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.