Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
The New York Islanders won for the second time in three games on their current five-game homestand, taking a 3-2 decision from the Arizona Coyotes on Johnny Boychuk's first career shorthanded goal, a knuckle puck that eluded Coyotes starting goaltender Louis Domingue 4:24 into the third period.
With Nick Leddy already sidelined battling illness, Ryan Pulock got a chance to rejoin New York on an emergency call up basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After a so-so training camp, Pulock was sent back to the American Hockey League right before the start of the season, due to his waiver exempt status and the desire to take longer looks at Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, in addition to not potentially losing Alan Quine, who, unlike Pulock, would have to be exposed to be assigned. His start to the 2016-17 season did not go well.
After playing only 3:57, which included 1:02 on the team's first power play of the game, he looked like a different player. He skated with authority, did not show any tentativeness and took the body. Then he disappeared. Not magically disappeared, mind you. Not that he was unnoticeable on the ice. He was not on the ice, nor on the bench as the first period ended.
Pulock was back in the dressing room getting a lower body injury evaluated. When the word came from the Islanders PR staff just prior to the start of the second period that he would not return, there was only apprehension. Maybe he just tweaked something, you thought? Maybe it's no big deal. This morning, the Islanders announced Ryan would miss the next four to six weeks with the aforementioned injury. And, just like that, his NHL season is delayed yet again.
Averaging only 2.4 goals per game and playing with a power play that is non-existent at 7.1 percent through the first five games (2-3-0), New York could have used Pulock's big shot from the point with a man up. With Minnesota, Montreal and Pittsburgh next up on the schedule, things will not get any easier for a team still trying to find its offensive groove. And the power play, as we have seen before, can win or lose hockey games for you in an instant.
So, now we wait. We wait for Pulock to get healthy. And he waits. Waits for another opportunity to show he belongs in the National Hockey League for good.
Beyond The Box:
- New York did not announce Adam Pelech or Scott Mayfield as recalls today so the assumption is that Leddy could play tomorrow versus the Wild. Pelech is waiver exempt, Mayfield is not.
- Travis Hamonic led the Islanders in ice time at 25:42, as New York played the final 50 minutes with only five defenseman. He fell to minus-8 and has a 47.5 5v5 Corsi rating in the early going. Thomas Hickey did an outstanding job in 24:22. John Tavares led forwards at 20:20.
- In a sign chemistry could be building between the captain and new winger Andrew Ladd, their line, with Josh Bailey, combined for 20 shot attempts. Ladd led the way with 10 (four on goal, three blocked and three wide).
- New York is struggling mightily in the faceoff circle. Last night, they dropped 41 of 63 draws (65 percent) and currently rank 24th in the league at 46.8 percent.
- It's fair to say Beauvillier has earned more than a nine-game look. The 19-year-old has been impressive with 1-2-3 in 4 games, averaging 9:07 with a 5v5 corsi rating of 50 percent.
- Some have mentioned a possible "World Cup hangover" for Tavares. The numbers don't' support that argument, however. Taking out Sidney Crosby, who has not played yet this year, 12 Canadian forwards are 15-34-49 in 48 games, with nine averaging over a point per game. Only one is struggling worse than New York's talisman and that is Jonathan Toews in Chicago.