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Play Of The Day: Pulock the Six Shooter

Ryan Pulock scores his first goal of the season and ignites the Islanders’ struggling power play

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NHL: New York Islanders at Nashville Predators
Ryan Pulock finally receives some hugs from his friends.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

This is what we’ve been waiting to see.

That’s Islanders rookie defenseman Ryan Pulock blasting his 100-plus-mph slapshot into the back of the net for a power play goal in the 6-2 win over Nashville.

Yes, I know we’ve seen it before. But that was back in April 2016, in Game 3 of the Panthers series. That feels like a long time ago. So long, in fact, it’s hard to believe he’s still technically an NHL rookie.

It’s the fact that we’ve only seen him in the lineup a couple of times since then - whether due to injury or curious personnel decisions - that’s been so frustrating. Particularly when you consider that, going back to last season, the team has left points on the table because of its inability to convert on the power play.

The knock on Pulock is that he’s prone to commit defensive mistakes. But the impact he’s capable of having on a game with his offense, as we saw Saturday night, is greater than any of the other defenseman on the team. And seeing as they’ve been making some brutal defensive zone mistakes of their own, there’s no question Pulock should be in the lineup moving forward.

This was the team’s second of three power play goals on the evening. Early in the first period, Jordan Eberle finally scored his first goal of the season. Watch as Pulock draws the Nashville forward in tight, opening up room for Eberle to cut into the middle for a better shooting angle once Pulock passes him the puck:

The team’s third PP goal of the game was a top shelf snipe by John Tavares in the third period, his third goal of the game:

Man, I just love the slow-motion shot of this one:

This was Jonny’s second hat trick in the last three games (the other came in last week’s 5-3 win over Arizona). Here’s an interesting fact about that:

And here's an interesting fact about me: anytime I can throw Ziggy Palffy into a post, I’m gonna do it. (Also, Mike Bossy did it three times. Good lord.)

This was the Islanders’ best win of the young season. It was encouraging to see the team finally break through on the power play, going 3-for-5 in total. My hope is that Doug Weight can connect the dots here:

  • The Islanders are now 5-for-38 on the power play, good for 13.2% (6th-worst in the league).
  • They’re 3-for-10* in those games Ryan Pulock has played. He has factored into the scoring on all three of those goals.
  • Ryan Pulock has factored into 3 of the Islanders 5 PP goals (60%).

This here ain’t rocket science.

Well, when Ryan Pulock’s involved, maybe it is.

* Pulock has appeared on all 10 of these PP opportunities, though there’s an error in the NHL’s time-on-ice report from Nashville in that it doesn’t list Pulock as being on the ice for the PP immediately following his goal (which came off the ensuing NZ faceoff violation), even though he was.

In looking at games more closely this season, I’ve noticed numerous mistakes in the league’s official time-on-ice records. I find this strange because this isn’t a subjective statistic, like giveaways and takeaways, which are open to interpretation (and which, as I give just one example of here, doesn’t always reflect reality).

If a player is or isn’t on the ice is a black-and-white, objective matter. For the NHL to regularly screw this up means one of only two things: the NHL doesn’t really care about keeping accurate records or they’re just really bad it. I’ll go with the latter.

** Credit goes to NewYorkBootleg for the “Six Shooter” moniker used in the headline.