The New York Islanders‘ goaltender situation was a source of worry coming into this season. Evgeni Nabokov was solid for the team last year, but he is 38-years-old and fans wondered if he could keep his performance at the same level.
Nabokov has played at that level and so has his backup, Kevin Poulin. Poulin has done most of the work during the Islanders’ recent hot streak as Nabokov has been out with an injury. However, Monday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers was a good showing of why the Islanders need to add depth at goaltender.
Poulin was a serviceable backup all year long and this hot streak has shown that he might be ready to hold a starting job, but Anders Nilsson is not ready to even be a backup. To be fair to Nilsson, he has spent most of his season with the Islanders’ AHL-affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Presumably he has been there for a reason.
Monday was Nilsson’s 10th NHL game, but he has never shown much to get excited about. On Monday, the Islanders were able to get back in the game in the third period when they controlled the puck and minimized the amount of shots that Nilsson faced.
With Nabokov hurt for an extended period of time, Poulin is going to need some days off. Nilsson is not reliable enough in net for the Islanders to put him out there as they try to rally back into playoff contention. If Nabokov is going to miss more time then the Islanders need to seriously consider shopping for a guy who can play behind Poulin.