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.
Agitator, grinder, mustache extraordinaire. Cal Clutterbuck is known for a lot of things, but his goal scoring capabilities typically aren’t included in the discussions. Not including his goal-scoring ability in the discussion is a major flaw, and the evidence lies in goal number seven of the Eyes on Isles Top Ten Goals of 2015-16.
The goal, and the win, came amidst a very precarious time for the New York Islanders during their season. Coming off a painful 7-4 loss to the Lightning the night before, the Islanders were able to earn a crucial two points while the Red Wings were nipping at their heels for a wild card spot.
The first two games featured a yo-yo of scoring with the Islanders coming out to a 2-0 lead but ultimately heading to the locker room after the second period with a 3-2 deficit. Early in the third the score would change yet again.
The equalizer was actually scored by none other than Clutterbuck himself, which gave the Islanders the much needed spark to finish out the third. Although they were headed to over-time, the team was now moving in the right direction.
Clutterbuck, who is infrequently utilized in the 3-on-3 overtime format, was able to score the game winner with a mere 14.6 seconds remaining in overtime.
Nick Leddy picked up the puck off of the right boards in the Islander’s offensive zone and began establishing a formidable attack late in overtime. As he skated behind the net, he passed the puck behind him to Brock Nelson who made a quick cut at the red line back above goal-line extended.
While his two teammates were handling the puck deep in the offensive zone, Clutterbuck did exactly the right thing by positioning himself high in the slot, with his stick ready to pull the trigger.
After Nelson put the puck in exactly the right place, Clutterbuck lifted the puck fast and efficiently past Eddie Lack with the help of Jaccob Slavin‘s stick giving the Islander’s a much needed two points.
Clutterbuck’s goal didn’t only make the list because it was an overtime winner and it didn’t make the list because of Cal’s incredible celebration (although, it truly was a glorious sight to see).
The goal came at a pivotal moment in the season: with only eight games remaining in the season, that game would have been a costly two points to drop, especially with the other teams so close in the wild card hunt.
Salvaging a win that late in the season after sacrificing a 2-0 lead kept the Islanders alive and in the playoff hunt during a season that lead to their first playoff win in 23 years.