Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:Seriously, who are the real Islanders?
After a sleepy first period where the Stars took a 2-0 lead to the intermission and Evgeni Nabokov left with an injury, it looked like another “what will go wrong next?” kind of night for the Islanders. And then the Isles scored four in the second, three in the third to trounce Dallas 7-3 at the Coliseum. It was 20 minutes of medicore-to-bad hockey followed inexplicably by 40 minutes of great hockey. If they can channel the intensity level of the last two periods more often, then they’ll really have something.
Everything seemed to go the Islanders way tonight. It was one of those “easy” victories that fans can revel in and just enjoy the last 10 minutes instead of stressing out a close game. The power play was clicking, 3-for-6 on the night. Young Islanders stepped up and contributed; Brock Nelson, Calvin de Haan and Ryan Strome combined for four points on the night, including two goals. Peter Regin — REGIN! — scored tonight and inexplicably had his best game as an Islander tonight (by a country mile). More of all of this, please.
John Tavares Plays Hockey Really Well
Obvious statement is obvious.
John Tavares, man. That’s a hell of a game right there. Three goals, two assists for five points. He’s now third in the NHL in points after a breakout game tonight.
The first goal was a slam dunk off a beauty of a pass from Thomas Vanek, tying the game at 2-2 in the second. Rich Peverly flubbed a pass in front of his own net and, well, you really shouldn’t do that when Tavares and Thomas Vanek are in the area. This goal is embedded below for posterity.
What a great pass from Vanek.
So, Tavares factored into five of the team’s seven goals and helped the power play absolutely go to work. The Isles were 3-of-6 on the man advantage including Ryan Strome’s First NHL Goal.
Don’t overlook Vanek, either. He had two helpers tonight and now has 27 points in 28 games as an Islanders. Man, if they can figure out a way to keep him…
Welcome Back, Matt Donovan
Well, that’s a tough way to start things back up in his first NHL game since being called up from Bridgeport… To give the Stars the lead early in the first (yeesh) Donovan made an ill-advised pass to the middle of his own zone that was intercepted and converted by Jamie Benn.
On the Dallas side of things, an excellent play by an excellent player. On the Donovan side, a terrible, no good, very bad way to re-initiate oneself to the NHL. It’s the plays like these that make Donovan so frustrating to watch, and also apparently the rationale to send him down last time.
He’s clearly out grown the AHL, putting up a point per game when he was recently sent back down. He’s also clearly got some kinks to work out in the NHL.
Overall, his play is actually quite good. But it’s hard to watch these big, costly mistakes rear their ugly heads. Growing pains.
Coming Up, More Poulin
Evgeni Nabokov left tonight’s game in the first period with an injury. There’s no word on what it is or the severity of it but I’d say there’s no doubt that you’ll see Kevin Poulin tomorrow night. You also may see lots more of Kevin Poulin in the coming week(s), again, depending on the severity of Nabokov’s injury.
It’s unfortunate for Nabokov and the Islanders, the veteran netminder has been playing well since returning from a groin injury. Now Poulin, who hasn’t seen much action since Nabokov returned, will have another chance to prove himself. The defense has looked better in front of Nabokov lately and Brian Strait has returned. Will Poulin fare better this time around?