Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Nick Leddy
was all smiles after the Islanders 5-1 victory
over the Arizona Coyotes. Surely part of it had to do with the team’s win, but there there was definitely a part of it that had to do with the seven-year contract extension he signed earlier in the day.
Leddy inked a deal worth $38.5 million, which was announced around noon on Tuesday. The 23-year-old wasn’t doing the shmoney dance in the locker room, nor did he shout “show me the money,” but he was happy to have his future secured.
“It’s nice to have it done,” he explained. “But the focus is still on the end goal, which is on the Stanley Cup.”
The former Blackhawk defenseman knows a thing or two about winning a Cup. He has already done so with the Blackhawks, and he has been a major piece of the Isles defensive core. Leddy, along with Johnny Boychuk, have brought stability to the backend that the Islanders haven’t had in a while.
Leddy tried to keep thoughts of a new contract out of his mind, but admitted it had crept in a few times during the season.
“You try not to think about it too much,” he said. You want focus on winning games and the rest will take care of itself.” To read more of this story, click here
Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome were together again on Tuesday and the Islanders immediately reaped the rewards.
After four consecutive scoreless periods, Jack Capuano mixed it up and it resulted in the Kid Line reuniting and scoring just 37 seconds into the second.
Brock Nelson carried the puck in and left it to Travis Hamonic, who darted down the near boards and sent a perfect centering pass to Anders Lee, who was all alone in front and deposited a back hand over Arizona goalie Mike Smith.
“You just go out and play your position,” said Nelson told reporters after the game. “We had a couple of those different lines that produced and that’s good to see.”
I think everyone has been waiting for this line to get back together, including Butchie, who was so happy it happened, he nearly shouted over Howie to exclaim, “The Kid Line is back!” Never change, Butch. Never change.
I really like this line together for the long haul. They have a natural chemistry that’s obvious, and their skill sets compliment each other well. Nelson and Lee can both crash the net and Strome can act as the playmaker. It just works for me. But by sticking with this set up, it also opens up the right wing spot on the top line for when Kyle Okposo returns. I like Bailey on the top line for his back checking ability and his defensive coverage, and him Okposo and Tavares worked very well together before Kyle went down. I think these combinations, with Frans Nielsen centering some combination of Grabner, Kulemin and Grabovski (when healthy) gives the Isles just the right mix.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Tuesday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes will be one Kael Mouillierat won’t soon forget.
The Islanders were ahead 3-1 midway through the third period when Colin McDonald fed Mouillierat in the slot. The rookie then proceeded to fire a shot past Mike Smith and into the net for his first National Hockey League goal. He also gave the Islanders the 4-1 lead.
“It’s obviously a pretty unbelievable feeling,” Mouillierat said about his first goal. “You play so long and especially at my age to get your first crack at the NHL. There’s times in the minors when you think it’s never going to happen and then when it does it’s pretty incredible. It’s obviously a great feeling.”
Mouillierat’s goal was one of four that the Islanders scored in the third period that helped lead them to a 5-1 victory over the struggling Coyotes. Matt Martin’s eight goal of the season 3:18 into the third period gave the Islanders a 2-1 advantage.
A Johnny Boychuk shot 57 seconds later beat Mike Smith and gave the Isles a two goal advantage. Mouillierat’s goal and Brock Nelson’s goal at 9:10 all but sealed the win.
“We just kept doing the right things, we kept doing the same things and eventually we got some opportunities,” Johnny Boychuk said about the explosive third period. “We capitalized on them. You have to work for everything and we worked tonight, and we got rewarded.”
The Islanders and Yotes had been tied through two periods. The Islanders scored in the second period. but Arizona answered back when Mark Arcobello beat Chad Johnson stick side to tie the game. Johnson finished the game with 27 saves and the Isles outshot the visitors 39-28.
Mouillierat will send the puck he scored his first NHL goal with back home to his parents, who just missed seeing their son score Tuesday night.
“My parents were actually out for the firset two games then they had to catch a flight home today,” Mouillierat explained. “So they missed tonight’s game. Came a game late, but I’ll send it back home.”
Recap: The Islanders scored four goals in the first 9:10 of the third period to end a two-game losing streak and win for the 40th time this season.
Need to Know: Matt Martin, Johnny Boychuk, Kael Mouillierat and Brock Nelson scored in a 5:52 span of the third period. Martin’s goal started the barrage at 3:18.
Mouillerat got his first NHL goal.
Islanders goalie Chad Johnson (27 saves) had his third strong start in a row to improve to 8-7-1 and lower his goals-against average to 2.73.
Anders Lee scored the game’s first goal 37 seconds into the second period. Arizona tied it with 4:07 left in the period, when a John Tavares turnover led to an Arizona 3-on-2 and a goal by Mark Arcobello.
Tavares, who assisted Boychuck’s goal, has three goals and four assists in seven career games against the Coyotes. Tavares has at least one point in 41 games this season — second in the league behind the Flyers’ Jakub Voracek (42).
The Islanders league-worst penalty-killing unit killed off four Arizona penalties after allowing two Vancouver power-play goals Sunday. Arizona has the league’s fifth-best power play, but has scored just twice in the last 23 chances.
