The return of John Tavares to Fort Neverlose was something special. A 6-1 Victory that was nothing short of spectacular.
The Staff (Lineup Changes)
Mayfield in for Hickey
Lou’s Burger of the Game (Hero)
Casey Cizikas. There are a lot of candidates for the Bobby Nystrom Award this year, but it’s nights like tonight that people will put on the highlight reel when they hand him that award. 19th goal is a shorty. Shut down Johnny Pajama when they were on the ice together, and smiled every second of the game. Man that guy must go through a ton of toothpaste.
Into the Chili (Goat)
John Gruden and Nick Leddy are gonna share this until there is a spectacularly bad game by an Islander, or an opponent. They share it because Nick Leddy should not be on the PP1. He is there for zone entries. But even when he makes a nice one, he becomes the dog that caught the car. “Okay, now what do I do?” . He is now officially the 6th defenseman.
Salad Bar (Random Thoughts About the Game)
The much anticipated crowd reaction to John Tavares’ return to the barn did not disappoint. When Tavares had the puck the crowd booed enough for it to be audible on the TV broadcast. “We Don’T Need You” pretty much says it all. In his defense, as he was until July 1, 2018 Johnny Pajamas was a class act all the way. Acknowledging the Islanders, and the fans after the tribute and sulking through the post gamer… Stan must be in Israel.
The Islanders controlled momentum for last two thirds of the game. I’d say they were on the right side of the puck, and playing physically for at least 45 minutes. That’s the way it’s got to be until June. By HDCF% the momentum swing didn’t happen until the second period, but by physicality it started within a minute of puck drop.
The chants of “A-Hole” were a little much. I think “We Don’t Need You” was a HR. “A-Hole” was a foul tip third strike. a.k.a. a bad bunt with bases loaded and two outs.
The hits just keep on coming. The #Isles have been know for their physicality ever since the first time MC^2 was put together. It’s been a while, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game this one sidedly violent, with so few penalties. Great job!
Barry Trotz understands the value of momentum. This team had hit a bit of a lull. This game was going to be incredible no matter what 18 he threw out there, or how he threw them out there. But he’s starting to show why standing pat at the deadline, was able to generate offense for free.
Mayfield and Toews are playing out of their minds. The balance of a strong stay at home defenseman and an offensive minded D is special. It’s what was in mind when the Isles first paired Leddy and Boychuck. But Scott and Devon are starting to build something special. Because they both have enough of their counter-attributes to show those talents every night. Mayfield had at least three rushes from the defensive zone through the offensive zone, that result in a shot, or good possession time. I’m looking right at you Nick Leddy. We know you have it in you.
The Bubbly (Playoff Status)
The bubble is currently 96. The Islanders only need 15 points with 19 games to go. This is no time to coast, but they could. Making the playoffs is not a concern at the moment. What they will do battle for every night is HTA.
Dessert (What’s Coming Up)
WAS (03/01/19) The Islanders are now two points ahead of the Washington Capitals with only a game in hand. This will be the most important game to date for Barry Trotz’ Isles. This game will probably determine whether it’s a two team race for first, or a battle between WAS, CBJ and PIT for home team advantage in the Metro’s second playoff pairing.
PHI (03/03/19) The Flyers are hanging on to their playoffs hopes by a thread. They can only lose four games with 18 remaining to make the bubble. They know where they are, that’s why Simmonds is in Nashville.
OTT (03/05/19) Since my last review OTT fired their coach Guy Boucher and replaced him with fiery Marc Crawford. Seems a little odd to name an interim coach at this point. I think we can all assume that Ottawa is just getting a jump on the next five years.