Evgeni Nabokov Running Away with New York Islanders Goaltending Job

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IFebruary 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17:  Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the New York Islanders is congratulated by teammates after a 3-0 victory against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on January 17, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

At the beginning of the year, the New York Islanders had a crowded crease. There were four goaltenders that were competing to play in a tandem of two, and maybe even acquire the number one job.

Those four goaltenders were Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya, Evgeni Nabokov and Kevin Poulin. Here is their spray chart for starts so far:

Nabokov- 25

Montoya- 17

DiPietro- 6

Poulin- 3

Anders Nilsson- 1

At the beginning of the season, it probably would've been pretty hard to see the chart now. Montoya was declared the Opening Night goaltender with DiPietro as the back-up.

After DiPietro got injured, Nabokov finally got his chance and helped the Isles beat the Rangers 4-2. At this point in time, Nabokov and Montoya were both playing well.

DiPietro came back to play a couple of more games, before getting his season ended by another injury.

DiPietro had horrid numbers before that, allowing close to four goals a game and having a Save Percent of .876.

Al Montoya was injured by Evander Kane when Kane rushed the net, resulting in Montoya's concussion.

Nabokov, who had been playing pretty well at the time, took the opportunity and ran with it. So far, he is having a great season, with a 12-12 record, a 2.21 Goals Against Average, a .925 Save Percentage and two shutouts.

Montoya recently came back from his concussion, and played decent in his two starts. His numbers are a 6-5-5 record, a Save Percentage of .913 and 2.56 GAA.

In his last two starts though, Nabby has been utterly fantastic. A couple of starts ago, he beat the Senators 2-1 in overtime. The only goal he let up was tipped off of Mark Streit.

And last night, he completely stymied the Philadelphia Flyers, stopping all 45 shots that came his way. Those don't include the two saves he also made in the shootout. So basically, no Flyer was able to put one past Nabber.

I'm sure he'll be getting the start tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens at home. As of now, it looks like he's running away with the number one spot.