Coming into this season the New York Islanders looked to be dealing with a problem that has plagued many teams before, they had three starting NHL goalies.
As has been made note of and mocked time and time again, the Islanders still have 11 seasons with Rick DiPietro, who they gave a 15-year contract to in 2006.
Of course DiPietro has done anything but stay healthy, and because of that the Islanders added a second goalie part way through last season when they traded for Al Montoya.
The Islanders then put a waiver claim in on Evgeni Nabokov, and were awarded the ex-San Jose Sharks netminder. Nabokov refused to join New York last season, but so far this year he has been a willing participant.
Throughout the preseason it was unclear just what the Islanders were going to do with this goalie problem, because no NHL team wants to waste a roster spot on a third string goalie.
During camp it seemed as though the general consensus amongst Islanders media members was that DiPietro would be the starter, Montoya the backup, and Nabokov would be used to showcase his talents in hopes of trading him away.
Instead through the first two games for New York, Montoya has started both games. Not only has he started in both games, but he has also excelled.
Giving up three goals through two games is nothing to be ashamed of, even if your record stands at only 1-1 because your offense has managed two goals on the season.
Montoya was especially impressive in the Islanders Monday win against the Minnesota Wild; pushing aside 20 of the 21 shots sent his way. What made this performance even more dominating was the fact that the Wild had seven power plays, and failed to score on a single one.
Of course a two game sample size is nothing to go too excited about, and both DiPietro and Nabokov are going to get their chances to prove they can stop the puck also.
That being said, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano has made it clear that he isn’t going to play the franchises big moneymaker (DiPietro) or one of the NHL’s better historic goalies (Nabokov), he is going to play the hot hand.