This is one of the best ways to start the morning. I cannot remember the last time the Islanders won a game on National TV, but last night, the Islanders defeated their Atlantic Division rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, by the score of 4-1 on NBCSN. Thrilled.
The game was never out of the Islanders control, which saw goals from Casey Cizikas (first NHL Goal), Michael Grabner (breakaway), John Tavares, and Matt Moulson. Evgeni Nabokov held the shutout for a over 58 minutes, and the boo-birds came out with a little over half the game remaining. What’s the matter, Pittsburgh? Didn’t see us coming again?
The Islanders went a perfect 100% on special teams, converting both of their power-plays, and killing off all three penalties they faced, including a five-minute-major for Colin McDonald’s boarding of Ben Lovejoy. The Penguins totaled three power-play shots as the Islanders world class penalty-kill schooled them (yes, even Marty Reasoner).
On another note: Travis Hamonic “returned” to the Islanders line-up last night, and in the process, started building a name for himself on national television.
Before the game, Islanders fans were worried that Travis Hamonic would not be participating in this one, and then others (including myself) were upset that he would be suiting up. Hammer suffered a sprained ankle in Winnipeg, so the fact that he would be left in the line-up was a bit unnerving, and the fact that he went down after taking a blocked shot on the Islanders first penalty-kill made the decision seem even worse. After taking the shot, Hamonic finished his shift and went straight to the locker room after the whistle.The Islanders appeared to be down to five defensmen only 7 minutes into the game.
Hamonic returned by the end of the TV timeout, and carried on.With a bum ankle, Travis Hamonic finished the game with 25:06 of ice time, including 5:07 of ice time on the penalty kill, and 3 blocked shots. He also added one hit, and one takeaway. Warrior-like.
It was gutsy, it showed heart, and Travis Hamonic played a clean, simple game. It was an amazing effort from the Islanders defensemen who, at the age of 22, still has plenty of time to continue improving his game.
The way he carries himself on and off the ice demonstrates pure leadership, deserving of an “A”, and probably a “C” if John Tavares wasn’t the face of this franchise. Hamonic is taking the next step to become the most valuable player to this team next to JT, and it’s not even close.
Give the kid a raise, and move on. Hamonic is going to be a star in the NHL, and a cornerstone to this Islanders franchise. Another one of Snow’s picks that is already paying dividends.
A few more observations on this one:
-I did not like Kyle Okposo in the defensive zone. He cannot clear the puck from his own zone.
-Bad penalties to take by both Kyle Okposo and Colin McDonald. Colin has a hearing today, and will probably be suspended.
-After writing a very positive review of David Ullstrom yesterday, he wasn’t very noticeable in this one. David did get glowing reviews from the NBCSN guys, calling him a great skater and a terror for defensemen.
-That Islanders power-play is good.
-As per Eric Hornick, the Islanders have scored at least 22 goals in their first 6 games 16 times in their history, this season being the 16th time. In the previous 15 times, the Isles only missed the playoffs once.
-Much better outing for Evgeni Nabokov. He looked like a top goalie.
-Give credit to the Islanders defense, too. Every puck was blocked, deflected, etc. Andrew MacDonald poked a loose puck that was going to Crosby who had an open net.
-Michael Grabner is still the Islanders biggest threat on the penalty-kill. I hope opposing teams never figure out that blue-line passes are a non-no when he’s on the ice.
-Matt Martin blocked a huge shot from Evgeni Malkin. It stung, but way to take one for the team.
-Speaking of the 4th-line, with goals from Martin and Cizikas already, the team’s 4th-line has 2 goals this season. Last year, through 82 games, they had 3. Scoring from that bottom line goes a long way.
-Marty Reasoner had an assist yesterday. Great effort to get the puck to Michel Grabner.
-John Tavares could have scored a few more goals last night. Keep that stick down, JT.
-Nice second effort in the third by Matt Carkner, getting that puck deep into the Penguins zone.
-The Islanders are 3-0 against the Penguins since they trolled us with the Pilon statue.
The Islanders play the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. The Islanders have a 3-2-1 record through six games.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment.
Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants