Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:NEW YORK — Michael Grabner had gone 37 games without a goal when he scored at 17:09 of the first Period on Friday night.
Grabner’s slump had almost become representative of the slump the Islanders second line was going through. Grabner, Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey had struggled to find the back of the net or even get a point during recent games, but things have started to turn around for the trio.
On Tuesday, Nielsen scored his first goal since November 19 in the Islanders 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay. Grabner had an assist on the goal, which was his first point since October 17, and it was the line’s best game they have had in some time.
Friday night seemed to be the culmination of the slump finally coming to an end.
“Our line has been going pretty good,” Grabner said after Friday night’s victory over the Rangers. “We have struggled a little bit putting the puck in the net. Fransie got one last game and we got a couple more today. We have to build off that.”
Getting goals from Grabner, who scored his third and fourth goals of the season, addressed the Islanders other need as well; secondary scoring.
A majority of the Islanders points have been coming from the team’s top line. The Tavares line has accounted for 14 of the Islanders last 21 goals
Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano noted how important it was for his team to get the secondary scoring going.
“We have to get those guys going,” he said. “For us to have success, we’ve talked about it over the years with 91’s line, we have to get secondary scoring. Those are usually the teams that win hockey games, especially on the road when they get the matchups they want to get… That’s big for us and hopefully that will continue for us as well.