Some night, the goals start piling in before you can even tell who came to play.
Such was arguably the case Tuesday night in Toronto, where the New York Islanders rebounded from a loss in the first leg of this home-and-home to score three times on their first seven shots and six times on their first 15.
That all added up to a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, a 6-2 lead at the second intermission (finally chasing Jonathan Bernier and his .600 save percentage on the night), and a fairly comfortable 6-3 win to relieve their offensive slump and deliver just their second win in 12 tries against the (New) Atlantic Division.
The Isles earned it though, generating goals on good even strength shots from six different Islanders scorers (plus two Leafs goals from former Isles) and four more penalty kills -- extending their streak to 35 straight -- as all four lines contributed goals.
The reshuffled lines may or may not have freshened up the offensive look for the Islanders -- they still managed only 21 shots -- but Brock Nelson opened scoring on a nice changeup shot after lifting Peter Holland's stick to accept a counterattack transition from Mikhail Grabovski and Ryan Strome just two minutes into the game.
The goals flowed plentifully and easily, but first Brad Boyes ended the early good vibes by tying the game at 1-1 just 39 seconds after Nelson's goal. But John Tavares notched his first goal on a two-point night at 11:51, Frans Nielsen added another after dizzying dekes knifing through the Leafs defense and Bernier, and the Isles never looked back, and rarely needed to thanks to six even strength goals in the first 40 minutes.
P.A. Parenteau was the other ex-Islander goal scorer -- completing the cycle after Michael Grabner's goal the other night -- early in the second to make it 3-2 halfway through the second period. But Nikolay Kulemin restored the two-goal lead less than 30 seconds later.
Anders Lee's goal, the Isles' sixth of the night at the end of the second period, brought a coach's challenge from Mike Babcock, as he is wont to do. Lee's elbow made mild contact with Bernier's mask as he backed in toward the goal and deflected Calvin de Haan's pass in, but...
Babcock lost his timeout? Lolololol. pic.twitter.com/SPnGkMaRVR— Rookie Example (@KeithLHHockey) December 30, 2015
Goal stands. (Or "good hockey goal," as they so often and curiously say.) It was a bit of a stretch to claim interference anyway.
With a 6-2 lead entering the third, the final 20 minutes were largely a formality. In relief, James Reimer stopped all six Isles shots he faced. Shawn Matthias got one back against Thomas Greiss with four minutes remaining, and then various silliness took place.
Now Parenteau is having a chat with pretty much the entire #Isles bench. 4:24 left here. Maybe running time to wind it down?— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 30, 2015
Of course Phaneuf would try a predatory hit instead of fight. Martin should've just beat his teeth out instead of politely asking 2x though.— Rookie Example (@KeithLHHockey) December 30, 2015
Martin welcoming Phaneuf to fight, no dice though. Lotta talk.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 30, 2015
Bonus memory (from years gone by):
This was my favorite chickenshit Phaneuf moment. https://t.co/DxilPv4FiH— Rookie Example (@KeithLHHockey) December 30, 2015
Good times. Phrankeneuph!