Back-to-back losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders needed to put up a strong performance against the visiting Washington Capitals.
Boy did they do that with an 8-4 drubbing. Remember, the Isles were 0-3-0 against the Caps through the season so far, but still only two points back in the East. With the win, the Islanders (and Penguins who beat Boston 4-1) are all tied at the top with 50 points.
That win will go a long way to restore some confidence in the team as a whole and for a few individuals who had big nights on the stat sheet as well. Here are your three winners and loser on the night.
(Again, ‘losers’ is used loosely. It’s tough to call any of these players as losers in an 8-4 statement win.)
New York Islanders come away with strong 8-4 win vs Capitals
Mathew Barzal (3G, 2A): This is going to be a game to remember for Mathew Barzal. With five points he had one of his better nights offensively this season. This was a dominant effort from a dominant player over the best team in the division.
His 7.63 Game Score tonight is the top single-game performance in the league this season. Think about that. Barzal’s performance tonight was the best in the league, not any of Zibanejad’s six-point nights or even Draisaitl’s six-point night in January. Spectacular.
Jordan Eberle (2G, 1A): The top line was clicking today (including Leo Komarov). Jordan Eberle‘s three-point night puts him up to 24 points on the year. That’s a 53 point pace for the top line righty.
Brock Nelson (1G, 1A): Brock Nelson has begun waking up since the end of March, with two points tonight Nelson now has five points in his last six games. The second line has been seemingly absent for a while now so it’s nice to see them wake up.
Andy Greene (1A, +3): Like I said no one is a ‘loser’ in the true sense of the word, but there are few players out there who didn’t really stand out that well. Andy Greene was one of them.
Sure, he finished with a +3 rating, but there’s that one play on the John Carlson goal that leaves you wanting more. The veteran D-man was so out of position that Carlson, also a defenseman, was all alone in front of the goal for a tap-in goal.
Semyon Varlamov (4GA, 0.818SV%): It’s wasn’t a great night for Varly. You can’t blame him for all the goals allowed, but that one power-play goal was something he could have done better on.
Third line: For a while, the Islanders third line was leading the way offensively. But tonight with eight goals scored, they were the only players (Pageau, Johnston, Wahlstrom) to end the night with a negative value in the +/- column.