The New York Islanders just put the NHL on notice as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 on “Hockey Night in Canada.”
In what was being called as one of the more anticipated games of the season, the Islanders faced off against former captain John Tavares for the first time since Tavares left the team.
The first period was highlighted by Val Filppula’s beautiful goal, in which he split the defense of the Maple Leafs and sniped the puck past Garret Sparks.
Michael Dal Colle, who was recalled after Jordan Eberle was placed on the IR, notched his first NHL assist on the goal.
The second period was one of the best periods in recent Islanders history. Mat “The Kid Who Won the Calder” Barzal showed John Tavares what he abandoned on July 1st when he scored three goals within seven minutes and 33 seconds.
Barzal, who has five goals in his last two games, is shooting the puck more. By shooting more and not passing, Barzal adds another threat to the Islanders lackluster power play.
Robin Lehner was solid in net, continuing his dominant streak of allowing one or fewer goals within in his last four starts.
What won’t go on the scoresheet are the games that Leo Komarov and Josh Ho-Sang played. Both were hustling and giving 110% of their effort to ensure that the Islanders would pull out victorious.
Ho-Sang had a tremendous two-on-one chance with Brock Nelson where Ho-Sang toe-dragged the puck around a lying down Leafs’ defender.
Ho-Sang also had a nice shift when he skated to tip a puck to ensure that the icing that would have been called, was called off.
Devon Toews has also been an outstanding addition to the Isles D-core. Toews has been one of the more touted prospects in the Islanders farm system, and he is showing the fan base why.
When asked by Stan Fischler about why Trotz came to the Islanders, Trotz cited the youth movement and called out Devon Toews for attracting him to the franchise.
While this might only be two points in the standings, this game should do wonders for the confidence of the Islanders. With today’s result, the Islanders got sweet revenge against their former captain, and they are convincing their fanbase that they are on the rise.
Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello have transformed this team into contenders. But not contenders for the #1 pick. This team is a legitimate Playoff team, and if last night’s victory is a sign of things to come, the Islanders are in great shape.