After netting just nine goals last year, Nikolai Kulemin is having a bounce back season, which is a very underrated part of the success of the New York Islanders. From his penalty kill ability to his defense and goal scoring, Kulemin has been doing it all this season for the New York Islanders.
Nikolai Kulemin has been proving the doubters wrong this season, especially as he scored his tenth goal of the season Thursday night against the Rangers. The shorthanded goal which ultimately stood as the game-winning goal in a 4-2 win.
Another huge stat in the goal scoring department is that Kulemin is currently on pace for 16 goals this year, one goal more than his highest goal scoring mark as a New York Islander during the 2014-15 season.
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The contribution Nikolai Kulemin has brought to the Islanders has been on both sides of the puck, and he has been doing a great job of replacing Matt Martin on the former “best fourth line in hockey” alongside Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck. His defensive talents have made that line as good, if not better than it was with Matt Martin.
Kulemin does it all, from killing penalties to fending opponents off when they send the extra attacker out at the end of the game. Nikolai Kulemin has done everything Doug Weight has asked for him and delivered.
He also developed som chemistry with John Tavares, who never held a fulltime roll on the penalty kill, a bonafide penalty killer. When the two of them are on the ice together, they work wonders together, both offensively and defensively, and it showed when Nikolai Kulemin potted the short-handed goal that changed the game in Thursday night’s win.
All in all, Nikolai Kulemin’s improvement from last season has been a tremendous part of the New York Islanders success this season, from killing penalties to lighting the lamp, Kulemin has stepped up when the New York Islanders needed him the most.