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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Have We Found Him?

Islanders Canadiens Kevin Poulin
Credit: USA Today
The New York Islanders have long been looking for a goaltender to establish himself as the #1 option.

Kevin Poulin will make his third straight start for the Islanders tonight vs. the Los Angeles Kings.
This will only be the third time in Poulin's career that he will start in three straight NHL games. It happened in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, but both of those times, Poulin was the #1 goalie by default because the Islanders had numerous goaltender injuries.

Matt Martin Matt Martin #17 and Kevin Poulin #60 of the New York Islanders celebrate their 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on November 2, 2013 in Uniondale, New York.
Credti: Getty Images
This is the first time Poulin has played well enough to earn three straight starts, relegating Evgeni Nabokov to the bench. Looking at the numbers, it's simple to see why he will start. He is playing well. In six games this year, he is 2-4-0. One of those four losses was a 1-0 decision at Carolina last week. You can't expect him to be perfect. In his last four starts, Poulin has a 1.75 GAA and a .939 save percentage, both outstanding numbers. For comparison, in Nabokov's last four starts, he has allowed 17 goals and hasn't had a save percentage above .875 in any of those games. The coaching staff had no choice but to start Poulin and keep playing him as he played well.

Whoever is in net will still need more help, as both Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait aren't near returning from their injuries quite yet. With or without them, the question remains:
How long can the Poulin wall keep backstopping the Islanders?

Lets Go Islanders!

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