Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 

A New Experience

The Islanders are headed to the postseason, and many of the players are geared up for their playoff debuts

Sunday, 04.28.2013 / 3:48 PM / News
By Travis Betts
X
Share with your Friends


A New Experience
The Islanders are headed to the postseason, and many of the players are geared up for their playoff debuts
This week will mark the first postseason appearances for several homegrown talents such as Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic (Photo: Getty Images).

It’s an exciting time on Long Island.

Fresh off their final regular season game, the New York Islanders were back at Iceworks Sunday, getting ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

While it’s no secret that the pace of play will be elevated during the postseason, Jack Capuano breaks down the Islanders strategy very simply:

“You can’t change what’s made you successful," he said. "We’re not going to change how we go about our business. We’ve got to continue to work hard.”

After finding themselves out of the playoff picture for much of the first half of the season, the Islanders finished strong, including an 8-1-4 April that landed them in the top eight. Evgeni Nabokov says it’s more important than ever to keep that same focus and drive that put them in this position.

“We just have to do the same things we’ve been doing for the last three weeks, and that’s play hard to give ourselves a good chance to win, and give 100-percent every shift,” Nabokov said. “We have to do this for three periods and we can’t take a shift off, we can’t take any time off. Otherwise, we’re not going to have a lot of chances.”

Nabokov has 80 playoff games under his belt, more than any other Islander, with all coming during his tenure with the San Jose Sharks. Conversely, 16 players on the Islanders roster have yet to play NHL postseason hockey. But the 37-year-old is keeping the advice he gives to a minimum.

“I’m not going to walk around and tell them what to do,” Nabokov said. “They’re big guys, they’ve been in a lot of different situations at different levels. And this is no different. The hockey stays the same.”

Many eyes will be on John Tavares, who the Islanders selected No. 1 overall in 2009, as he makes his playoff debut. The veteran of 291 regular season games doesn’t want to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance that comes with playing on a bigger stage.

“I’ve watched the playoffs every year since I was three years old,” Tavares said. “You’re going to see the intensity and see how much playing for the cup means to everybody. But I don’t think we’re really going to understand what the whole experience is like until we get there. We want to come out hard and not ease our way into it. There’s so much importance on each and every game. It’s going to be a heck of a ride and we need to get off to a good start.”

There’s an undeniable excitement in the Islanders room. Third-year defenseman Travis Hamonic, who will also be playing in his first playoff series, says it’s going to be important to use emotion as a strength, but not get too caught up in the moment.

“I think we’re going to be excited,” Hamonic said. “That excitement level and intensity has to be there. This is the first time that I’ll play in the NHL playoffs, but my previous experience in juniors, I think sometimes guys get too hyped up and too dug in to the game that they’re over-thinking a little bit.”

Hamonic added that the team has come a long way since a five-game losing skid had them tied for last place in the Conference in mid-February.

“You’ve got to remember what you’ve done to get to this point in the season,” Hamonic said. “For us, it’s been playoff hockey for the last month plus, and the reason we’ve had a lot of success as a team is because we’re loose, but when it’s time to be mentally focused, we’re ready to go.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 62 29 34 4 63
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 62 13 26 21 39
B. Nelson 62 17 19 6 36
F. Nielsen 62 11 25 11 36
A. Lee 56 20 12 12 32
J. Bailey 50 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 52 7 22 15 29
N. Leddy 62 8 17 14 25
T. Hamonic 52 4 19 16 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 32 13 0 .910 2.49
C. Johnson 8 7 1 .890 2.95

NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use