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Islanders vs. Lightning: Men of the Match

Matt Martin, Michael Grabner and Andrew MacDonald draw our notice after the Islanders' 4-2 win over the Lightning.

"We look good in black!"
"We look good in black!"
Bruce Bennett

In hockey they have "three stars of the game," in soccer you'll often hear of one "man of the match." We don't want to hold ourselves to any specific number, but we do want to provide a forum to pick your standouts of a given game. This feature will appear...when we feel like it.

It doesn't have to be the absolute best players of a game, and it doesn't have to be players who were mistake-free. Just players who stood out with key performances, for whatever reason(s) you choose.

For Saturday's 4-2 win over the Lightning, I'm selecting three familiar names. Leave yours in comments or in the poll below.

Matty Marts

Matt Martin of course gets a spotlight. He earned the home media's first star with the game-winning goal (and eight hits), and he talked in the on-ice post-game interview about feeling charged up by the sellout crowd. (He also told NHL Network: "We're growing. We're figuring out how to win these one-goal games." He also praised Evgeni Nabokov's influence, and the way Nabby's helped him with penalty kill advice.)

Anyway, that goal was a nice play, but it was his interaction with the fans in the corner that caught particular notice. In the video, you see that celebration as well as the reaction of sheer joy on the bench:


Andrew MacDonald had a nice game overall -- we hear the refrain from some segments who call him a "should be #5 d-man," yet he keeps putting in good games. Anyway, for the defense and for this amusing and memorable empty net goal, he deserves mention:

Grabs is Fast

Finally, Michael Grabner. I wasn't surprised to see him do well on the top line, but that could have gone either way and there could have been an awkward adjustment. Instead, he not only fit in well, generated offense, and took several dangerous shots, he also ended up scoring the first goal of the game on an excellent top-corner blast.

He also did his "usual" turn too: Blemish-free penalty killing in 2:42 of 4-on-5 action, including one PK where his normal PK running mate Frans Nielsen was in the box.

His own post-game reaction captures the zeitgeist right now:

Who are your choices?