Mark Streit was simply outstanding in his first real game in 17 months. He quarterbacked a potent powerplay(3 for 6) and was everywhere defensively finishing with a goal, two assists, and a team high 23:44 of ice time in the Islanders 6-2 drubbing of the Devils "B" (ish) squad. The Isles newly assembled number one power play unit included Travis Hamonic and Frans Nielsen in addition to usual suspects Matt Moulson and John Tavares and was mostly dominant with puck movement, tape to tape passing and a slew of scoring chances throughout the game. Hopefully, this is the start of a beautiful thing, but preseason performance caveats apply.
NYI-NJD Highlights & Analysis (9/24) - Islanders - MSG.com
The HNL! crew break down the highlights from the Islanders-Devils preseason game
Mark Streit Interview:
Tonight was some confirmation that Garth Snow was again brilliant in locking John Tavares into the contract extension. JT actually looked stronger, smarter and faster than last year. He was noticeable on every shift winning races to pucks, refusing to be knocked off of puck possession and making outstanding passes to create scoring chances. What is more amazing, is that he did all of this in 14:36 of ice time. There were points where he reminded me of Jagr skating through the entire Devil zone.
- The entire FnGO line was also outstanding. Grabner continued to generate turnovers and scoring chances with his speed (which if you can believe it, looks improved). Kyle Okposo didn't hit a post, and Frans Nielsen finished with a three point night also (all on that new fangled power play).
- Travis Hamonic looks like a stud still
- Matt Martin looked a bit faster and played well toward the end of the game when put on a line with Josh Bailey.
- Bailey looked okay tonight. Not spectacular, but steady.
- I thought Eaton and Jurcina looked kind of sloppy. This may not be a good pairing. Both are pretty slow.
- But Aaron Ness is damn fast. But also damn small.
- The top rookies: Nino Niederrieter had a nice debut on the top line, but for me, it was difficult to tell if that was him, or the fact that both JT and Matt Moulson looked so good. Nino certainly didn't do anything to hurt himself and perhaps he was helping to open up some space for his linemates, but I would like to see how things go with some others before making a judgement of where he belongs. Ryan Strome did not do much and looked a little sloppy and tentative, but again, linemates can come into question here as he was centering Tim Wallace and Jay Pandolfo tonight.
- Trevor Gillies is a beast. We may hear some nonsense about his "sucker punch" of Cam Janssen in fight one, but he absolutely pummeled him in fight two.
- Kevin Poulin and Al Montoya both looked solid but not spectacular in their debuts, but I didn't think they were tested much.
- Staios not bad, Pandolfo, not much. Caveat that Staios played with Streit can be taken into account here.
Additional Coverage and Links:
Tavares aiming to stay on upward climb - NHL.com's 30 in 15
Islanders center John Tavares believes the pain of last season will be the club's gain in the 2011-12 season.
As the days until real hockey drag on, the roster should dwindle down to the fittest of the fit and we will get a better sense of where the Islanders stand, but all in all, there are reasons to be slightly optimistic as October approaches.