Just before puck drop, we got some lineup information for both the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. Josh Bailey was taken off the COVID Protocol list while Mackenzie Blackwood was added to the list.
Meaning the Isles forward was eligible to play but the Devils starter was not. Which allowed Barry Trotz to keep the exact same lineup from games one through three. For the Devils, it meant they were going to start a goalie who hasn’t started a game since 2018. Which, from an Islanders perspective isn’t always a good development (backups tend to have the Isles number).
New York Islanders start getting shots on net
With 17 shots against the Bruins on Monday, the Islanders needed to get more pucks on net against the Devils. The Islanders aren’t Corsi darlings by any stretch but they still know that in order to succeed they’ll need to keep the game at the other end of the ice.
Through 60 the Isles put up 35. Fifteen of those shots came in the first period alone. It was exactly the type of offensive performance the Islanders needed after that tepid showing against Boston.
Leading the way in the shot department was Mathew Barzal with five on the night. None were as nice as this far-side snipe on Wedgewood.
Barzal was in incredible goal scoring form through the first half of 19-20 with a 20.8 shooting percentage. Something he wasn’t able to keep up in the second half with a dismal 4.0 shooting percentage even though he was shooting it more (99 shots in the second half to 72 in the first).
This year, the focus for Barzal will be on matching that early-season return this year and keeping it going throughout the year. With two goals on ten shots through four games, he’s on pace to do it.
Nearly 15 minutes later it was Jordan Eberle who hit the back of the net with a patented forehand to backhand deke.
Over his three previous seasons with the club, Eberle didn’t score his first goal of the year before his eighth game. In 2021 he popped his first goal in game number four. For a player who isn’t known for starting the season strong this perhaps the best case to say: “Not this year”.
The season is obviously early but Eberle, who scored a second goal later in the game, spoke about how important it was to start the season off well:
Just ask Anthony Beauvillier what it’s like to start the year off with some production? Beau rode that early-season confidence throughout the year and has his most productive and impactful season in the NHL yet.
Going into the game, the Isles were coming off back-to-back performances where they were blanked on nine power-play opportunities. After two PPG’s in game one, the dip on the man-advantage was all too familiar with fans.
And it didn’t stop against the Devils when the Islanders had an atrocious power play in the second period. Usually, the Islanders have trouble entering the offensive zone on the PP, but this time they had a hard time exiting their own defensive zone.
But in the third things turned. Hard.
The Islanders put up back-to-back power-play goals. First, it was Jordan Eberle for his second of the season, and then it was Brock Nelson on an incredible redirection.
Leaving with a 4-1 win against an up-and-coming divisional rival, scoring two power-play goals, and having Jorda Eberle riding high on confidence early in the season is a big, BIG, win for the Isles.
Mathew Barzal (1G, 2A, 5SOG)
You need your best player to be just that. Today, Barzal was the best player on the ice.
Jordan Eberle (2G, 4SOG, 2BLKS)
He’s scoring goals and doing so early in the season. Only good things came come from this.
Noah Dobson (2A, 2SOG, 7BLKS)
Great game from Dobson, there’s no other way to put it. He just needs to string these together most consistently.
Scott Wedgewood (0.886SV%, 4GA)
It was not a great performance from the career backup. But it’s not like his team helped him much.
Jack Hughes (1BLK, 1GVA)
The former first overall did nothing in the game. His only shot towards the net was blocked.
Devils PK (2/3 on PK)
Two PP goals against on three opportunities is #bad.