The Fourth Line’s Physical Forecheck Helped Spark Last Night’s Rally

Kevin Schultz

UNIONDALE, NY – The Islanders found themselves in a hole to start the second period last night against the Rangers, down 2-0 and thoroughly outplayed for much of the first frame. To change things up and get the game turned around, coach Jack Capuano changed up some lines and looked to and unlikely line, the fourth line of Colin McDonald, Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin, for some help. It was an unusual idea, but ultimately paid off when Casey Cizikas fed Colin McDonald for the team’s first goal of the game, only 29 seconds into the second period.

“We thought that we needed some energy and those guys played hard for us, they got us going,” Capuano said after practice on Friday. The coach was complimentary of his fourth line, giving them credit for a good forecheck and winning puck battles, which helped them to spend extra time in the offensive zone.

The goal started with Matt Martin pressuring, then hitting, Ranger defender Marc Staal who threw a long pass across the end boards behind the Ranger net. Cizikas intercepted that and fed McDonald cutting to the net, as all three forwards pressured their opponents deep in the offensive zone.

Reflecting on scoring the goal that helped turn things around — the first of three for the team in a 7 1/2 minute span — McDonald said it was good to contribute offensively.

“I know that’s not what they’re looking for from myself and that line,” he said Friday. “Looking back it was a pretty special night, I had my family there. It was really good to get off that losing streak and beat a team like New York… Hopefully, down the road we can look back at this game and say that was a game that kind of turned it around.”