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Another start for the kid: Poulin gets the nod over Nabokov in Carolina

Nov 7, 2013, 1:48 PM EDT

poulinnabokovgetty Getty Images

We’re not sure if this qualifies as a goalie controversy quite yet, but tonight in Carolina, Kevin Poulin will make his second start in the Islanders’ past three games.

In Poulin’s last outing, on Saturday versus Boston, he stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Bruins. However, despite that solid effort, Isles head coach Jack Capuano went back to regular starter Evgeni Nabokov Tuesday in Washington, where the 38-year-old veteran allowed six goals on 39 shots in a 6-2 defeat.

Nabokov’s struggles (5-4-3, .897 SV%) have many Isles fans calling for Capuano to give 23-year-old Poulin (1-2-0, .907) more time in the net. (That, or they’re calling for general manager Garth Snow to make a trade for a goalie.)

Combined, Nabokov and Poulin have registered a .897 save percentage, which ranks the Isles 26th in the NHL. With the Rangers showing signs of life recently, the Isles’ hold on a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference has become a tenuous one.

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  1. gratescott - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Controversy?! The only controversy is which one should be released. I witnessed that Nabokov’s latest debacle first-hand Tuesday night. The pee-wee intermission goalies were better.

    We won’t make it out of the first round with either one of these guys between the pipes. Here’s to hoping Garth pulls off another “genius” trade with Buffalo for Ryan Miller.

  2. xdj511 - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Wait… I’m confused… when did the NHL get wild cards? Apparently I slept through the realignment talk during the offseason. Here I am thinking the top four teams in each division make it… and there’s a wild card?

    • furkmyster - Nov 7, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Top 3 in the division make it, then 2 wild cards. This standings post is the first one that has ever been correct so far this year.

  3. asyd1827 - Nov 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    If Nabokov has a .897 save percentage and Poulin is at .907, how can they combined be at .897?

    • Jason Brough - Nov 7, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      That’s a good question. Two sources had the team save percentage at .897. I think the Isles gave up an empty-netter to the Flyers. Maybe that accounts for it?
      Anyway, I did the math and it turns out to be a combined save percentage of .899. Not great either way.

  4. bcisleman - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Several issues here. Remember he Isles are without Lubo & Straiter–two of their best defensemen. Poulin has been a lot better this year. Looked quite solid again vs the Hurricanes tonight. Nabby has been very up and down. Was great vs Pit.He also is well liked and respected in the room.

    I would favor giving Poulin a shot at being #1 and see how he responds. The challenge might motivate Nabby to step up his game as well. Wouldn’t ruleout a trade, but I see trading w/ ANA for Hiller rather than BUF for Miller.

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