(A trip back through the goals scored by the Islanders during the last season, be they meaningful, dramatic, ironic, hilarious, incredible or none or all of the above. An on-going off-season series. Maybe. We'll see. Just because.)
While most of his teammates heal up or just take time off, Islanders forward Brock Nelson is over in the Czech Republic, leading Team USA with six goals at the IIHF Men's World Championship.
The last two goals were scored against Slovenia on Sunday and were in-character for Nelson, who was doing what he does, hanging around the crease area looking for rebounds or redirects. It's that type of play that helped Nelson jump out to a fast start this season with the Islanders, scoring ten goals and nine assists in his first 20 games.
The second of those goals, and a fun, notable one to start this retrospective with, was a tag team effort with new teammate Johnny Boychuk. Already up 2-0 on the Hurricanes in both teams' season opener, the Islanders took to the power play in the second period. A backhand pass from John Tavares fed Boychuk at the point, and the resulting slapshot homed in on a target that wasn't the net but just as good.
Nelson was parked to Cam Ward's left, and Boychuk's shot hit Nelson square in the knee. The puck sharply changed direction and zipped right past Ward.
Nelson laid on the ice for a long minute after scoring, no doubt soaking in his second goal of the game and cursing a pained blue streak through gritted teeth. Giving Boychuk power play time was still a novel concept at this point in the season, and the full destructive power of his Johnny Rocket wasn't quite known yet. After this, everybody knew what was coming, even his own teammates.
Almost the same exact scenario played out the next night, when Boychuk and Nelson's knees hooked up for another power play goal against the Hurricanes. Although the sequel looked a little less painful.
The Islanders started the season with two straight wins over a team that they should have beaten. Nelson had a very effective season, but his hot start would cool significantly by December. The 10 goals he scored in the first month and a half would be matched from Dec. 2 through the end of the season.
The low point was being a healthy scratch in a playoff series in which the Islanders would score exactly zero power play goals. His magic knees would have really come in handy versus the Capitals.
But for a little while, Nelson's knees and Boychuk's bombs were a potent power play combo. As much fun as it was to watch, it couldn't have gone on forever. Or else Nelson would have probably needed a pair of Go Go Gadget legs by the end of the season.