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New York Islanders: 5 Players Who Need to Keep Up Their Strong Play

Jim GillespieContributor IDecember 21, 2011

New York Islanders: 5 Players Who Need to Keep Up Their Strong Play

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    The New York Islanders are finally starting to show glimpses of the team they are capable of being. They finished a two-game stint on the road where they racked up four out of four points.  

    The Isles defense is coming up strong as of late providing much needed support in the defensive end—something lacking during the start of the season.

    John Tavares is proven to be the player the Isles drafted first overall and his linemates are proving to be more then capable help. 

    Secondary offensive support is beginning to shoot up from Grabner, Okposo, Frans Nielsen and even Josh Bailey. Frans Nielsen scored two shootout goals to secure their Islanders' two most recent wins.

5. Al Montoya

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    Al Montoya fell right into place between the pipes for the Islanders this season.

    With the injury-prone RIck DiPietro fighting through another injury and Evgeni Nabokov also facing an injury early on in the season, Al Montoya has proven to the team he is the starting netminder.

    He has proven time after time he can make the key saves and can keep the opposition's scoring to a bare minimum. He's proven himself in the shootout, keeping the Wild blanked Saturday night. 

    Al was taken off the ice Tuesday night after a collision with Evander Kane and Nabokov finished off the game.

    Hopefully Al has no serious injury and will be ready to keep up his stellar play sooner than later.

4. Travis Hamonic

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    Travis Hamonic has done nothing but show how much of a defensive threat he is. 

    Hamonic has proven himself as the Islanders top defensive defenseman against the opposition's top lines.

    If Hamonic can continue his great play it will help the Islanders tremendously. Travis needs to work on his offensive skill on the ice, however, as he has a mere seven points in 31 games.

    Playing on a pair with defenseman Andrew MacDonald is nothing but good for the both of them. They remain an extremely strong defensive pair who needs to work on their offense play to continue and increase their success.

    Granted, he is still young, but an improving Travis Hamonic can bring him to be a future top defenseman in the league.

3. PA Parenteau

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    PA Parenteau is one of the best playmakers the Islanders have right now. And with linemates Tavares and Moulson his passing skill proves even more essential.

    The whole first line has produced more than 90 percent of the Islanders scoring, and PA has definitely proven himself a top scorer and key playmaker.

    PA was a ninth-round pick and already has 25 points in 31 games played, with twenty of those points being assists.

    If PA can keep up his play as of late he can help this Islanders team get to places.

2. Matt Martin

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    Matt Martin has not only proven himself a solid defensive power forward, but he has also shown himself as the team's enforcer.

    Matt Martin stands up for his team no matter who it may be. Still, he has proven himself also a capable scorer even though he plays on the fourth line. 

    In 31 games Matt Martin has seven points and is second in the NHL in hits with 133 (one behind Cal Clutterbuck). 

    Matt Martin shows commitment on the ice and shows his defensive play, as well as an ability to score. 

    If Martin can keep up his all around play of late and continue to show his presence on the ice, the Islanders will have a great young forward to develop.

1. Kyle Okposo

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    Kyle Okposo seems to have finally found his form again. 

    I had originally predicted (and hoped) that Okposo would put up a solid 60-point season. In his last 12 games Okposo has a solid nine points; if only he would've started out this season this strong he'd be right on pace for a 55-65 points season.

    Okposo needs to keep up his play as of late to provide much-needed offensive support for the struggling Islanders team. 

    If the Islanders' players can keep up their play of late and their injured players can get back on the ice sooner than later, the Isles might be able to end their season on a good note.

    The Isles are proving themselves a real team as of late and Okposo is a big part of it.

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