The Islanders are off to their best start since 2001-02 when they went 4-0-0 to start the year. Three games into the season and they successfully made it over their first big hurdle; beating the Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers. A rough forty minutes gave way to a strong twenty in the third to overcome being outplayed in the first two periods.
Below are some quick thoughts and notes from the Garden:
- Jaroslav Halak is earning his money early on. The Islander net minder made 40 saves for the Islander, with 32 of them coming in the first two periods. Halak kept the Islanders in the game when he needed to, which allowed the Islanders have the third period that they did. If not for several of Halak's saves -- especially on the power play and in the second period -- the Rangers easily could have been the team that ended the game with a 6-3 victory. Instead, Halak gave a strong performance, except for a soft goal in the first period, and led the Islanders to a win
- Johnny Boychuk continues to come up big for the Islanders. The defenseman scored the team's first goal in the opening period off his, now, signature slap shot from the point. The Islanders have been waiting quite some time for a defender who can quarterback the power play and has a scary shot to boot. Safe to say it seems they have their man.
- Power play did not get its usual bulk of the Islanders scoring -- something that Jack Capuano was happy about in the sense that five-on-five the Islanders played well and scored a majority of the points -- but they did contribute going 1-for-4 on the man advantage. The Power play has been a strong point for the Isles early in the year.
- The penalty kill did not allow a single for the first time this season. They went 3-for-3 a man down, in large part because of the play of Halak between the pipes. The PK was not great on Tuesday night, but it held it's own and got stronger as the game progressed. The Isles best kill came in the second period right after Tavares tied the game. They kept the Rangers from establishing any quality chances and, more importantly, kept the home team from regaining momentum.
- The first and second period efforts were not there last night. As I said earlier, the game easily could have been out of reach by the end of the first two periods. The Isles will need to play stronger out of the gate going forward.
- That third period is how the Isles should have played all game. The Islanders had everything going for them in the period. They played with high energy, forced the Rangers to make mistakes and got the bounces they need. The positive to take away from this is that this team found a way to win after a bad two periods, and that's what good teams do. Obviously not something you want to see every game, but it has to be comforting to know that they can pull it off when they need to.
- Kyle Okposo recorded his 100th career goal on Tuesday against the Rangers 48 seconds into the third period.
- Nick Leddy recorded his first goal as a New York Islander.
- Islanders are off to their best start since 2001-02, when they went 4-0-0 in their first four games.
- Brock Nelson, Johnny Boychuk, John Tavares, and Kyle Okposo have all recorded points in each of the first three games of the year.