In the New York Islanders’ return home to the Barclays Center on Hockey Fights Cancer night, two early goals by Travis Hamonic and Casey Cizikas set the tone as the Isles cruised to a 5-1 win. Brock Nelson, Shane Prince, Nick Leddy, Nikolai Kulemin, and Dennis Seidenberg all had multipoint games.
Thomas Greiss also had a great game despite the Isles’ recent goaltending controversy.
#Isles maintain 2-0 lead, 17 2nd-period saves by Greiss, 27 for the game. And with so little practice!— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 30, 2016
Off to the Races
Travis Hamonic got the Islanders on the board after about a minute of play in the first period off an unfortunate deflection from James van Riemsdyk’s stick. It continued a strong run of goals from defensemen, with the Islanders now having nine goals scored by their blueliners.
Casey Cizikas added to the score shortly after that, making it a 2-0 game early on in the first. The New Best Fourth Line In Hockey – if you can even call it a fourth line anymore – contributed to both goals. Since signing his much-maligned contract, Cizikas has been playing well, and scored his first goal of the season tonight.
Bad Run for the Penalty Kill
The penalty kill is still one of the Islanders’ strong points this season, but it’s had a bad run lately, with four power play goals conceded in the past three games. Jake Gardiner scored tonight for the Maple Leafs, making the score 2-1 before the Islanders roared back with 3 unanswered goals.
While Gardiner’s goal ultimately had very little effect on the game, it’s going to be important going forward to get the PK back to its strong play.
The Prince who was Promised
Did this guy drink some lucky potion while on the injured reserve, or what? Shane Prince has four points in his last two games, including two nearly identical goals that came off the stanchions for a fortunate deflection right to Prince’s stick. He continued his lucky play with some strong playmaking, setting up Brock Nelson’s goal with a crafty assist to give Nelson a wide open net.
The Prince and Nelson duo had a great night, although the third member of their line, Andrew Ladd, remained off the scoresheet despite some great chances throughout the game.
At this point Andrew Ladd could shoot on an empty net and a gust of wind would blow the puck wide. It's unreal. #Isles— (((Mike B))) (@nightflyblog) October 31, 2016
Josh Bailey put the Islanders up 5-1 with around 45 seconds left in the game. The set up on this goal was pretty nifty, with John Tavares making a pass only John Tavares can between his legs to find Leddy who deflected it to Bailey.
20 Minute Efforts
Despite the score, the Islanders still struggled with possession in all but the third period against a tired Leafs team coming off back-to-back games. While some of that may be due to score effects, as the Leafs were always behind in the game after the Isles’ two early goals, the Islanders still have to work on their puck possession and playing the game for more than just one period.
Matt Martin played his first game against his old team as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The long-time fan favorite was appreciative of his old team, and earlier on expressed that he’s still rooting for his friends. The Isles gave him a nice video tribute for his return.
The Islanders start another five game home stand and take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in a playoff rematch on Tuesday. It’ll be Anthony Beauvillier’s 9th NHL game, which means the Islanders have to officially decide whether or not he stays with the team or goes back to the QMJHL. It shouldn’t be a hard choice with the way Beauvillier has played, but it’s a major decision coming up both for the organization and for the 19 year old’s career.