It took several games but the real New York Islanders finally showed up to play last night. After two miserable losses, the squad made incremental improvements that were on display recently when they tied two highly qualified teams.
First, they equaled the Edmonton Oilers in a low scoring game, and then, in a surprising showing, they managed to tie the Florida Panthers. Reporters have filed stories about GMs Jason and Trev hoisting drinks, trying to figure out why they couldn’t dispose of the winless Isles. In the end, they both realized that the opposition was far more formidable than the first few games indicated.
Finally, tonight, in a face-off against the star-laden Carolina Hurricanes, the Islanders found their mojo and put up a half dozen goals. Viktor Arvidsson played a role in each of the first four goals, posting a goal and three assists. Alex Pietrangelo banged in two goals on shots from the point and Reilly Smith added another goal and two assists. The Isles exposed David Savard, who ended the night with a minus 3 for his lack of effort.
After a puck ricocheted off three players, Eakin scored the Hurricanes first goal but it took the Isles just two seconds to put in another one. Smith was seen laughing on the bench after deking Pater Mrazek. Mrazek’s goal stick was lying in the corner and his mask was last seen sliding towards center ice after Smith’s backhand between-the-legs miracle goal slid past the goal line.
Casey Cizikas, who potted an unassisted third period goal was interviewed after the game and smirked “John who?”
Nicklas Backstrom was a plus 4 early in the second period before he left with a minor injury.
Next up are the St. Louis Blues who will likely become Chop Suey St. Louis tonight.