In the wacky world where Leafs and Canadiens lead Penguins and Capitals, where Devils and Sabres forget their gains of a season past, it's perhaps not surprising that the AHL entry in the East, the NY Islanders, are off to a good start.
Here's what LIW has to say about them:
Canadiens PK and Islanders PP
The Habs have squirmed out of trouble and gained points this year through a combination of timely scoring and timely defence. Nothing has been more timely than their PK which ranks second in the league at over 90%. The Islanders have the 5th ranked PP at 26.2% and have used it to get their wins. James Wisniewski may or may not get 90+ points this year, but he currently has 8 in 6 games thanks to PP action.
Subban and Tavares
A cocky rookie and a cocky sophomore. Apparently they're even best friends and having dinner together pre-game. With Markov out, Subban has been a key and will continue to be an important piece of the Habs tonight. With all the Islanders injuries, Tavares is even more prominent than PK on his team and looks to continue to impress tonight. Look for PK to offer his usual feistiness and make a point of putting friendship aside as he attempts to steal the spotlight.
Gionta and Mottau
All the hype about finding a winger for Gionta and Gomez could be ended with a good performance (by that I mean stats, stats, stats) from none other than Gionta and Gomez. There aren't many worse defensive brigades than on Long Island. Gionta knows this, he knows how to get the media off his back and he knows Mike Mottau as the -11 defender on the mostly positive +/- 2007-08 Devils. Step around him, push him aside and put this media story to bed Captain.
Media and Bloggers
The Islanders love their bloggers. The Montreal media is uptight and uppity at the sight of outsiders. Though they probably won't meet tonight in Montreal, the access at the Nassau Colisseum later in the week means they might. Should be fun.
Andrei Kostitsyn believes in hard work. Carey Price no longer craves exorcism. The momentum on the Habs is squarely moving in the right direction. They look like a team that can finally get ready for games against beatable opponents and the first period should be theirs.
Islanders the Habs covet
He's the kind of player that can make the difference between running with the pack every year and cruising into the playoffs, a special offensive talent. The Canadiens, and everyone else, crave these sorts of players.
A back-up you're not afraid to use.
Habs the Islanders covet
An American who can help them attain the salary floor. What's not to like?
A cheap defender who can actually defend. They're not as common as one thinks. If they were Radek Martinek wouldn't have had a career.
Impact of this result
This is a game for points and not much else. I can't see a lasting rivalry coming between these two teams, as the Islanders will find a way to make their way back to disarray by the offseason.