While he wouldn’t come out and say it, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was none too pleased with Evgeni Nabokov’s performance in Tuesday’s 5-4 OT loss to Vancouver.
“I’m not going to talk about the goaltending,” Capuano told Newsday. “Their goals are tough to explain tonight. It’s not like there were a lot of breakdowns.
“We’ve got to move on.”
The Canucks loss was Nabokov’s second straight iffy outing. He wasn’t especially sharp in a 4-3 loss to Carolina on Saturday either, allowing four goals on 23 shots (though, to be fair, Nabokov appeared shaken up on a collision with defenseman Matt Carkner midway through the second, but stayed in the game.)
The Isles came into this season with a big question mark in goal. Nabokov was exposed during last year’s six-game loss to Pittsburgh in the opening playoff round and his backup, Kevin Poulin, entered this season with exactly 21 games of NHL experience.
But now it sounds like Poulin might be getting his big break.
The 23-year-old ‘tender will apparently get his big shot in the not-too-distant future, a real chance to play extended minutes for the first time in his career.
“If Poulin plays well, he’s going to play more,” Capuano said.
Poulin’s only appeared once this year — stopping 25 of 28 shots in a 3-2 loss to Chicago — but could be back in goal soon. The Isles play a Friday/Saturday back-to-back against Pittsburgh and Philly, then have a big home date against the Rangers, their in-state rivals, on Tuesday.
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: