Tag:

Mathew Barzal

Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

After winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, 21-year-old Islanders forward Mathew Barzal can be the new face of the franchise with John Tavares out of the picture.

"He's a driven, driven guy to be the best player he can be," Russ Farwell, the VP of hockey operation for Barzal's junior hockey team, the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "He's totally focused on his game. He's a very confident guy, too. He was a really highly touted minor player, so being the show or being the guy wasn't foreign to him. His whole life, everybody has pointed to him."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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Anders Lee (27) Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Anders Lee (27) Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Isles Country was devastated to see John Tavares decide to take his talents home and play for the Toronto Maple Leafs next season. And though fans may see only darkness ahead for the Islanders, NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire believes there to be light at the end of the tunnel. 

After analyzing the process Tavares took during his interview period that led up to his ultimate decision, McGuire understood why Tavares decided to fulfill his "childhood dream" to play for the Leafs instead of the organization that drafted him first overall back in 2009. 

"I'm not surprised," McGuire told SNY. "When you grow up in a Canadian city and you grew up dreaming about playing for that team whether it'd be Montreal or Vancouver or Toronto, that's a hard thing to not want to foresee or go through. So I understood that part of it after the fact."

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Scott Thompson
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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) controls the puck during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) controls the puck during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

It may have been anticipated, but Islanders C Mathew Barzal was announced the 2018 Calder Trophy winner as the NHL's top rookie last season. 

Barzal blew out the competition for the award, which was announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas Wednesday night. He received 160 first-place votes with the Canucks' Brock Boeser the closest in that category with two votes. 

The reason Barzal was the favorite for the Calder Trophy was due to his production in his rookie season. He totaled 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) over a full 82-game season. 

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Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

Islanders electric rookie C Mathew Barzal has been the favorite to win the Calder Trophy, and it may finally become a reality on Wednesday night at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

The 21-year-old is among three finalsts for the award that includes Canucks RW Brock Boeser and Coyotes C Clayton Keller. Barzal, though, blew away both candidates in scoring this season with 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) over a full 82-game season. 

If Barzal wins the award, he will be the fifth Islander to do so. Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, and Bryan Berard held the Calder Trophy at the end of their rookie seasons. 

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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Rookie year is in the books for Islanders C Mathew Barzal, and it was certainly a success. Barzal led all rookies in points (85) last season, making him the frontrunner for the Calder Trophy. 

Unfortunately, though, the Islanders didn't make the playoffs, which means Barzal shipped back to his home of Coquitlam, British Columbia to get his offseason training regimen under way. HIs training, at first, is more of a recovery as he and Sportcore Performance owner Rob Williams focus on making sure every little muscle is in tact before starting the real workouts. 

"Nothing too heavy, a lot of core work," Barzal told New York Hockey Journal's Leo Scaglione Jr. "I'm making sure everything is moving right and working well. Your groins and little muscles take a beating all year, so I strengthen my legs again and get them back to feeling good and strong."

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New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders forward Mathew Barzal is among three finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy that honors the NHL's top rookie.

The 20-year-old Barzal is considered the favorite for the award after scoring 22 goals, 63 assists and 85 points in 82 games for New York this season.

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

It was a shocker to say the least when the final score at Barclays Center read 4-1 in favor of the Islanders over the defending Stanley Cup-champion Penguins on Tuesday night. And Isles fans can thank Mathew Barzal for the offensive production.

The dynamic rookie continued his Calder Trophy-worthy season with his 20th goal and an assist for two more points, marking 75 on the season. That total is third most in Islanders rookie history.

Barzal said his confidence this season has been the same since the beginning up until now, and head coach Doug Weight loves hearing that from his budding star. 

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Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders' 2017-18 season is speeding down an icy highway in a blizzard with no brakes, as a 15-24-8 record since Dec. 1 has all but assured another season out of the playoffs, sitting home watching other, better teams contend for the Stanley Cup.

  • Surely, big decisions are looming on the horizon for a franchise that can never seem to sustain any sort of consistency or dependability. After beating Florida in the 2016 playoffs, its first series win in two decades, and coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons, this season can only be classified as a severe regression.

