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Islanders vs. Sabres: Matt Martin powers team to victory (Highlight)

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 04: (l-r) Matt Martin #17 and Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrate their 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum on March 04, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 04: (l-r) Matt Martin #17 and Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrate their 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum on March 04, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders point streak is now up to six games after a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum. With the win tonight, the Isles picked up eleven points from a possible twelve in this streak.

The win now puts the Islanders at 30 points on the season and even with the division-leading Washington Capitals. With more games played, the Isles have the lower points-percentage and thus sit second in the division.

This one was a full team effort, but one guy, in particular, pulled an incredible performance for the win; Matt Martin.

New York Islanders Matt Martin multi-goal performance

The Islanders put up about as good a performance as you’d like to see. It wasn’t perfect (a look a the score can tell you as much), but the team played well from start to finish. The fact that they outshot the Sabres 45-18 is an easy indicator as to how dominant the Islanders were.

In terms of advanced analytics, the Isles controlled scoring chances (67.44%), high-danger chances (81.25%), and expected goals (70.72%). All at 5on5 of course.

(All stats from NaturalStatTrick.)

The power play went a rare 0-for-3 on the night, but the Islanders didn’t need the special teams to help them out tonight.

Scoring from (just about) Everywhere

The strength of the Islanders system is that they can roll out four lines (and three defensive pairings) and get strong performances from them all.

Tonight, the Isles got production from just about everywhere in the lineup.

It started with a goal from the blue line with Noah Dobson getting his second point of the season when he walked into a comically open slot.

The top line of Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, and Jordan Eberle combined for four points on the night. Jordan Eberle picked up a goal and a primary assist on that Noah Dobson goal. Eberle now has 14 points in 23 games, putting him on pace for 52 points over a full NHL season.

That’s about where you’d expect a $5.5 million player to be.

The second line also got in on the fun when they turned defense into offense as Brock Nelson links up with Anthony Beauvillier for a breakaway goal.

But the story of the night was the fourth line and specifically Matt Martin who scored twice tonight, it’s the first time he’s done that since 2014. Both goals came off typical fourth-line plays where a relentless forecheck creates turnovers in the Sabres zone and eventually ended up in the back of the net.

Of the two goals Martin scored, the first was easily the nicest because it’s not often you see a guy like Matt Martin squeeze a puck into a tiny opening from behind the goal line.

With two goals on the night, Martin now sits with four on the season. That’s as many as Jack Eichel (2), Taylor Hall (2), and Jeff Skinner (0), combined. That’s perhaps the best way, to sum up how things are going for Buffalo. The Sabres have $27 million of payroll scoring as many goals as $1.5 million.

The only line that didn’t produce was the third line of Michael Dal Colle, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Oliver Wahlstrom. But they weren’t bad out there with a 53.96 xGF% on the night.

Winners

Matt Martin (2G, 5SOG): Big night for the big fourth-liner, got to think Lou is smiling after that performance.
Jordan Eberle (1G, 1A): After a quiet game the last time out it was nice to see him have a strong one.
Casey Cizikas (2A): The fourth line was on point tonight.

Losers

Rasmus Dahlin (-4, 1 hit): I barely noticed the first-overall pick out there.
Rasmus Ristolainen (1G, -3, 4PIM): He got a goal, but man outside of that, not a good night.
Eric Staal (2SOG, 1 block): Just another important player who was MIA.

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