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The Islanders' most glaring weakness for quite some time has been their goaltending.
The trade talks involving the Islanders and Ryan Miller could swirl until the netminder is inevitably dealt from the Sabres to a new team. That is, unless, Evgeni Nabokov can channel his youth.
Nabokov caught a lot of flack for his performance against the Penguins in last year's playoff series—and with good reason. His 4.44 GAA and .824 save percentage were not even close to good enough, and it's a testament to the offense that New York was able to even get the series to six games.
It couldn't have been more evident in the series-deciding Game 6.
Brian Strait and Travis Hamonic did not get the job done on this rush by Sidney Crosby, which ultimately led to Jarome Iginla tying things up in Game 6. With the Islanders carrying momentum at the time—outshooting the Penguins 7-2 and leading the game 1-0—he had to have that save.
This sort of soft goal was something seen all series.
The defense should shoulder its fair share of blame, but to win playoff games, a goaltender needs to come up with huge saves and swing momentum in his team's favor.
If the Isles want to get back to the postseason, Nabokov will need to be better than last season. The Eastern Conference features nine playoff teams from last season, along with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who fell short of the tournament on a tiebreaker.