Injuries Can’t Slow Islanders Down
The New York Islanders have been riddles with injuries all season long, which reduced their NHL sports betting odds of making the playoffs. Despite the injuries, the Islanders found a way to keep winning and qualified for the playoffs.
After losing another player to injury, head coach Jack Capuano told reporters he couldn’t remember how many times in recent weeks that his team only had five defensemen.
A visibly upset Capuano told reporters that he was tired of answering question about injuries because it has been a long month for the team and there was nothing he could do about it.
In the last few weeks, the Islanders have been hit with a serious injury bug. Despite not having their best players available, the Islanders found a way to comeback from a two goal deficit against the league leading Washington Capitals, clinching their playoff spot in the process.
The Islanders played the game against the Capitals without their starting goalie Jaroslav Halak, their best defenseman Travis Hamonic, and several key contributors. Most teams would have wilted in that position but the Islanders showed the rest of the NHL that it will take more than a few injuries to derail their season.
In an interview, team captain John Tavares told reporters that the team would obviously like to be at full strength heading into the playoffs, but the team has other players that have been waiting for an opportunity to shine and those players have delivered so far.
Tavares also said he was proud of how some of the younger players have stepped up their games because the players have made some key contributions to the team’s success.
Jaroslav Halak has missed 14 games so far and it isn’t clear when or if he will return this season. Travis Hamonic has missed the last three games dealing with lower body injuries, while Mikhail Grabovski has missed 10 games dealing with upper body injuries.
With their top three goalies dealing with injuries, the Islanders have had to turn to fourth-string goaltender Christopher Gibson, who had 29 saves in the game against the Capitals.
Last week, Calvin de Haan and Brian Strait’s injuries forced Capuano to make some line changes. When asked about the line changes, Tavarez said he was impressed by the way Scott Mayfield and Ryan Pulock have played in their absence.
Tavarez said he remembered watching Mayfield playing in the playoffs last year and noticed he got gassed on several occasions. Tavarez said there has been a significant improvement in Mayfield’s play compared to last season and feels Mayfield looks more comfortable on the ice this year.
Thomas Hickey said he can’t believe that 30 different players and four goaltenders have played for the team this season, but he also said it also shows just how much depth the team has.
When Halak got injured, the team went 2-5-2 in his absence. Since then, the team won five of its last six games to clinch a playoff berth. The team had different players step up during the stretch, which has given them a lot of confidence that they can make a deep playoff run despite their injury woes.