Looking Ahead To The Season Opener: Florida Panthers at New York Islanders


It is almost here, the start of “We See Red”, will soon be upon us when we head to New York to take on Grabner and the young Islanders team.  It will be an epic battle of two young teams starting their quest for the ultimate stage of the Stanley Cup Finals.  For Panthers fans, we get to see our key free agent signings go to work in a game that matters for once, while Islander fans are looking forward to seeing former Panther, Grabner, get back to work here in the 2011-2012 season.  Every journey has a start and for both of these teams with promising futures, that journey starts on October 8th in New York.

The Islanders, I think, can be a very strong offensive team, but the question is with them in goaltending, I mean, what ever happened to that Nabokov guy?   Wasn’t he on top of the goaltending world a year ago?  Will we see Nabokov on the bench as a back up for this game, I say,”no.”  I think Nabokov is done as a goaltender in the NHL.  The Islanders are looking into the future, like most teams do and I do not think scratching Dipietro and going with an almost 40 year old Nabokov,  is looking into the future.  Now, if Nabokov was in his mid 30’s, I would say that the Islanders may give him a chance but, I really do not see it happening anytime soon.  Dipietro is a lot like Mike Smith, being he gets injured a lot so, it might not be the worst idea to keep Nabokov on the roster for now.

What are the keys for the Florida Panthers to win this game?  Key 1, be aggressive, get to the net and do anything you can do, just get that puck in the net, don’t be nice, this is not a friend convention.  Push anything or anyone out of the way to get that puck in the net!  Key 2, Theodore needs to not have another shaky start, I did not like what I saw from him in the preseason, he gave up far too many goals, in fact, after the Dallas game I tweeted,  “we should leave him in Dallas”, I do not want to tweet, we should leave him in New York after this game.  Theodore needs to channel the Theodore that won the Presidents Trophy with the Capitals, not the one who lost in the first round after winning the Presidents trophy.  I believe, that Theodore can do great things with this team and I want him to, he just needs to get it together or Markstrom becomes our starting goaltender.  Key 3, and this is the most important of them all, play the best ‘D’ you can late in the game, if we have the lead. That was the nightmare of last season, when we would have a 2-0 lead in the final minutes, then lose 3-2, if we can complete all those keys we will win and that is a promise!

The New York Islanders have two players that Jovo and Soup “Brian Campbell” should watch out for and keep them the heck away from our net!  Those players are the two most important players on the Islanders, Grabner and Okposo, as well as, two of the best players in the Eastern conference, in my mind.  Two players, that if you let them, could combine for 5 goals in a game.  I believe, that if the Panthers can follow through on my 3 keys and contain Grabner and Okposo, this should be an easy win but, there are no such things as easy wins in the NHL.  I think, that this game will go down to the wire and that is why the Panthers must follow through on key number 3, most of all, if we are going to pull out the win on October 8th.