  •  
Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Andy Graziano
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 (Evan Habeeb)
(Evan Habeeb)

With 11 games left, the Islanders know they're season won't see a playoff berth despite not being mathematically out of the race. In turn, head coach Doug Weight is doing a little experiment with his star players. 

Weight wants to see what John Tavares and Mathew Barzal can do on the same line, which is why he is moving Tavares to left wing ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Hurricanes at Barclays Center. However, he warned not to take the move to heart being that Tavares has played center all these years. 

"It doesn't mean he's going to play wing and it doesn't mean he's not a centerman," Weight told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "It's an experiment. Moving forward, it gives them some experience together. I'm excited to see it."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)

With the Islanders now all but out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference following their recent losing streak, we at Islanders Point Blank thought it would be pertinent to take a look forward at some of what could become of this team in the near future. New York certainly has a lot of issues and decisions to make over the next few months prior to the 2018 NHL Draft.

While we have discussed the coaching and front office ad nauseam (and might be in the future anyway), it would be best suited if some other aspects were analyzed.

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Calvin De Haan, Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey
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Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Mathew Barzal has taken Isles Country, and the entire NHL by storm this season. The 20-year-old is the expected Calder Trophy winner, and he has superstar written all over him. 

But that doesn't mean Barzal's rookie season hasn't come with any tribulation. 

Head coach Doug Weight has made it public that he needs to rein in Barzal at times, as he has the tendency to get fancy at times. He tries to get too creative, which in turn, has created turnovers just like the one against the Oilers Thursday where Connor McDavid stole the puck away, and Barzal had to bring him down on a breakaway for a penalty...

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Dec 16, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 16, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

When the Islanders acquired Jordan Eberle from the Oilers in June, it was expected that he'd play alongside former World Juniors and World Championship teammate John Tavares. 

Instead, Eberle has linked up with rookie Mathew Barzal on the second line and the results have been better than the team could have expected. 

"They've been tremendous this season, you can see their chemistry and their ability to feed off one another," Tavares said...

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

After another loss in a winnable game against the Canucks earlier in the week, the Islanders' dismal second half of the season continued to slide in the wrong direction.

What plan this team has for the future is beyond me at this point. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and knowing how this franchise has been run for the better part of two-and-half decades, fans won't like how things continue to go in the near future. There are plenty of negatives that you can harp on this team, whether it's the front office, bad defense or the lingering John Tavares situation. Take your pick, and you can discuss it at length for as long as you desire.

But let's take a moment to appreciate something positive in what is becoming a lost season. Mathew Barzal is almost a sure-fire bet to win this year's Calder Trophy for the league's rookie of the year. Especially with the recent injuries to Charlie McAvoy and Brock Boeser, you can pretty much take it to the bank that Barzal will be the first Islander to take home the award since Bryan Berard did so in 1996-97...

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New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. (Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. (Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

Matthew Barzal will play for the New York Islanders instead of Vancouver Canucks on Monday night, but plenty of fans will still be rooting for him.

Barzal estimates that 100 supporters, including family, friends, and former coaches and teammates will be at Rogers Arena to watch his first NHL game in his hometown against the Canucks (24-32-9).

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Vancouver Canucks
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Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 3, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) shoots against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

With the Islanders traveling north of the border to face the Canucks Monday, a highly-anticipated matchup between the two top rookies in the league -- Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser -- will unfold.

Many believe the Calder Trophy -- the NHL's equivalent to Rookie of the Year -- is strictly between these two, who have had incredible seasons thus far. At practice Sunday, both players noted how they try to keep their mind off the race for the trophy. However, it is hard when everyone else brings it up constantly. 

"It's pretty hard to not see any of that stuff," Barzal told Newsday's Neil Best. "He's had a great season and pushed me, seeing how much success he was having. He's awesome...Obviously, he's got one of the best shots in the league."

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

John Tavares is having trouble doing something he usually does with ease: scoring. 

In the past seven games, the Isles' captain has been scoreless in 5-on-5 play, and it is starting to get to him. The franchise player needs to score, and he understands that. 

