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Play Of The Day: Barzal with the Beauty

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The Islanders' electric rookie scores his first NHL goal

New York Islanders v New York Rangers
The kid has arrived.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There’s 18:45 remaining in the second period of the Islanders-Rangers game as I type this sentence. The reason I’m writing this post is because Mathew Barzal has just scored his first NHL goal and this filled me with immense joy. And look, I’m just gonna be straight up with you right now. I screamed very loud when he scored, I really did. I gotta hand it to myself because that was quite a howl I let out.

My neighbors would tell it to you different, most likely. I’m watching this game late at night from my DVR and there's no doubt my screaming woke them up.

But that’s totally fine, and totally appropriate.

The decibel level of my scream was proportionate to the significance of the moment. My asshole neighbors deserved to be woken up, and I’d still be saying that even if they weren’t assholes. Which, to be clear, they most definitely are. My neighbors are assholes.

In fact I’d like to talk about neighbors some more. No, I’m just kidding. Now, Dom already wrote a post about this goal. So what more could I possibly have to offer? Absolutely nothing. But that’s okay, I’m doing this anyway. After overreacting to the preseason beauty he scored against the Devils B-squad, I entered the season with extremely high expectations for no. 13.

It was a bit frustrating to see Barzal go scoreless so far since he’s been arguably the team’s best forward through six games. (I know Brock Nelson is off to a very strong start, hence the word “arguably.”) He’s been attacking defensemen with tenacity, using his speed to apply pressure to the outside. The puck just hadn’t gone in for him yet.

Until tonight.

Against the Rangers, in Madison Square Garden.

After burning Rick Nash and beating Henrik Lundqvist.

Here's the Play Of The Day, complete with all the calls and replay angles.

That is perfection right there. Wow, what a beauty.


Despite blowing a 3-1 lead in a sloppy, turnover-ridden third period, the Islanders won the game 4-3 in a shootout. Barzal would have two more point-blank opportunities which Lundqvist made two stellar stops on. The kid was flying all night, like he has been all season.

Now, I'm not even gonna mention Doug Weight here in this space. There's just no need to go there. This is a celebratory post, after all.

I'm not gonna talk about how Weight inexplicably played Ryan Pulock just 8:43 in the game and 1:28 in the third period, thereby negating the one single fucking advantage there is to dressing seven defensemen (alleviating some minutes from the other six defensemen).

Or about how the cost of this one single benefit was juggling and rotating your 11 forwards all night, and having them absorb the missing man's minutes.

Or about how Weight, in his post-game interview, actually had the nerve to describe Pulock's play during his two 40-second shifts in the final frame as "tight."

Or about how both Anders Lee and Adam Pelech (who otherwise had a good game, I thought) committed the two most blatant, careless defensive zone turnovers imaginable (both of which led to extremely high-danger chances against, one of which was converted).

Or about how if either of these turnovers were committed by Mr. Pulock, he'd probably be locked in a Barclays Center dungeon by now undergoing extreme forms of punishment.

Bringing any of that up, even in a referential manner, well that would be kind of fucked up right? I wouldn't do that to you, or to Mat Barzal. I wouldn't even dream of it.

This isn't the place for all that. This is the place to celebrate the Islanders' win over the Rangers. This is the place to laugh about how the Rangers are 1-5-2, and about how the Bryant Park Library over on 42nd Street has been more boisterous and lively than the Garden has been this season. This is where I rejoice once more and claim victory over my asshole neighbors.

This is where we relive and celebrate what is sure to be the first of many goals Mat Barzal scores in his NHL career.

What a beautiful goal it was.