The main story of the game was John Tavares netting his 4th career hat trick to propel the Islanders to their second consecutive win against a divisional opponent. The sub plot was “Moose” Hedberg standing on his head again in net for the first period and a half. I was concerned the Isles would never figure him out when the walls came crashing down and the Isles had 3 goals on the board by the end of the second period.
I had some thoughts while watching the game:
JT is our offensive savior, but he still needs to work on his D and turnovers, specifically leaving the D zone and entering the offensive zone. . He probably feels he needs to do it all himself. If he can polish his D game more he’s going to be unstoppable.
Hits, or no hits? The team has quite a few players on offense and defense that don’t take the body. There are several players on the team that refuse to even check their coats at restaurants. Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner stand out somewhat, but only because they don’t hit much but can still produce. Moulson is sitting at 10th in the league in scoring, and Grabner has more breakaway chances then anyone else while PK’ing well. It’s hard to argue with production, but if you’ve ever watched playoff hockey (I know, I know Isles fans) you’d realize that everyone finished their checks. It’s just hard to believe that players will all of the sudden just abandon their game to start hitting. The changes need to happen before. Only then will the Isles have success. Cappy seems to agree.
The coash has been giving the Isles 4th line valuable ice time because they hustle, hit, and even pitch in a point here and there. Martin, Cizikas, and McDonald have been proving that following through with the hits can change the game. It wears down the opposing team, and creates more space for everyone. You can’t win with grinders alone, but if all players grinded a bit more, this team could play at a higher level. Remember Pittsburgh? That should be the rallying cry.