There was a distinct buzz at UBS Arena last night as the NY Islanders defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in OT in Patrick Roy’s debut as head coach.
A team that has been wavering going winless on their four-game road trip, the Isles came out with some extra pep in their step from the opening whistle.
Mat Barzal finished the night with two assists, including a beautiful bank pass off the boards to Bo Horvat, leading to the game-winning goal. The Islanders representative for the NHL All-Star Game had nothing but glowing things to say about how his new bench boss is going about his business.
“The language that Patty was speaking tonight was a touch different and new than maybe we were used to a little bit,” said Barzal. “Both sides of it can be effective, but you know, his new philosophy on certain things I thought translated really well and smoothly tonight.”
Captain Anders Lee, who made sure to retrieve the puck from the net after Horvat’s OT goal for Roy’s first win with the organization, touched on the energy of Roy from behind the bench.
“He’s got a lot of energy. He brings it,” said Lee. “He sees the game very well. Little tips, talking the whole time, you know - make a mistake, it’s just about right now. Figuring it out with the quick turnaround and everything, guys were able to get on the same page with those little things. Really good first night.”
Playing hero on the night, Horvat joked that somebody needs to throw a Fitbit on Roy to track his steps throughout the game. One of the leaders in the organization since joining last season, Horvat had difficulty keeping in his laughter when discussing Roy’s constant movement behind the bench.
“He was definitely right into it,” said Horvat. “Like I said, he was pulling the whole game for us. He’s got so much passion and love for the game back there. You can tell he was a pretty vocal goalie when he was back there yelling at his D. He was definitely helpful back there and definitely felt good getting the win for him.”
Though it’s just one game, the Isles have responded well to the new voice in the organization, but they’ll need to continue with the energy because like Roy said, it’s playoff hockey from here on out.