UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Immediately after signing a one-year extension with the New York Islanders late last season, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov affirmed that he was pleased to be coming back and that his goal was to lead the team to the playoffs in 2012-13.
GAA: 2.50 | SVP: 0.911
"I like what I see," Nabokov told the media after signing the extension on March 21, 2012. "Hopefully, we'll make the playoffs next year."
At the time, the Islanders owned the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference and were on their way to securing last place in the Atlantic Division for the fifth straight season. But barely 13 months later, the 37-year-old has been a crucial piece of a team that enters Tuesday's action holding seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
"You thought I was joking?" Nabokov told NHL.com when asked about his comments from a year ago. "That's what you play for. You play for the playoffs and to take it to the next level in the playoffs."