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It is easy for Islander fans to get excited with the team playing very well during an extended stretch for the first time this season. However, let's not anoint them Stanley Cup contenders yet. There are a lot of things this team needs to improve on before we can call them a playoff contender.
One has to wonder how this goaltending situation is going to be handled.
Al Montoya was playing well before he got hurt. Nabokov has played lights out the past month. Capuano has managed the goaltenders very poorly this season, and one can hope that trend won't continue, but I don't think anyone knows what is the right way to go about the situation. The right move seems to be what Capuano is doing right now, and that is riding out the hot hand in Nabokov.
Secondly, the Isles need to utilize Nino Niederreiter.
I'm sure myself and many others feel that "El Nino" can make a scoring impact. What others are also sure of is: That isn't going to happen playing on a line with Marty Reasoner and Tim Wallace. Niederreiter has been skating well and finally looks as good on the ice as he did before the concussion he suffered against the Dallas Stars, so it is time to think of him as an offensive weapon out there.
Lastly, and most importantly, the team needs secondary scoring.Whether it is line changes or a trade for a player outside the organization, the team needs scoring elsewhere, other than the power play or the first line.
That line is eventually going to hit a cold streak. They all do, even lines as good as the Vancouver Canucks' with the Sedin twins falter once in a while. Since there seems to be a lack of scoring from other lines, if that first line of the Islanders gets cold, it is going to get ugly, real ugly.
If the Isles can continue to play well and make some improvements, not only can they sneak in to the playoffs, they can do it with a chance of an intriguing Rangers vs. Islanders first-round matchup.