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New York Islanders: Why Their Blue Line Players Are the Key to a Playoff Run

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 15:  Steve Staios #24 and Mark Streit #2 of the New York Islanders pause during their game against the New York Rangers at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 15, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IOctober 19, 2011

No matter the sport, people say that defense wins championships. Which is very true. But if you're an Islanders fan, sometimes, you may just forget about that saying.

It's pretty easy to forget, with young stars such as John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and PA Parenteau knocking pucks into the net.

While for some teams, offense may lift you into a postseason, but it won't get you to the Stanley Cup.

With all the offense the Isles have up front, their defense is a little disguised and overlooked.

Why else do you think the Islanders have only given up six goals in their first four games? Honestly, you can give just as much credit to Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov.

But the defense has done its job as well. And they've done a very good job.

The return of new captain Mark Streit has greatly helped. He's as solid a two-way defenseman as they come.

I also believe Garth Snow's addition of Steve Staios is huge. He's a smart, solid defenseman, who knows when and how to make the right play. He's still got plenty in the tank and helped set up Matt Moulson's goal against the Rangers last Saturday.

Two veterans on the blue line like Streit and Staios will really benefit the younger defensemen like Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald, two other vital parts to the Isles that can be easily overlooked.

Travis Hamonic resembles Mark Streit, while MacDonald is more like a Staios type player.

Hamonic has good offensive instincts and a real nice shot from the point.

MacDonald has solid two-way play similar to Streit and underrated two-way play. However, he is mainly known for being a shut down defenseman. MacDonald is great at shutting down the opposition, as his typing suggests.

The main thing is, the defense does a great job of doing their job. They make the goaltender's job much easier.

In addition, Nabokov and Montoya have already done a great job. If the goalies and defense stay strong, the Isles will win a lot of games this year, especially if their offense picks up.

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