"We know we can be a lot more consistent, starting with myself," he told Newsday's Mark Hermann. "All of it starts with me setting an example for the group. So, I've just got to go out there and be really reliable all over the ice. Five on five we'd like to be a lot more productive."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

The biggest drama surrounding the Islanders' visit to Toronto on Thursday may not be the game itself, but those five minutes when John Tavares faces another round of interrogation from the largest and peskiest press corps in the NHL.

Tavares will handle the Toronto media like the gentleman he was raised to be, but there will be plenty left unsaid. For example...

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With three big games in the next five days, the Islanders are gearing up for a "do-or-die" week. 

The first of the three will be the Blue Jackets coming to Brooklyn on Tuesday, and Casey Cizikas speaks for the whole team when he says this game is the start to either good tidings or bad fortunes for the Islanders, who have been up and down all season long. 

"I think this week is do-or-die for us," Cizikas told Newsday's Brian Heyman at practice Monday. "We'd either be in a really good position or we can be in a tough position where we're kind of looking from the other side in. We want to make sure that we're putting pressure on other teams to keep up with us and we're not chasing them. So this week is massive."

Tags: Casey Cizikas, Mathew Barzal
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GEICO SportsNite: Islanders 00:01:00
Islanders head coach Doug Weight discusses the decision to bench Mathew Barzal late in the team's loss to Calgary on Sunday.

Islanders rookie forward Mathew Barzal said he his holding himself accountable after head coach Doug Weight benched him for the final seven minutes of Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.

"I'll own up to it," Barzal told Newsday's Brian Heyman after Monday's practice. "I didn't have a great game. I didn't deserve to be out there late in the game. He made a good coaching move. I've got to hold myself accountable. I'm not going to sit here and pout and be upset that I wasn't out there. I know I've got to play better."

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Feb 9, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with center Mathew Barzal (13) after Nelson scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 9, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with center Mathew Barzal (13) after Nelson scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The box score for the Islanders win over the Red Wings looked more like a low scoring football game than a hockey game. Isles head coach Doug Weight and his players hope the enthralling 7-6 victory will mean more than just two points and will act as a springboard for the rest of the season.

After going behind 3-0 in the first period and hearing boos from their home crowd at the Barclay's Center, the team rallied back. The Red Wings seemed to quell the first comeback attempt, extending their lead to 5-2, but four straight third-period powerplay goals pushed the Islanders into the lead. They'd eventually need overtime to seal the win, but a galvanizing win it was...

Tags: Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Brock Nelson capped off his hat trick -- and the Isles' big comeback -- with an overtime goal to defeat the Red Wings, 7-6, at Barclays Center. << Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal handles the puck against Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the first period at Gila River Arena. (Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal handles the puck against Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the first period at Gila River Arena. (Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY Sports)

Jaroslav Halak allowed a game-winning goal to Arizona's Nick Cousins in overtime as the Islanders lost to the Coyotes 3-2 on Monday at Gila River Arena. >> Box score


First period:

  • 12:20 AZ Nick Cousins; Assist: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Second period:

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Arizona Coyotes, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Hickey
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New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal handles the puck against Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the first period at Gila River Arena. (Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal handles the puck against Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the first period at Gila River Arena. (Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY Sports)

Jaroslav Halak allowed a game-winning goal to Arizona's Nick Cousins in overtime as the Islanders lost to the Coyotes 3-2 on Monday at Gila River Arena. >> Box score


First period:

  • 12:20 AZ Nick Cousins; Assist: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Second period:

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Arizona Coyotes, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Hickey
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A year ago, Garth Snow used the one chip he had - the dismissal of too-longtime head coach Jack Capuano - to save his own job and buy at least another season for himself under the Islanders' new ownership. Today the question is, what will Snow do to save his team's season?

Because this is a season worth saving. Because this is a team with a richly-talented core that deserves to be put in the best position to grab a playoff spot.

John Tavares, possibly in his final months as an Islander, has entered the prime of his career playing the best hockey of his life.

Tags: John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Italian Stallion….always the under-sized underdog. Always fighting, scratching, and crawling for whatever scraps he could muster. In the ring, all about offense. If Compubox had been around in those times, it might have broken by the sheer volume of punches he threw.

