It didn’t seem that Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello acquired the right player as his team headed to the playoffs against the Penguins. Head Coach Barry Trotz wasn’t worried though. Palmieri had been playing “the right way”, production was going to come.
And by God was Barry ever right.
Kyle Palmieri plays hero for New York Islanders
It didn’t take long for Barry’s prediction to come true. Just 7:58 into the game Palmieri found himself in a familiar spot on the right faceoff dot with the puck on his stick. As a volume-shooting winger aught to do he fired it on net and beat Tristan Jarry high glove.
This is what the Islanders wanted from Palmieri during the regular season but for some reason, he just couldn’t deliver. As we know with a Barry Trotz system, sometimes it takes a new acquisition time to settle into their new role. Clearly, an eight-day break after the regular season finally helped Palmieri.
Sure he was quiet through most of the game after this goal, he’d only get one more shot on goal, but his line was excellent today. The Pageau-Palmieri-Wahlstrom trip finished with a 64.29 CF%, 50 SCF%, and 70.69 XGF%. All three were team highs for the Isles.
(Stats from NaturalStatTrick.)
That line and Palmieri were doing all the right things. As Barry said, production would come. At 16:30 of OT, Barry’s mantra was proven right yet again.
With little space to work with and a bouncing puck, Palmieri bats into a tiny opening above Jarry’s left shoulder. Just look how small that space is where Palmieri squeezed it through. Remarkable.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau the First Star
With two goals, including a game-winner in OT, you’d think that Palmieri would be the first star. Even the NHL thought so, but Jean-Gabriel Pageau with three points on the day has to be that first star.
The trade deadline acquisition from 2020 had a massive game for the Isles that would eventually power them to the victory and early series lead.