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Al MontoyaYou may have missed this and who would blame anyone for not paying much attention to the NY Islanders? But after destroying Tampa Bay 5-1 last night, the Islanders have went 4-0-1 in their last 5 games.

With this points streak the Islanders have jumped within 4 points of the New Jersey Devils in the Atlantic Division. And who is the guy that the Islanders can thank for this? Al Montoya is the goalie making this all happen.

The Islanders headed into this season with a three-headed monster in goal with Montoya, Rick DiPietro, and Evgeni Nabokov. With Nabokov banged up and DiPietro ineffective, Montoya has stepped up huge. His numbers in goal are stunningly great with a goals against just over 2.00 and a save percentage in Tim Thomas territory.

And the Isles fans have taken to calling Montoya : the “Big Cubano.” And hell, they should be giving the goalie a nickname and praising him for helping turn this hockey club around. The Islanders coach should be thanking Montoya too because without Montoya, he very well could have lost his coaching job.

The Islanders are getting goals to help support Montoya as well and Matt Moulson and John Tavares have stepped up in that regard. Moulson in particular has been pouring in goals at a wild rate with goals in five straight games including a four-goal game against Dallas. While Moulson does the scoring, Tavares and P.A. Parenteau do the assisting. This is the young talent that has finally emerged in Long Island.

All of a sudden, the Islanders are looking like the team that we thought we’d see from the get-go this season. They will need to continue to play like this if they want a shot to even attempt making the playoffs in the Atlantic division.

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