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Home Opener Plus/Minus: Islanders 4, Hurricanes 3- A Tale of Two Special Teams

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Our post-game reactions, in various forms.

What's your battle level?
What's your battle level?

These aren't your one year older brother's Islanders.

It's been 120 hockey minutes and the New York Islanders have yet to trail in a game.  And when Jiri Tlusty finished off his hat trick and cut the third period lead to one, this group of Isles didn't break.

The same guys who lead the charge in Carolina did the same in front of a rocking Nassau Coliseum crowd.  John Tavares showed why he's still number 1 on our Top 25 Under 25 with a goal and an assist.  Brock Nelson capped his weekend with a goal and assist of his own, while newcomer Johnny Boychuk added two more assists.

Box | Game Sum | Event Sum | Fancy: Natural Stat Trick - HockeyStats.ca | Recap: Isles |

Observations:

The biggest observation has to be the special teams.

The power play train keeps chugging along, scoring another 2 goals on 5 attempts.  It's only been two games against the same opponent, but the Isles power play has started the season connecting on 4 of 8 attempts (50%).

On the flip side, the penalty kill is awful.  While the PK did have a final decent kill in the third period, they still gave up another 2 goals on 4 attempted kills.  That's only 5 kills so far in 9 attempts.  I'm not sure if this kill really misses Michael Grabner or needs a new game plan, but 56% is not going to cut it.

The Isles goalies Even Strength Save % so far is .953 (29/31).  On the PP, the Save % is only .765 (13/17).  The penalty kill really needs some work, fast.

Plus/Minus

+ The relationship between Johnny Boychuk's slapshot and Brock Nelson's knees. Two games. Two goals.

+ The fourth line (if you can call them that, Butchie). They were engaged all game.  Matt Martin had some scoring chances. Casey Cizikas was stick handling around Canes players. And most importantly they drew the penalty that lead to the first power play, which ended with a Tavares blast and a 1-0 lead.

- Brian Strait. Get well soon Calvin de Haan.

+ Cory Conacher.  It must be weird knowing every time you step on the ice that opposing players will be looking to line you up each shift.  Conacher takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin', and added his first goal as an Islander for good measure.

+ Chad Johnson.  Like it was mentioned by Dom last night, it is so nice to see a confident goalie in between the pipes for the Islanders.

Battle Level Chart

  • Hahd: Johnny Boychuk's shot, Brock Nelson's knee, Johnny T. on Gleason. Part 2.
  • Smaht: Nikolay Kulemin.  Chased Sekera and then started the eventual game winner.
  • Passengers:  Strait. On the ice for 4 of 6 Canes goals this weekend. In the box for another.
  • Warriors: The Nassau Coliseum crowd. Showed up early enough to wake up Boychuk, stayed late enough to victory beep us off to dreamland.
  • Overall Battle Level: The Cappy Zone. We won, and that's most important. But gotta be bettah for the Rangers.

Thank you Anthony Tartamella for this awesome pre-game shot of the Coliseum: