The Islanders Informer
by William Morrison on 10/14/11 at 11:49 AM ET
After three games, NY Islanders goalie Al Montoya sports a 2-1 record, a .953 save percentage, and a sparkling 1.35 GAA. For at least the time being, Montoya has cemented himself as the Isles #1 goaltender.
I’m guessing that if Rick DiPietro has no lingering effects from being hit in the mask with a Brian Rolston slap shot yesterday in practice, he might get the start in goal for the Isles tomorrow night against the NY Rangers. If DiPietro isn’t ready to go, the start might go to Evgeni Nabokov.
I think that the team should ride Montoya as long as they can. I’m a firm believer that a team should always ride the hot goaltender until they have a bad game. But, the only way to separate the three goaltenders is to give each of them a chance. Head coach Jack Capuano may start Montoya on Saturday just because it is an important rivalry game against the NY Rangers and because Montoya is playing so well.
It is evident that the team has confidence in Montoya right now and he is also showing a tremendous amount of confidence in himself. The defense has also improved each game and they protected Montoya extremely well last night in a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. With that being said, Montoya had some key saves in the second and third periods to keep the Lightning from getting back in the game. Montoya stopped 34 of 35 shots last night. Something is to be said for a goalie keeping the same level of intensity whether the score is 0-0 or 5-1.
Another positive that the coaching staff needs to look at is how Montoya is communicating with his defenseman and how he has improved over the three game stretch to open the season. Montoya is doing an admirable job communicating with the likes of Mark Streit, Steve Staios, Andrew MacDonald, and Travis Hamonic. The Isles defense was rarely out of position last night and I expect that a large part of that was Montoya communicating extremely well with his defense.
There may be a time within the next few games that Capuano should give DiPietro and Nabokov a start and a chance to prove themselves. With Montoya playing so well after three games, it should only increase the competitiveness in DiPietro and Nabokov and should make them want to go out on the ice and prove what they can do. But, right now, the Islanders should stick with the hot hand and should definitely start Montoya on Saturday night against their division rival.
Updated: 12:06 PM: Rick DiPietro is out indefinitely with a concussion. So, that answers any questions about DiPietro getting any starts in the near future. I assume Monty will start tomorrow night with Nabby backing him up.
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Welcome to The Islanders Informer. TII will be a forum for discussion, debate, and both Islander and hockey related news.
I'm an attorney by day and hockey fan by night. I'm always open to feedback, suggestions, agreements, disagreements, opinions, and discussion.