The Islanders finally fired Jack Capuano on January 17th. They promoted Doug Weight to head coach and since have gone 15-6-3 after beginning the season 17-17-8. They have moved from last in the east all the way into the second wild card slot. A big part of this has been Andrew Ladd posting 11 goals in this time period while Jason Chimera has chipped in 7 of his own. I posted a while back that I was Not a fan of the Islanders Offseason Moves however Ladd and Chimera have certainly stepped up as of late. At the same time Josh Bailey has scored 6 goals to go along with 14 assists during the Islanders turnaround. Now, I’ll admit I’ve never been a big Josh Bailey fan, but he has shown solid production playing on the first line with Tavares and Anders Lee and leads the team with 37 assists at the moment.
The Islanders have played with a lot more poise and enthusiasm of late. They have looked like the playoff caliber team of the past two seasons. Another big part of the turnaround has been promoting Thomas Greiss to starting goalie after Halak was waived and eventually sent to Bridgeport. Griess has posted a 23-13-4 record this season with a 2.54 GAA and .918 save percentage. While these numbers aren’t going to put him in the Vezina trophy conversation they are a big step up from what we saw from Halak at the beginning of the season.
The Islanders will finish up their road trip tonight in St. Louis. They’ve gone 5-2-1 so far. They currently have 16 games left and sit 1 point ahead of Toronto for the second wild card spot. Their is still a ways to go but this team is pushing hard for a playoff spot for the third consecutive season.