|Donovan's 1st NHL goal. Congrats!|
On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders defeated the Phoenix Coyotes by the score of 6-1 in, what turned out to be, a night of firsts.
Peter Regin set the tone with the game's first goal - his first as a member of the Islanders - less than two minutes into the game. Brock Nelson assisted on Regin's opening strike - his first NHL assist and first NHL point. Matt Donovan scored his first NHL goal - a power play tally that trickled through the legs of Mike Smith - to give the Islanders a 3-0 lead. John Tavares, Colin McDonald and Josh Bailey also scored their first goals of the season, with Tavares potting two by game's end.
Yes, it was all Islanders, and while the game wasn't perfectly played by either team, the final score definitely reflects how smoothly Long Island's hockey team sailed along through sixty minutes.
Short recap, our three Isles stars of the night and plus/minus after the jump.
Before the announcement of Donovan's first goal was announced, the Coyotes responded with their first goal of the night. You could hear a sigh throughout the Coliseum - a familiar sound of panic and anxiety that often comes along with the forthcoming blown lead. Not under Captain Tavares' watch.
Only 2:19 after a collective feeling of despair came across the same Islanders fans who witnessed their team blow a two-goal third period lead against Columbus, the Islanders new captain scored his second of the game, and fourth point in two games, to tilt the game back in the team's favor. A beautiful pass from Bailey, who had three points on the night, set Tavares up for said goal, an attempted pass off of David Schlemko's stick and in.
That would be it for Mike Smith during a night where nothing seemed to go wrong for the Islanders They buried their chances when the opportunities presented themselves, and prevented Phoenix from putting together much of anything offensively. For a 33-save effort, Evgeni Nabokov had a relatively quiet night in goal - an adequate reflection on the Islanders defense's ability to limit Phoenix's quality chances at the Nassau Coliseum.
Not a bad night for Long Island hockey fans, and not a bad night for the team either, as the Islanders earned their fourth and fifth points of a possible six to start the season.
Op-Timism's Three Stars of the Game
3) Matt Donovan - Donovan recorded his first NHL goal, and almost added an assist on a beautiful slap-pass to Michael Grabner, which was deflected just wide of Smith. Most importantly, Donovan showed a physical edge that he shied away from during the team's opening weekend, getting involved in a couple of scrums - one that included him putting Rob Klinkhammer on his butt.
2) Josh Bailey - One goal and two assists for Bailey, who made the most out of his 14:04 of ice time tonight. Bailey's assist on Tavares' second goal was highlight-worthy, as was his goal.
1) John Tavares - He was all over the ice tonight. Tavares scored his first two goals of the season, but also led the team by example. It was fun to watch No. 91 throw the body in the offensive zone. Very good night for the captain.
-Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey each with three points tonight.
-Grabner's actually tied for the NHL lead in points (6) through three games.
-Grabner has 4 assists through three games this season. He had 5 assists in 2013.
-Nabokov made the saves he had to make, but also found some help from the post.
-Casey Cizikas with 5 hits in tonight's game.
-The penalty-kill went 3/3.
-Really liked Regin's game tonight, and not just because he scored a goal and an assist. Regin was all around the net, and won 69% of his face-offs.
-That sixth-goal was a nasty one. The fact that the line of Bailey-Nielsen-Grabner can pull that off highlights the offensive-depth of this team.
-The Isles are sticking up for each other on the ice.
-Thomas Hickey and Lubomir Visnovsky earning another quiet +2 each.
-Nobody picked up Martin Hanzal on that PHX goal?
-Nabby was also very far into the net on that one.
-Is it just me, or has Matt Martin been very silent? One hit tonight.
-Pierre-Marc Bouchard missing a great pass from Tavares in front of the net. Chemistry lacking - PMB wasn't expecting it.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!