Yet, there was no defense to be found. Took a beating, ended up battered, bruised and bloody, but always got up. Does the story end the same way for the Islanders, however? That part of the script is still being written.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)
Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter: The injury-ravaged Islanders have won two and lost two coming out of their league-mandated bye week, but let's be honest with each other here. They only played one solid game -- a 7-2 victory at Madison Square Garden over the Rangers.

They're going to need to be much better than a .500 hockey team if they're to crawl out of an 8-13-2 funk that has them at 53 percent of possible points -- slightly ahead of the 2013-14 team that finished 34-37-11 and out of the playoffs. As a reference point, last year's team that finished shy of the postseason by one point finished at 57 percent of possible points.

So, while the team licks its wounds, whether it be Johnny Boychuk, Casey Cizikas, Calvin de Haan, Nikolay Kulemin, Andrew Ladd, or Shane Prince, they need to figure out, once and for all, what they are doing, or attempting to do, in the defensive zone to even realistically start thinking about having a shot at Lord Stanley in April...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin Pryor, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre. (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre. (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports)

John Tavares scored two goals, including the game-winner 1:51 into overtime after New York blew a 4-2 lead, as the Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on Monday at Bell Centre. >> Box score

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Montreal Canadiens, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey
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Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers stick checks New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal in the first period action at Bell MTS Place. (James Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports)
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers stick checks New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal in the first period action at Bell MTS Place. (James Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports)

The battered New York Islanders will need rookie Mathew Barzal to stay hot as they try for three wins in a row when they play the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night at Bell Centre.

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Montreal Canadiens
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Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The Islanders resumed their 2017-18 season with a bang, beating the Rangers 7-2. Mathew Barzal enjoyed a five point afternoon, with two goals and three assists and Anthony Beauvillier scored twice and added an assist. 

First period

  • 6:06 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle
  • 14:25 NYR Kevin Hayes (PPG); Assist: Rick Nash
  • 16:25 NYI Shane Prince; Assist: Scott Mayfield

Second period

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal
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Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The first five games of the 2017-18 season were a struggle for Mathew Barzal. Adapting to life in the National Hockey League is never easy for a rookie and after only playing two games last season, including the infamous outing where he touched the puck from the penalty box, doubts could have crept into the 20-year old's head.

But lest we forget we're talking about a player whose draft stock fell in part due to what some team executives felt was a 'cocky attitude' and an abundance of self-confidence. Well placed stories tell the tale of Barzal responding to why a team should select him with 'don't and see how that works out for you'. General manager Garth Snow jumped at the chance to select the young, dynamic forward with the 16th pick of the 2015 entry draft after the Boston Bruins passed not once, not twice but three times...

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Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Josh Bailey tied the game in the final two minutes and Mathew Barzal scored 1:08 into overtime as the Islanders rallied past the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. >> Box score

Tags: Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal
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Dec 16, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) controls the puck against Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) during second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 16, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) controls the puck against Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) during second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Islanders C Mathew Barzal was named the number two star of the week in the NHL after playing key roles in the team's last three games.

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Islanders C Mathew Barzal notched his first career multi-goal game Saturday night against the Jets, but he didn't just stop at two. 

Barzal recorded his first career hat trick in the Islanders' 5-2 win at Barclays Center, and the 20-year-old admitted it was a cool experience. 

"It's pretty cool," Barzal told The Post's Greg Joyce. "It was still a pretty tight game so I wasn't going to cheat for any offense. I just wanted to play hard. That's kind of how it works sometimes, you start cheating a bit and thinking about [a hat trick] and then it doesn't really come. If you just stick to the game plan, the puck kind of bounces your way."

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New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey and goalie Jaroslav Halak defend against Anaheim Ducks left wing Kevin Roy during first period at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey and goalie Jaroslav Halak defend against Anaheim Ducks left wing Kevin Roy during first period at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders rank second in the NHL in goals (123), trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have two of the top five point-getters in the league in John Tavares (21-24-45) and Josh Bailey (10-35-45). Tavares and Anders Lee's 21 goals are two off the league lead (Nikita Kucherov, Alex Ovechkin). Dynamic rookie Mathew Barzal is second in rookie scoring behind Vancouver's Brock Boeser (9-23-32). Jordan Eberle has been a terrific addition with 13 goals in 35 games.

