NY Islanders News

Isles Top Line Developing Chemistry

By Joe Powers

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Islanders top scoring line of John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo appears to be growing together as a unit. The trio accounted for all of the Islander offense against the Sharks on Tuesday, combining for five points on two goals. In addition, Okposo and Vanek scored one each in the shootout, the only goals recorded by the team.

Vanek had a pair of points against the Ducks on Monday, giving him six goals and twelve assists in 16 games as an Islander including nine points in his last ten contests. Tavares has 18 points over the last 15 games, and Okposo notched his third goal and fourth point in his last six games.

The line took some time to adjust to each other’s’ style of play. While Okposo and Tavares had been together most of the season, the addition of Vanek in place of the departed Matt Moulson wasn’t as smooth a transition as was hoped for. Vanek had recorded just three points in his first six games as an Islander before being sidelined for five games.

On the flipside to the top line’s success is the fact that the rest of the team has all but stopped scoring; Islanders not named Vanek, Okposo or Tavares have combined for four points over the team’s last five games. Frans Nielsen with a pair of assists and Andrew MacDonald with his third goal of the season along with an assist marks the sum total of offense the remainder of the team has managed to muster in the month of December to date.

The much-needed win against the Ducks was the team’s first in eleven games spanning more than three weeks. It marked the first win of the season in which the team scored fewer than three goals. Goaltending continues to be a strong point on Tuesday; Kevin Poulin turned in a spectacular performance, stopping 46 of 48 shots he faced.