The New York Islanders will be forced to solider on for the foreseeable future without starting netminder Evgeni Nabokov. He yanked his groin on Saturday night in the first period while playing the Detroit Red Wings, forcing backup Kevin Poulin to play the rest of the contest.
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) November 18, 2013
Newsday is reporting that the Isles could be without Nabokov for upwards of four weeks. Given his age (38) and the nature of the injury (groin pull), that timeline doesn’t seem too unrealistic. Under other circumstances this injury could be debilitating for New York.
With the way the Nabokov had been playing this month, this might have been a switch that the Islanders were prepared to make anyway. The 23-year-old backup has appeared in eight contests this season, and while his 3-5-0 record isn’t that impressive, it gains new light when you realize that this is a team that’s only won eight games all year long.
Poulin is sporting a solid .909 save percentage and a 2.52 GAA—both of which are much better than Nabokov’s numbers to this point.
Anders Nilsson has been shaky in the AHL, but he’s likely to see at least a start or two while Nabokov rests and heals from his injury. The tandem of Poulin and Nilsson is the tandem of the future, so the Isles may want to see what the latter is made of during a back-to-back or during a busy stretch.