The gaudy offensive numbers that propelled the Islanders to a 16-8-2 start as of Dec. 4 are all nice to look at. That brand of play indicates a team high on confidence in its goaltending, assuming the big save will come when it's needed most to ocmpensate for all their pressing in the offensive zone.

Problem is, New York's goaltenders have not held up their end of the bargain, which threatens to derail a season that has seen the team begin its ascent, from emerging stars in Barzal and Eberle to getting approval on securing a new home in Belmont, all while waiting for a contract extension with the franchise cornerstone Tavares.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)
New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

What we're seeing lately with regard to the New York Islanders is not unprecedented. The team is suffering from what I warned of, in print and on the Secondary Assist podcast: A regression. All teams go through it. The larger question is, how soon until they get out of it?

The answer to that will ultimately decide their 2017-18 fate, not the sole fact that they suffered one...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)
Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)

Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson scored goals in the third period help the Islanders tie the game, but Pittsburgh's Matt Hunwick scored the game-winner in overtime to lead the Penguins to a 4-3. win >> Box score

Tags: Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

Despite the Islanders making a comeback, lack of penalty kills forced their hand in the loss to the Lightning, 6-2, on Tuesday night. 

It was a slow first period with the Isles only taking three shots on net. However, the second saw a different team that would muster two goals to tie the game up. Momentum looked to be on the side of the road team, but two penalties would change all of that as the Lightning capitalized on both power-play chances at the end of the second to take a controlling 4-2 lead that they wouldn't surrender the rest of the way. 

After awful penalty kills of late, head coach Doug Weight is confused as to what happened to his unit. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Russ Farwell, the longtime general manager of the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds, knows how difficult it is to select the best teenage hockey players in the NHL Draft. As a former GM of the Flyers in the early '90s, like his colleagues he had his share of hits and misses.

But even Farwell was surprised to see the uniquely gifted Mathew Barzal, one of the best players in Seattle history, go unselected for 15 picks - including selections 13, 14 and 15 by the Boston Bruins - before Garth Snow and the Islanders snapped him up in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"We were aware of teams across the NHL that had Mathew as high as fourth or fifth overall in their rankings," Farwell said in a phone conversation from Seattle. "I know Carolina liked him a lot, but decided to go with a good defenseman [Noah Hanfin, fifth overall]. And sure, I was bit surprised he went by those picks Boston had."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

It was a crazy game down in Orlando, but the Islanders managed to squeak out two points on the road thanks to Mathew Barzal

This game saw everything from a star goalie in Roberto Luongo carried off the ice with an injury to Cal Clutterbuck needing to be held back from an official. The cherry on top was the 4-4 tie that couldn't be settled in overtime, and needed a shootout to determine a winner. Luckily for the Isles, Jaroslav Halak was a brick wall and Barzal was the only player to find the back of the net. 

It was wild, but the Islanders will be happy leaving Florida with two points...

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers in a shootout after scoring four goals apiece in regulation on Monday at BB&T Center. >> Read more


First period:

  • 10:25 FLA Keith Yandle
  • 13:15 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech

Second period:

  • 5:35 NYI Thomas Hickey; Assist: Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 8:45 FLA Aaron Ekblad (power play); Assists: Yandle, Vincent Trocheck
  • 10:34 FLA Aleksander Barkov (power play); Assists: Yandle, Trocheck
  • 16:19 NYI Brock Nelson; Assists: Ho-Sang, Jason Chimera
  • 18:21 NYI John Tavares; Assists: Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy

Third period:

  • 5:06 FLA Denis Malgin; Assists: Trocheck, Jamie McGinn
Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Florida Panthers, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey
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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders lost their first game in regulation at Barclays Center this season Friday night to the Ottawa Senators, a wild 6-5 affair, and the reaction on social media from some was….well, sadly, expected.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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 (Marc DesRosiers)
(Marc DesRosiers)

Another strong effort, another win at the beloved Barc…fun, right?

