. He is a -2 and leads the team with 8 goals. If they want to win the division, they have to be ready to take on the Toronto Marlies for at least 8 more times this season.

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