Arizona lost its seventh in a row for the first time since 1994, when the team was based in Winnipeg.
Links: Box Score
What’s Next: The Islanders host Calgary Friday at 7 p.m. and end the game five-game home stand against Calgary Saturday at 5 p.m.
The Islanders will look to get back into the win column tonight when they host the Arizona Coyotes at 7 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum. MSG will carry the game on television, while WRHU 88.7 FM and LI News Radio 103.9 FM will have the radio broadcast.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
After dropping a tough game to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, the Islanders will try to right the ship tonight against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Islanders (39-20-2) did not play a bad game on Sunday and Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said that he was happy with the effort. Capuano said he would even take another performance like the one the Isles had on Sunday.
“We dominated the game,” he explained. We played extremely well. We just had a couple power play goals that had eyes… Overall we just have to maintain in how we do things.”
Arizona (20-33-7) enters tonight’s game on a six-game losing streak, which includes losses to the New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lighting and New York Rangers. The shutout loss in New Jersey is the most recent one, occurring last night at Prudential Center.
The Coyotes fell to the Islanders earlier in the season. On November 8, the Islanders defeated the Yotes 1-0 off a third period goal by Frans Nielsen. The Isles are 2-2-1 in their last five games against Arizona dating back to the 2010-11 season.
The visitors from Arizona sit second to last in both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. However, the Coyotes boast the fifth best power play (21.6 %) in the National Hockey League.
Special teams has been a struggle for the Isles this season — they went 0-for-4 and allowed two power play goals against in their previous game.
The Islanders utilized Monday for off-ice meetings and to allow the players to recuperate after a tough five games in seven days stretch.
“We had a nice day off yesterday,” Matt Martin said. “It’s good to get some rest and hopefully capitalize on a team that played last night.”
Mike Smith will start in net for Arizona, while Chad Johnson will get the nod for the Islanders.
The Islanders announced earlier in the day that they had re-signed defenseman Nick Leddy to a seven-year deal.
Nick Leddy has signed a seven-year contract extension with the Islanders, the team announced.
The contract is worth $38.5 million, for an AAV of $5.5 million. The deal will keep Leddy in orange-and-blue through the 2021-22 season (Islanders, Feb. 24).
“Nick has proven to be an elite defenseman in this league at a young age,” GM Garth Snow said in a statement released by the team. “He’s the type of player on the ice, in the locker room and in the community that we’re thrilled to add as a cornerstone of our defensive core.”
“We have something special in this locker room and I’m excited to be a part of it for seven more years,” Leddy said in the team’s official release. “From the start of my time here, the Islanders have been a first-class organization. I’m honored by their commitment to me and look forward to challenging for the Stanley Cup for years to come.”
Wow! Garth strikes again with another stealth deal. Just a few days after I asked him to show Nick the money
, Garth did. No, guys. I can’t call your bosses and negotiate a raise for you.
All kidding aside, obviously this has been in the words for a while, and for good reason. Leddy has been one of the best defenseman in the league this season and he’s just 23. He has his prime in front of him, and now he’ll be navigating New York’s blue line for years to come. I think a $5.5 million AAV is very fair value, and it gives the Islanders plenty of room to explore retaining Johnny Boychuk, while allowing for the eventual raises that will come the younger players’ way soon enough (not to mention a new deal for JT eventually). It’s a happy day on Long Island.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
The Islanders have shown they haven’t been afraid to lock up key pieces and they did so on Tuesday. It’s no secret that Leddy has been a huge boost to the Isles blue line. His arrival — along with Johnny Boychuk — shored up the team’s defense and made them the force they are now. In addition to being a top pairing defenseman, Leddy has also been helpful to the Isles’ struggling power play.
With Leddy signed, the focus now for Garth Snow should be to lock up Boychuk long term as well. Today’s news is a good sign for Islanders fans.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
The Islanders caught a break and will have Frans Nielsen in the lineup tonight when they host the Arizona Coyotes.
Nielsen hurt his leg during Sunday’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks after falling awkwardly, but did return to finish the game. Nielsen skated with the rest of his teammates during the Islanders’ morning skate at Nassau Coliseum and was the first player off the ice.
Matt Martin seemed less than surprised that his teammates was ready to go for Tuesday’s contest.
“I don’t think there was any doubt from anyone also that he was going to play the game,” Martin said. “We have a lot of tough guys in here that want to be in the lineup and want to contribute. He’s a big part of our team and I’m happy to see him in the lineup.”
Nielsen has 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) for the Islanders this season in 61 games.
Chad Johnson will get the start in net for New York. This will be his third start in net in the last week and a half.
Johnson has found a lot more consistency and confidence in his game as of late and has earned the team a point in each of his two starts last week. Playing more consistently is something that Johnson has said on several occasions is one of the reasons why his game has gotten better.
He reiterated that this morning when he met with reporters.
“The more you play, the more comfortable you’re going to feel,” Johnson said. The more confident you’re going to feel and it goes hand and hand. Definitely playing starts closer together helps me out to feel more into the games. Obviously there are no excuses. I have to be ready, thats my position to be sharp regardless, but it does help playing closer together.”
The rest of the Islanders lineup will remain the same.