(Check Out New York Hockey Journal’s story on last night’s game here)
The Islanders’ season came to an end last night with their 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins. It was a tough way for it to end after such an exciting during the last month and a half.
While they may have lost the series, the Islanders have a lot to be proud of. They battled through this series and took it to a team that everyone expected to roll right over the Islanders. Players like Michael Grabner, Travis Hamonic, Frans Nielsen, Andrew MacDonald and the rest of the squad brought their “A” game night in and night out.
As Travis Hamonic said after the game, this series could have gone the other way, but in the end it was Brooks Orpik who dashed the Isles hopes of extending their season one more day.
But just as astound as the Islanders run, was the response from the fans last night and through this series. Nassau Coliseum was as loud as it has ever been and you could see how the players responded. And even after it was all said and done, they still gave the Islanders a heroes send off as they chanted “let’s go Islanders” and “M-V-P” at John Tavares.
And from a different angle.
Now with the steps this team has taken they will prepare for next season and have a few things to sort out. As of right now the biggest one seems to be goaltending. Evgeni Nabokov played well for the Islanders, finishing the regular season with a 2.50 goals against average and a .910 save percentage, but struggled in the playoffs.
The Islanders will need to figure out if they want to keep him on for another year or give the keys to Kevin Poulin, who is believed to be part of the future for the team in net. Their of course is still the option of bringing back Rick DiPietro after banishing him to the minor leagues. Or always trying to convince Tim Thomas to throw on an Islander uniform… But that’s a long shot at best.
For now the Islanders and their fans can think about this past season and how far this team has come and how this could just possible be the beginning.