I know my post last night wasn’t much, I actually wasn’t even planning on putting anything up at the time – but felt compelled to post the Okposo news when it happened. The Islanders went into last nights contest against the Devils winless in 6 games and scoring very few times over the course of those 6 games. For the first several minutes last night, the Devils attacked Dubielewicz from all sorts of angles and were clearly shooting high. Their game plan didn’t really work out the way they wanted, as the Islanders turned all NJ momentum when they scored a rare first period goal.
What wasn’t very rare about it was how they managed to score. It seems that Martin Brodeur was screened on a shot by Comeau by journeyman Richard Park. Comeau cycled the puck down low and Okposo took the puck behind the net and cut back towards the corner boards where he found Comeau again. Okposo went to the right post and Park went to the front of the net as Comeau turned and fired a shot that beat Brodeur for a 1-0 lead. The play would mark Okposo’s first NHL point with a primary assist on the play. The Devils would eventually capitalize on a power play, one of their many chances during the game by knocking in a rebound at Dubielewicz’s far post. They would appear to get the go ahead goal in the second period on another power play, but the goal was waved off because the net was off its moorings. Sprinkle in numerous Islanders and Devils power plays and fights here and there and it brings you to the third period.
The third period brought more north-south hockey by both teams and Dubielewicz was forced to make numerous stops at point blank range. Matthew Spiller and ex-Isles Aaron Asham would square off for a title bout, but Spiller would be felled by ONE punch from Asham that drew blood on his cheek. Guerin would later fight Clarkson and they would wind up tying their bout. Zajack would be called for holding late in the third period to give the Islanders a very important power play. Nolan elected to ice his Comeau, Park, Okposo line and it would pay dividends, as Park found a helmet less Okposo who fired a blast past Brodeur to make it a 2-1 Islanders lead. It was Okposo’s first NHL goal and he celebrated like it was his first goal – which is even more memorable because he had no helmet. The Devils would pull their goaltender with just over a minute left and Hunter would backhand the clincher past the sprawling Devils d-men to make it 3-1. Aside from Okposo’s memorable night, Vasicek would square off with NJ’s Pelley with seconds remaining – it seems that the Islanders really responded to the scolding by head coach Ted Nolan for their less than perfect effort against Toronto earlier in the week.
Okposo Watch – Game 2
Throughout the remainder of the season I will include a small section in each post highlighting the play of Kyle Okposo to see how he progressive during his time up with the big club. Here are Kyle’s numbers from his second NHL game:
Total Shifts: 17
Time on Ice: 15:35
Power Play Time: 2:31
Average Shift: 0:55
So, not only did Kyle notch his first NHL assist during the first period, he would then score his first goal on the power play against one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game. It was also Kyle’s first game winning goal and first multi-point night – clearly a great night of firsts for this budding star!
Just wanted to see if anyone else knew who on the Islanders current roster also scored their first NHL goal against Martin Brodeur.