The Eyes on Isles staff got together to reflect on the New York Islanders season and compiled the top 10 goals of the year. Each of these goals were important for some reason, we’ll rank them and tell you why. Here’s number nine.
After an offensively underwhelming first half, the New York Islanders needed Nick Leddy to break the snide. With a seeming innocuous goal right after the turn of the new year, he did.
Let’s talk about Nick Leddy’s first half. Assume the cut off is New Years and let’s for a very brief time, revisit those first 38 games. I say brief, because while not exactly horrific, those games weren’t anything special by our Leddy’s standards. I say brief because, in those 38 games, Leddy had a total of 12 assists and just didn’t show the signs of brilliance he had in his first season with the Islanders.
A good portion of the first half was spent wondering where Leddy was and at which point the smooth skating, puck-carrying defenseman was going to show up.
As far as games go, the January 2nd game in Pittsburgh was anything but memorable. The Islanders were in the midst of an inconsistent stretch of performances, but still coming off two straight wins and the loss of Johnny Boychuk to injury.
The Penguins did a number on the Islanders, though, and Leddy’s goal came in the dying minutes of the third period with the Isles down by four. It didn’t really matter on the scoreboard or the grand scheme of the game.
It was a well-executed goal, though. It happened because of an offensive zone face-off win by Frans Nielsen and a tape to tape pass from Kyle Okposo. Leddy only had to bury the shot, which he did, top left corner.
It was his first of the season on January 2nd.
That goal was Leddy’s fourth point in four games and the following night, he’d tally two more assists. It’s the whole of Leddy’s second half that garners much deserved attention. He played every game but the Islanders’ last of the regular season. He went on to score four more goals but tally 23 more assists.
He needed to get that monkey off his back and it was as if we got to see a completely different defenseman taking control of the Islanders’ offense at a time – with Boychuk down – they needed it.