Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — It was a fitting performance for Matt Moulson in his first trip back to Long Island since being traded by the Islanders in October.
Moulson scored two goals in the Minnesota Wild’s 6-0 victory over the Islanders on Tuesday night. Five different Wild players scored, with Moulson scoring the game’s first as well as final goal. Former Islander Nino Niederreiter also got his name on the score sheet with an assist on Jared Spurgeon’s goal.
“I was pretty nervous before the game,” Moulson told reporters from his stall in the visiting locker room at Nassau Coliseum. A place that has been alien to him up until now. “I don’t think I slept a minute during pre-game nap today. It was an emotional one coming back here obviously. It was tough at the start for me to really get my mind into it, but getting that first goal kind of calmed me down.”
That first goal came at 12:23 of the opening period. Moulson was able to sneak a shot by Anders Nilsson from in front of the net to put the Wild up 1-0, and then flashed an all too familiar celebration.
Spurgeon scored nearly four minutes later to give the Wild a 2-0 lead over the Isles. Mikael Grunlund made it 3-0 late in the second period and Clayton Stoner pushed the Minnesota lead to four after scoring on a breakaway 4:56 into the third. Justine Fontaine scored moments later and Moulson scored his second of the night on the power play at 16:34.
The loss was the fourth time the Islanders have been shutout this season by an opponent.
“I thought we played a good first period,” Islander coach Jack Capuano said. “We were physical. We were doing some things the way we want to play. We played a north-south game and then after that we started playing as individuals. We didn’t manage the puck very well.”
Despite outshooting the Wild 36-22 through three periods, which included a 16-6 shot advantage in the first, the Islanders could not find a way to score. The Islanders had some scoring chances, but failed to really pressure Minnesota for most of the game.
However, most of the night was focused on Moulson and how he would handle his first game against his former team. It’s safe to say it was a successful return for the three-time 30 goal scorer.
And the Coliseum faithful welcomed him back with cheers during introductions, after each time he scored and with a “We Want Moulson” chant near the end of the game.
“Coming back you don’t know what the receptions is going to be like, but nothing but good things from my time here with the fans and the people. It’s a great feeling when something like that happens and I appreciate [Islander fans] just as much as they were showing out there. I have a big place in my heart for this place,” said Moulson.