Al Montoya

And then there was one: Montoya day-to-day with strained hamstring


The New York Islanders announced this evening that goaltender Al Montoya is day-to-day with a strained hamstring. It was only yesterday when the New York Islanders were playing musical chairs with three goaltenders on their NHL roster. The music has now stopped and only Rick DiPietro found a seat.

Again, two of the Islanders three goaltenders are hurt—and Rick DiPietro is NOT one of the injured. Who says the man isn’t earning his 15-year contract?

Injuries are never good, news of Montoya’s injury comes at a bad time. Evgeni Nabokov left Thursday’s game earlier with a groin injury and is expected to miss around a month. Luckily for the Islanders, they don’t face a back-to-back situation on their schedule until next weekend. Ideally, Montoya will be back in the lineup by the time the Islanders are really looking for a goaltender to share DiPietro’s workload.

Montoya has easily been the best goaltender for the Islanders over the first month and a half of the season. He leads all three goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage for a team that has struggled to find its way into the win column. Hey, at least there won’t be a goaltender controversy over the next few days.

The injuries give DiPietro time to shine as the team’s undisputed goaltender. All things being equal, the organization would much rather have their long-term investment be the dominant goaltender they hoped he would be when they signed him. Who knows how long Nabokov will be with the team and Montoya has been a pleasant surprise. But DiPietro will be with the team for the next decade. It would be nice if he could take over the #1 spot.

He’ll get is opportunity starting tomorrow against the Bruins.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: