The New York Islanders let their offense do the heavy-lifting on Thursday night, as they beat the Capitals in a pretty dominant 8-4 win at the Coliseum.
The New York Islanders conceded Thursday night’s first goal only 1:01 into the first period, and it looked like things might go off the rails for them at Nassau Coliseum. That was before the Isles’ top-six forward group took over the game and ultimately led New York to a dominant 8-4 victory.
Here are three takeaways from a very, very good night for the Islanders.
1. Mathew Barzal is Unleashed
You remember that scene from The Simpsons where Homer, dressed as Krusty the Clown, mercilessly beats the Krusty Burglar? The one where the kid in the crowd says “Stop! Stop! He’s already dead!”, you know the one. Yeah, that’s Mat Barzal and the race for 2021’s goal of the year. He’s already dead, Mat, you can stop now.
That was my reaction to Thursday night’s latest poetry in motion on Barzal’s first goal of three. Like, Mat, the goal of the year is yours, you don’t need to continue. Yet, he continues, and I’m not mad about it.
That goal is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. The craziest part is, it’s not even the best goal he’s scored all season. But by God, is it up there or what?
Off memory alone, I say it beats goals from earlier this season in which Barzal went up against victims Tony DeAngelo and P.O. Joseph 1v1 and totally undressed both. He beats like four defenders on Thursday’s goal. Still, his bulldozing of Rasmus Ristolainen and subsequent between the legs goal against Buffalo earlier this season remains my front-runner for 2021’s goal of the year.
Barzal, who has had some difficulties over the last few games with Leo Komarov on his wing, exploded Thursday night, and in the process had one of his best games of the season, and probably his entire career.
At the time of writing this, (about 10:30 pm Thursday night) four Islanders top the Hockey Stat Cards leaderboard in Game Score. They are Jordan Eberle, Leo Komarov, Josh Bailey, and of course, Mat Barzal, who had an absurd Game Score of 7.63, the highest any player has had in the NHL this season.
Barzal was just totally shot out of a cannon against the Capitals. He recorded nine total shot attempts, eight individual scoring chances for, five individual high danger chances-for, and finished with five points on the night, with a hat-trick in the final moments of regulation as a reward for his dominant effort. Just a ludicrous night from him. Take a bow indeed.