Lots to chat about after the New York Islanders' big 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Nassau Coliseum. The big picture: Key end to a three-game losing streak, against a very tough opponent, where the Isles returned to their "we can play anyone" game for the bulk of the contest.
Here are a few highlights from Jack Capuano's post-game (which you can watch above or at this official site link), as well as Lubomir Visnovsky's quotes after scoring the game-winner.
Jack Capuano, First Reaction
It was a big win. Not that we 'struggled' the last few games, but our guys played some good hockey tonight and rose to the occasion. Building was rocking, lot of emotion in this building, the fan support was tremendous.
On Ryan Strome
Strome again centered a fourth line with Matt Martin, and this time with Cal Clutterbuck (not Eric Boulton like in St. Louis).
Even last year when he was playing with Matty and Colin McDonald I thought they were a really good line. Obviously tonight you saw the effect those three had on the ice with Clutterbuck and Matty and Ryan.
Late in the game we iced it, a big face-off, and he came through for us. They're a good face-off team, they won quite a few. Obviously to have success in that situation was big. [Strome] played hard, he was physical, he used his body, got pucks on net.
Okposo's Power Play Equalizer
They have a great penalty kill. Tonight Nick Leddy was shooting pucks. He was able to establish that shot. That [opened it up] for Okposo's goal.
The Standard Fischler Question: 'Your goalie saved You in the first.'
The Maven likes the goalies. Capuano knows that's what they're there for.
Yeah we mismanaged the puck a little bit [in the first], and with a skilled [opponent] you can't do that. You gotta move your feet, move the puck. It's a function of us moving our feet and playing fast, and in the second and third I thought we did that. We used our speed. That's the way we need to play. But Jaro made big saves when we weren't.
Is This a Big Step? A Statement Game? Etc.
Any game's a challenge, every team's a challenge. But when you've got a team that's won nine [really eight] in a row, that has the skill they have, to play a top team in the NHL and go out and compete like we did tonight, play structured, all the intangibles it takes. So, a step…as I told the guys, we gotta get that swagger, that attitude back in our game and tonight we did that. Real great composure on the bench, real great poise from our guys.
This is a game you can measure yourself. We talked about the West Coast trip, San Jose, Anaheim, [L.A.] we've competed hard against those teams. If we do the right things we can compete with anybody. We just need to understand that's the way we need to play. Everyone was contributing...
[...later, but on the same theme...]
We've been there before. It's the trust in one another.
On the Defense, and Visnovsky
That last quote continued straight into the following about the blueline...
I thought tonight our defense played great. All six guys. We've had guys in and out of the lineup with injuries, but you can see when our goalie plays like that and those six defensemen played a quality game -- every single one of them -- we give ourselves a real good chance.
And then on Visnovsky:
He's one of those guys who's really elusive. Like Keith and Seabrook for them. I thought he had really good chances even before the goal [ed.: More on that from Visnovsky below], so you just hoped one would go in.
He's just quick. When you have movement with your defense, you join the cycles and you join the rush, you have that mobility and create that confusion. It was a great rush, a great play, good middle lane drive, good screen and great shot.
And then Reinhart:
He was good. He used his size to his advantage, used his stick well, he was physical and in your face. That's the way we need Griff to play.
No 3-0, Right?
One more from Fischler...
Fischler: "Did it help not to have a three-goal lead?"
Capuano: (laughs) "I don't know about that."
Lubomir Visnovky: 'Unreal'
Visnovsky at nhl.com:
"I try to play the best that I can. Sometimes I am the hero," he said. "We have another game Monday."
He also was captured by IslesTV for some quick, classic Vis reactions:
Feel awesome. It's unreal. I was like, two, three games the same chances, same spot. Hit posts, second one goalie stop. Third one goes in.
First period was not very well for us, not skating very well. Second was much better and third we dominate last ten minutes and won the game. Good for fans. Full building. It's awesome.