2. The Islanders Top Line was Unstoppable vs. the Capitals
Ya know, Leo Komarov catches a lot of flak for his performance as a member of the Islanders top line, and Thursday does nothing to change the fact he should not continue to play there, but Leo wasn’t bad on Thursday. None of the three players on that Islanders top line were.
We’ve already talked about Barzal, and I could do like 15 more slides of how good Barzal was on Thursday, but let’s shine a spotlight on his two linemates.
Jordan Eberle, who has been up-and-down in 2020-21 but much less so than previous seasons, had his best game in a while, recording two goals and an assist. His 0.27 ixG was good for fourth on the Islanders, and the blue and orange controlled greater than 94% of unblocked shot attempts (15-1), and 100% of High Danger Chances For (adjusted for score and venue) with Ebs on the ice.
With all three of Barzal, Eberle, and Komarov on the ice, the Islanders outshot Washington 12-0. The Capitals weren’t even allowed a single unblocked shot attempt against the Barzal unit. Just absolutely suffocating puck possession by them in their best game together to date.
Perhaps even more impressively, the Islanders top line pitched a shutout in the xGA column, as well as racking up 1.10 xGF. It’s absolutely crazy for a single 5v5 line to accumulate over one xG in a single game, and the Islanders had two lines do that on the night. I know I’ve said it a lot already, but man, this was an absolutely dominant offensive performance from the top line and the rest of the Islanders.