Garth Snow and Doug Weight's club has been a blast the first 24 games of the season. To the people who cover the league closely but the Islanders not closely enough, they are one of the surprise early hits of the season.

Like a lot of things when it comes to the Islanders, and this has almost always been the case throughout their history, it's like no one saw this coming.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Chris Botta
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

23 games in and it's clear to see these are not your 2016-17 New York Islanders, who stumbled out of the gate, leading to a one-point deficit in their chase to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) celebrate his first period goal with defensemen Johnny Boychuk (55) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) celebrate his first period goal with defensemen Johnny Boychuk (55) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

It's been a complete 180 for the New York Islanders since the 2016-17 season under the early season leadership of Jack Capuano, as the team is 12-7-2 for 26 points -- an eight point improvement -- and the start that the coaching staff and players said they were searching for in training camp. 

How they have done it has been unconventional, however, in the current times of the National Hockey League, and its strict adherence to defensive structure and keeping the puck out of your own net. It brings some of us older folk back to a time of the run-and-gun NHL when teams seemingly averaged four goals each per night, and a 3.00 goals against average was considered good.

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Josh Bailey's goal 32 seconds into overtime helped the Islanders edge the Flyers, 4-3, at Barclays Center on Wednesday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 6:02 PHI Taylor Leier; Assists: Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny
  • 18:53 NYI Mathew Barzal (PPG); Assists: Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy

Second period:

Tags: Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal
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Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (66) right wing Josh Bailey (12) and left wing Jason Chimera (25) react after scoring against Buffalo Sabres in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (66) right wing Josh Bailey (12) and left wing Jason Chimera (25) react after scoring against Buffalo Sabres in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

One of the laziest and corniest things you can do during Thanksgiving week is write a piece on everything you're thankful for. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Please indulge me, Islanders Country. Fact is, after all these years in this business on one side or the other, I've never taken the opportunity to say thank you. Perhaps I've become a bit sentimental.

Or maybe I'm feeling especially grateful. So here goes. If you give me this one, I'll do my best to write at least one Grinchy rant before the New Year.

Tags: John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders defensemen Adam Pelech chases the puck against Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner during he first period at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defensemen Adam Pelech chases the puck against Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner during he first period at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

Jaroslav Halak surrendered three goals in the first period as the New York Islanders lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Sunday at PNC Arena. >> Read more


First period:

  • 1:50 CAR Sebastian Aho (power play); Assists: Teuvo Teravainen, Justin Faulk
  • 3:40 CAR Teravainen; Assists: Aho, Noah Hanifin
  • 10:44 NYI Nick Leddy
  • 17:13 CAR Elias Lindholm; Assists: Phillip Di Giuseppe, Jeff Skinner

Second period:

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss
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 (Billy Hurst)
(Billy Hurst)

The Islanders' victory in St. Louis on Saturday night showed why Doug Weight is the right coach for this team, and why his club will qualify for this season's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The win was the second time in the last few weeks that the Islanders rebounded well from flat performances. The first was on Oct. 28, when Weight's team blew out the Cup-finalist Predators in Nashville after a bad game in Minnesota two nights earlier. Beating the Blues the night after the Islanders stunk in Dallas showed something. As lost as they looked against the Stars, they found their game at the start in St. Louis.

That's not easy to do.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhen GM Garth Snow decided to call his 'go-to' in Peter Chiarelli back in June, it was to finalize a lopsided trade that would send Ryan Strome to Edmonton for what was deemed to be an Oilers salary dump in Jordan Eberle.

The 27-year-old forward from Regina had been on the Islanders radar for quite some time and Snow pounced at the opportunity to land the scoring winger who had averaged 27 goals and 62 points in seven previous seasons playing in Alberta while carrying a cap hit of $6 million over the next two seasons.

Eberle then proceeded to marry long-time girlfriend Lauren Rodych before coming to Brooklyn in a ceremony that featured one last hurrah with former and current members of the organization he called home since he was 20-years old...

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Andy Graziano
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