Since joining the Bridgeport Islanders last season, NY Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov has been no stranger to finishing games with flare. His OT winner last night in the B-Islanders victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds was just his latest to add to his highlight reel.
Heading into the extra frame knotted up at five and with an assist already to his name on Grant Hutton's first goal of the season, Iskhakov found himself in alone on goal from the blue line after corralling a pass from defenseman Dennis Cholowski. With Thunderbirds goaltender Malcolm Subban on his heels as the speedy center came bearing down the ice, Iskhakov pulled the puck back between his legs, flipping the puck into the toy department off the crossbar and into the goal, leaving Subban staring into the rafters in disbelief.
It was Iskhakov's third OT winner on the season and team-leading ninth goal. The goal was similar to to Mat Barzal's goal against the Buffalo Sabres in March of 2021, in front of an empty arena at Nassau Coliseum during the COVID season.
This isn't Iskhakov's first rodeo showing skill with the puck on his stick. Last season, he scored on a penalty shot with one of the nastiest goals you'll see. Coming in on goal and controlling the puck with just one hand, Iskhakov undressed the netminder, again tucking the puck between his legs before burying it into the top of the goal.
Now 23 years old, Iskhokov has shown moments where it appears he's ready for an opportunity at the NHL level. As an undersized center, there's a log jam down the middle for the Islanders, not leaving much room for Iskhakov to crack the lineup. His game isn't built for a bottom-6 role, but with Bo Horvat and Brock Nelson anchoring the Islanders at center, an injury will likely be the only way we see him on Long Island.