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The Islanders Informer

Is Monty Winning The Job?

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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Filed in: New York Islanders, | The Islanders Informer | Permalink
  Tags: al+montoya, evgeni+nabokov, rick+dipietro


Faux Rumors's avatar

1) Based upon his play in the final 20 or so games Montoya should have been the #1 guy going into camp.  Perhaps he was, but Snow/Capuano kept it to themselves.  Te fact that he started game #1 says a lot!
2) Now, only a week into the season we’re already hearing about teams wanting to trade for the guy.  They would be insane to do so right now. If they want to stay in contention they better not play games and ride the hot hand.

Posted by Faux Rumors from Globally- Here, there, Everywhere on 10/14/11 at 01:53 PM ET


Great points.  It seems to me like the Isles brass did keep Monty being the #1 goalie a secret.  I would be interested to hear how long they felt this way.  Now, after hearing DP is out indefinitely with a concussion, Monty will be the #1 for a while with Nabby getting a few starts here and there.  I have always been a Montoya fan.  Hopefully he keeps playing well.  There is no way they trade him right now, especially with the DP concussion.

Posted by William Morrison on 10/14/11 at 02:11 PM ET


Tavares, isn’t hurt, is he? Saw he took a rough hit.

Posted by steviesteve on 10/14/11 at 03:33 PM ET


Steviesteve:  He took a big hit from Hedman last night.  He came out for one more shift and then went back to the locker room for the rest of the game.  He didn’t come back out after being named 1st star.  I haven’t heard an update, but I don’t think it’s anything serious.  I think he just got shaken up a little bit.  He should be ready to go tomorrow night against the NYR.

Posted by William Morrison on 10/14/11 at 03:39 PM ET


On the ball as usual. Thanks!

Posted by steviesteve on 10/14/11 at 03:51 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Go Blue!

Posted by w2j2 on 10/14/11 at 04:04 PM ET

Bossy_Rules's avatar

Nabakov has to play at some point if they hope to trade him before the deadline.  I say the sooner the better, like Roloson last year.

JT was interviewed after the game in the locker room so he didn’t have to go to the hospital or anything.  He did not come out when he was named 1st start.  Instead Reasoner skated out when they announced him as 1st star.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 10/14/11 at 05:10 PM ET


BR-I agree that Nabokov needs to get a couple starts soon, but I’m not sure they will look to trade him until they see how serious DiPietro’s injury is.  The team has given no timetable for DP’s return.

Posted by William Morrison on 10/14/11 at 05:42 PM ET


Tavares was pulled in the 3rd due to a leg cramp.

Posted by islebback on 10/14/11 at 06:38 PM ET

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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. 

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