If there was one word to describe yesterdays New York Islanders 6-3 victory over the San José Sharks, it’s resilience. The Islanders once again came out a little slow and San José, playing the night before against the New Jersey Devils, took full advantage of it, taking a 3-2 lead midway through the second. It’s an early season issue that appears to reoccur. At that point of the game, I had seen the fourth line do like they usually do, the Nelson-Kulemin-Grabovski line were flying all night and despite pressure from the Sharks, John Tavares and his line were making their presence during the game. It was at this point I decided to tweet about the missing line:
This is a game where Okposo, Nielsen and Bailey need to put points on the score sheet. #Isles
— Paul Kreischer (@Netminder39) October 18, 2015
Then a few minutes later, it happened. Kyle Okposo got more involved and it eventually led to a Josh Bailey goal to tie the game up at 3. Okposo wasn’t done as he drove to the net on a break away, missed the shot but got his own rebound and put the puck in the net to make it 4-3 and the Isles never looked back. Brock Nelson and Frans Nielson (EN) were the last two goal scorers for the Isles.
I thought Halak played well for his first game. Two of the three goals he gave up were on a breakaway that really were out of his control. Team defense needed to better on those plays. Regardless, the Isles improve to 3-1-1 on the season and undefeated in regulation at the Barclays Center. This record is also against the Western Conference, put that into a perspective as well as beating teams that were at the time undefeated to start the season.
With the Islanders going on the road soon, it’s important for the Isles to get a better start to their games. It may not decide the outcome, but they need to keep any kind of momentum their way in someone else’s place. It’s also important that the Isles continue get goals from everyone, especially when other teams top defenses will be smothering Tavares like we saw against the Sharks.