(1) Josh Bailey’s Goal
Today’s Play Of The Day goes to Josh Bailey for this ridiculously sweet between-the-legs move he pulled in tight after intercepting Joe Thornton’s pass and undressing Sharks captain Joe Pavelski with a 5-hole deke:
As you can see, Sharks goalie Aaron Dell is caught deep in his net since his team just had the puck. Had this been a rush by Bailey, Dell probably would've been out far enough to poke the puck away after Bailey pushed it through Pavelski's legs. Defensive zone turnovers are particularly brutal when you’re in control of the puck and in position to break out. Doug Weight should probably scratch Josh Ho-Sang for one more game to punish him for Thornton's giveaway here.
Here is the play Butchie referenced from the team’s 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers Thursday night, when Bailey dangled past Kevin Shattenkirk in the closing seconds of regulation but got robbed twice by Henrik Lundqvist, which sent the game into OT.
This time, Bailey finished the play off. And he did so beatifully even though, as he told Shannon Hogan during his second intermission interview, he actually meant to lift the puck up high. Let me show you what Bailey meant to do while also coming full circle with these three teams.
This was Tomas Hertl’s between-the-legs goal against the Rangers a few years back (his fourth goal of the game). In the last paragraph I pretended like I was coming “full circle” here by tying in the Sharks and Rangers but I was lying to you. In reality, I just wanted to show you something bad that happened to the Rangers. Look at that score, too - this goal put the Sharks up 8-2. That is hilarious. I am biased against the Rangers.
This wasn’t the first time Bailey showed off his sweet mitts. Check out these two clips from last season. In the first, he slices through the slot and scores the OT winner against Anaheim:
(2) Andrew Ladd’s Goal
What I liked about this goal was that each forward played a role in it. First was the sweet touch-pass from Bailey to Barzal, who held onto the puck as both Sharks defensemen converged trying to block the shot they thought was coming. While they stumbled all over each other like a bunch of morons, the rookie curled around the net and fed a slick pass to Ladd in the high slot, who one-timed a good, hard snap-shot up high, glove-side. Remember, kids: teamwork makes the dream work.
By the way, Mathew Barzal is just stupid good. He's now got points in three straight games after going scoreless through his first five. The kid is flying out there, playing good hockey in all three zones. He looks poised to have a monster rookie season.
(3) Anders Lee's Second Goal
This play was facilitated by a great touch-pass in the defensive zone by Cal Clutterbuck. As the puck is winding around the boards, he redirects it to Tavares, who leads the odd-man rush up ice. Burns does quite well to dissuade both the pass and the shot, but ultimately chooses to play the pass and concede the shot to Tavares.
So I was a bit surprised that Tavares still opted to pass to Lee, who later said he, too, expected JT to shoot. Good thing he stayed ready. I'm certainly not gonna second-guess the captain here. He seemed to be waiting for the exact moment Burns dropped to the ice to pass the puck. By the time it went through Burns’ legs, Dell had committed to the shot and couldn't recover. Which is to say he had absolutely no chance on that one, Howie.
This was a really good win for the Islanders. After losing both games to San Jose last year in gut-wrenching fashion, they’ve swept the season series this time around. They have proven that sharks are vicious animals, not to be trusted. For the love of god, do not let your kids go unsupervised when they're playing with sharks.
Finally, it was nice to see a bunch of former Islanders on hand for alumni weekend, to make me feel old as shit. Much appreciated, really.
Seriously though, I’m glad they were in the house to witness a great hockey game and an Islanders win. And I'm glad they got to see their old team score some beautiful goals.
On this night, none were better than this beauty from Josh Bailey.