NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 12:55 AM
Jack Capuano did his best to avoid making any declarations about the Islanders’ goaltending situation, but one answer he gave Monday afternoon after the Isles defeated the Red Wings, 4-1, at Barclays Center may provide a glimpse into his thinking for the foreseeable future.
The question directed at the head coach was about whether he subscribes to the theory of riding the hot goalie. The Islanders (30-19-6, 66 points) have one right now in Thomas Greiss, who made 28 saves Monday and has won his last five starts. He’s allowed just six goals over his last four starts. Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Marek Zidlicky and Ryan Strome scored for the Isles.
No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak took the loss in the Isles’ first two games against the Wings, whom the Islanders played for the third time in 22 days.
Halak also gave up six goals in two periods on Saturday at Carolina before being pulled. Capuano initially answered “yes and no” to the question, explaining there are several factors that determine who starts in net, such as success against certain teams. He followed with this: “When you’ve got a hot goalie that’s playing well, you want to play him. There’s no doubt about it.”
With a back-to-back scheduled for Thursday and Friday, both Greiss and Halak likely will get chances to play. It may be revealing, though, which goalie Capuano starts Thursday at home against the Capitals. Greiss is 16-6-2 this season with a 2.16 goals against average and .931 save percentage, while Halak is 13-12-4 with a 2.42 GAA and .914 save percentage. Capuano was asked if there’s anything Greiss can do to supplant Halak atop the depth chart.
“I just think, honestly, with the amount of games we have here coming up this month and next month that all three goalies could get a real good opportunity here to play a lot of hockey,” said Capuano, referencing third goalie Jean-Francois Berube. “The one thing you want to make sure is that we’re fresh.”
Marek Zidlicky celebrates his goal against the Red Wings in the second period.
Greiss has been the beneficiary of goal support. During Greiss’ five-start win streak, the Isles have scored 28 goals, at least four in each game. In Halak’s last five starts, he’s allowed 18 goals while the Isles scored just nine while he was in net; that excludes the tally credited to their shootout win over Columbus and the goal they scored with Greiss in net in relief on Saturday.
“I can’t always think that,” Greiss said when asked about his play warranting consecutive starts. “Jaro’s played very well, too. But we’ve both been playing well.”
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