Nikolay Kulemin is apparently a big fan of Martin Luther King day games.
The veteran winger notched a two-goal game in Boston on Monday afternoon. It was the second two-goal game of Kulemin's Islanders career. The other came on MLK Day in 2015.
Kulemin also shined in the possession game, with a team-high Individual 5-on-5 Corsi Percentage of 69 percent, and a +6 Corsi rating. (h/t on these tidbits to Eric Hornick).
Kulemin, 30, has seven goals and six assists in 40 games this season.
Kulemin was flying on the ice on Monday. In fact, he has had plenty of scoring chances of late, but just hasn't cashed any of them in. He showed great patience on his first goal -- a result of some solid forechecking by Jason Chimera and a great centering pass by Casey Cizikas, to beat Tuuka Rask. But I loved his second goal even more.
Kulemin sent a long, break-out pass to Cizikas to send Zeeker in alone on a breakway. Casey came up empty, but when he was able to maintain possession, he spun and found Kulemin following the play, who was wide open and beat Rask again.
It's easy to overlook in this disappointing season, but Kulemin has actually been one of the Islanders' best forwards. His 48.8 Corsi For at even strength is fourth-best among the forwards (yes, on this team, a high 40s Corsi counts as good), and his ability to kill penalties and do so alongside an inexperienced PKer in John Tavares, has helped the Islanders' up-and-down special teams.
I know he gets paid a ton of money, and some fans are counting down the days until Kulemin's salary comes off the ledger, but he does a lot of the little things teams can really benefit from. He's certainly not the worst guy to have around.