Remember when Mathew Barzal put up his first five-point game for the New York Islanders? That was three years ago now.
We knew Mathew Barzal could be a special player for the New York Islanders when he fell to the Isles at 16 at the 2015 draft. After the draft, we’d see Barzal dominate at the junior level for the Seattle Thunderbirds for years scoring 278 points in 202 games.
When he finally made the NHL (and stayed) in the 2017-18 season that domination started to show itself at the top level.
In his first 13 games in the league, Barzal scored eight points. A great scoring rate for any rookie, but it was in game number 14 when Barzal absolutely went off on the Colorado Avalanche and showed he’d be more than just any rookie.
On November 5, 2017, Barzal put up five points (all assists of course) in a 6-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. It all began 12:58 into the first period as Barzal provided the primary assist to (of course)
Get this. Barzal has provided the primary assist on an Ebere goal 49 times. That’s 81 percent of Eberle’s goals in Blue and Orange being linked directly to Barzal. The connection between the two Gary’s has been real.
In the second period, Barzal would have three helpers. Twice Barzal would help set up Nick Leddy with power-play goals. (Can we have that Nick Leddy on the power play in 2020-21?) His third assist of the period would come as a secondary helper to a Johnny Boychuk goal.
That brought him up to four helpers in the game. Something that hadn’t been done since Anders Lee had four helpers back on Valentine’s Day 2015.
To get him up to five helpers in a single game Barzal once again provided the primary assist for Jordan Eberle. Tell me if you’ve seen this one before.
Barzal carries the puck in on a two-on-one, dishes to Eberle, and it’s in the back of the net. Barzal providing the primary assist on an Eberle goal is as sure a thing as death and taxes.
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Barzal wasn’t the first rookie to put up five points in a single game for the Islanders. It’s happened eleven times in team history. The last time was Ryan Pulock in 2018 with a goal and four assists. However, Barzal’s five points against the Avalanche was the first time a rookie had five points in a single game with only assists.
Barzal would score five once more in 2017-18, with five helpers against the Detroit Red Wings on February 9, 2018.
These five helpers against the Colorado Avalanche affirmed that Barzal wasn’t just going to be another player he was going to be a damn good one. It’s wild to think that as three years ago because it feels like yesterday.