When the New York Islanders needed him most, Mathew Barzal stepped up with his second career hat trick against John Tavares and the Maple Leafs.
As we mentioned yesterday, the New York Islanders would be playing an emotional game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It certainly started weird, but as the game went on it became more fun when the Islanders began to dominate.
With John Tavares gone, the Islanders now turn to Mathew Barzal as the face of the team. The 21-year-old star didn’t disappoint in arguably his biggest game as an Islander to date.
Yes, it was only a December hockey game, but Barzy has never played in the NHL playoffs yet. So far, this game had the most meaning because of Tavares’ decision. Thanks to that decision, Barzal is now “the guy” and last night’s performance was perfect for him.
In the second period, Mat had a natural hat trick in the span of eight minutes. For the second time in his career, Barzal had a hatty and of course, it came at the perfect time.
The storyline going into last night was how John Tavares is finally reaching his potential, even though he had more points through he had six fewer points through 37 games this year vs last year. It’s just the natural disrespect that goes the Islanders way.
Yesterday’s 4-0 beatdown put the Islanders on the map for this year. It proves that they can and will be just fine without John Tavares and that they have a pretty good star of their own.
In the last two games, Mathew Barzal has five goals. He went the first 30 games with just three goals and he now has seven since. Like I said earlier in the week, it’s not about Barzal shooting more, the puck luck is starting to come for him.
Barzal is now on pace for 22 goals, which is where he was just last year. Now with 35 points in 37 games he’s inching closer to being a point per game player again and if he remains hot, as he should, he’ll likely eclipse the 90 point mark.
Barzal had his best game of the season last night, and he picked the perfect time to have it. Remember, 13 > 91.