New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal is headed to the All-Star Game for the third time and for the first time as a winger after he was unveiled as the team's representative on Thursday for the game scheduled on Feb 3 in Toronto.
With an assist later that night against the Arizona Coyotes, Barzal joined a list of several former Islanders' All-Stars, becoming the seventh-fastest player in team history to reach 400 points; Barzal needed 457 games to hit the mark, the same number as John Tonelli.
The four fastest Islanders to reach the milestone are all Hall of Famers: Mike Bossy (283), Bryan Trottier (296), Denis Potvin (392), and Pat LaFontaine (404). In fifth place is John Tavares (432), followed by former captain Brent Sutter (443).
Barzal finished the game with two assists and now has a team-leading 39 points (10G, 29) assists in 37 games and he attempts to reach 80-points and maintain a point-per-game pace for the first time since his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season.
Barzal earned the primary assist to reach the milestone by setting up defenseman Mike Reilly to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead in the first period. “It's obviously fun to be out there with him because he's always has his head up and just kind of looking for the late attacker,” Reilly said. “When he's out on the ice if there's a chance to kind of find a little bit of a soft spot.”
Then in the third period, Barzal was active on the forecheck, deflecting Juuso Valimaki's clearing attempt, which ended up on Lee's stick in the slot. The Isles captain beat Arizona goaltender Connor Ingram to make it 3-1 and ignite a big third period en route to a 5-1 win.