After three straight games off the score sheet, Mathew Barzal has points for the Islanders in his last two games including his first goal of the playoffs coming in Game 3. In order for the Isles to have success in Game 4, they need this version of Mat Barzal to continue.
Before Game 2 and 3, the Barzal had just one game with four shots on more in the first seven playoff games. In that one game, he picked up a couple of assists.
Go figure, when Barzy is more active he’s more productive. Well, in the last two games, Barzal has four shots apiece and has looked like a much better version of himself.
I can’t express enough how badly Barzal needed that goal the other night. He’s been the face of criticism in the playoffs for the Isles as he’s been mostly absent. Sure, you can get into the semantics game of why he’s been quiet but the moral of the story, they needed him to be better than he has been.
When speaking about this team, most of the time people will say the team goes as Mat Barzal goes. While this may seem like just a cliche it’s actually very much so the truth. In the 32 games that Islanders won in the regular season, Barzal had 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists).
That works out to a .91 points per game pace. In losses, he has just 9 points and two goals in 17 games (a .53 points per game pace). Luckily, the Isles have won really without the help of their best player.
That’s not sustainable, especially against a quality opponent like the Boston Bruins. Now, I won’t be unrealistic saying he needs to be potting two goals a game or anything crazy like that. Just keep playing the way that he has over the last two games is all.
When he puts more rubber on net, he usually tends to be more productive. Sometimes he gets in the habit of looking for the perfect pass and with Leo Komarov flanked to his left, Barzal has to learn to be more selfish.
Good things happen when the puck goes on net, just ask Brad Marchand.