UNIONDALE, N.Y. — A big part of the Islanders success this season has been in part due to veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
The 37-year-old Russian netminder has made big saves all season long and stolen games for his club. Through 41 appearances in the regular season Nabokov has posted a 23-11-7 record, with a goal against average of 2.50 and a save percentage of .910. And despite allowing seven goals through the first two games, he’s continued to be a big reason why the Islanders have had success.
“None of those goals I felt Nabby had a chance on,” head coach Jack Capuano said of the goals Nabokov let in Friday night. “He’s played well for us and he’s going to continue to play well for us.”
Nabokov was huge in the come from behind victory on Friday. He kept his team in the game, especially during a late second period double minor called on John Tavares that put the Penguins on the power play.
“He played really well,” Travis Hamonic said. “It’s kind of what we expect of him. Just to play good and that’s what it seems like he does every game. We’ve just become pretty normalized to it now, but I thought he made some real big saves especially in the third period. He kind of made a couple of game changers and that’s what you need.”
“He’s obviously an older veteran goalie and he’s been in the playoffs before and he’s gone deep in the playoffs many times. He knows what to expect and I think as a group we expect that from him.”
Capuano added: “He’s an experienced guy. He’s been through this before and a guy like that is an extension of the coaching staff. He’s been real solid in goal down the stretch. Your best penalty killer is your goaltender. And he’s a guy that you look at some of those games that we won close down the stretch and you talk about our goals allowed and how they’ve decreased a little bit. It’s a big part of Nabokov.”