New York Islanders Three Takeaways From 2018-19 Game 1
You’d expect for the New York Islanders first line center and 2018 Calder Trophy winner to play top minutes for the team. He ranked third for forward in minutes played on the night. Brock Nelson and new captain Anders Lee played more.
Barry Trotz during his post-game comments would indicate that he leaned on veterans as he felt a certain nervousness in the lineup.
While it’s not great that the team had an edge of nervousness to it on the opening night. Nor is it that Barzal was perhaps one of the guilty parties. The nervousness came up during a question about coaching Barzal after all.
But as the game progressed its clear that he grew much more comfortable. Barzal was responsible for drawing a penalty late in the third period that benefited the Islanders as they went into overtime.
Barzal did what Barzal does to draw the penalty. He drove play in the Carolina zone as he tried to create space and was taken down in possession of the puck.
In overtime, it was Barzal who found Josh Bailey across the ice and it was Barzal who fed him the puck for the winner.
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Barzal didn’t get the minutes you’d expect him to get as the offensive focal point for the New York Islanders. But coach Trotz gave a fair rationale for the lower than expected minutes. And like Trotz said, Barzal will get his minutes during the season.