Break up the Islanders?
That's how it looks after a six -- SIX! -- game winning streak that has the club a point behind the eighth-place Rangers and a point ahead of the slumping Flyers.
Hard to believe, but when this streak began, against those Flyers, one of the big debates in the Blog Box was what the team should do at the trade deadline - buy or sell? One of the bloggers -- you can guess who if you're an avid Blog Box reader -- said that night that "this team is going nowhere" and that Garth Snow should essentially hold a fire sale and deal anyone with value, including players like Brendan Witt (who got hurt that same game), Mike Sillinger, etc. Who knew they'd rattle off six straight while the injured kept piling up?
One player who won't be dealt anytime soon is Trent Hunter, who inked a new five-year deal. Snow called him part of the Islanders' core, and I like Hunter as a player -- he plays hard all the time. I just wish he'd produce more than the 8 goals and 24 points he currently has.
One of those assists came on the game-tying goal against the Capitals, Josef Vasicek's backhanded flip off the hip of Olaf Kolzig. Hey, it counts. Mike Comrie -- another player mentioned as possible trade material who has been playing extremely well -- scored the winner on the final shot of the shootout.
Thursday's night's 1-0 win over the Lightning not only marked Chris Simon's return from suspension but Rick DiPietro's third shutout of the season. Both teams looked tired having played the night before so fans were treated to a cautious, defensive game, but an entertaining one nonetheless. DiPietro made 32 saves, 14 in the third period alone, and Radek Martinek had another huge game after helping shut down Alex Ovetchkin.
Some fans booed Simon, and while I wouldn't have been among them, I can't blame them. Simon seems like a good guy who has made some terrible decisions, and getting suspended doesn't help the club. But Nolan has his back, and I expect him to be on this team through the end of the season. Jeff Tambellini was sent down to make room.
Sunday afternoon's game at New Jersey is the last before the deadline, but don't expect anything earth-shattering. Then again, we didn't see Ryan Smyth coming last year, either.