Hearing that a team is on a three-game road winning streak may be a little intimidating, especially when you know you’re the next team on their schedule. But when you’re the New York Islanders, that statistic just raises the level of play.
“I think it’s not so much they’ve come to it now,” said Islanders head coach Scott Gordon about the teams’ winning mentality. “I think they came to training camp with the idea, ‘You know what, we are going to win. Enough’s enough and now it’s time to play with confidence and now maybe what other people don’t know is that we’ve got more than just potential. We have abilities.’ ”
And Saturday night that’s exactly what the Islanders showed in their 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. With two goals from defenseman Milan Jurcina
coming less than five minutes apart in the second period and then a fast power play goal from Josh Bailey
to top it off, the Avalanche seemingly had no chance at a victory inside the Nassau Coliseum.
And while the second period was fast paced, the first was scoreless with out many scoring opportunities by either team. But it was the Islanders who regrouped and stuck to their game plan, giving Avalanche their second loss this season (3-2-0) as well as propelling their home winning streak against the Avalanche to six.
“You don’t want to find yourself in holes, losing two or three in a row,” said Islanders forward John Tavares
. “It was a great bounce back for us tonight, to get a big win and two points. There aren’t (that) many home games the next few weeks so it’s always important to play strong at home and make it tough for teams when they come here.”
One of the biggest story lines has been about the quality of Josh Bailey
’s game this season. The forward has clearly learned a lot in his young professional career and has begun his third season with the club by establishing himself as one of the Islanders top forwards. It was huge when he tallied the Islanders third goal of the game while on the power play.
As the Avalanche struggled to kill the penalty, Wisniewski passed the puck to PA Parenteau
just on top of the goal line and set Bailey up in front of the net to wrist the puck up and over the shoulder of Colorado’s goaltender Craig Anderson.
“I think it’s just Josh (Bailey) being one more year mature,” said goaltender Dwayne Roloson. “He’s not complacent and he knows what he has to do to score goals and get his linemates opportunities to get points. He’s working hard and it’s great to see. He’s a great person off the ice and he’s a great teammate. I’m so happy for him that he’s having the start that he’s having.”
Before Bailey was able to score the game winner, Islanders defenseman Milan Jurcina
tallied the Islanders first two goals of the game and his first of the season.
Exactly one minute after Andrew MacDonald
found himself in the penalty box for cross-checking, Bailey won the faceoff from the right circle in front of Anderson and passed the puck off the boards deflecting back to Jurcina, who took the slapshot for the Islanders first shorthanded goal of the season.
There’s no question he’s (Milan Jurcina has) probably one of the hardest shots. Dean (Chynoweth) joked with me that had that missed the net, it probably would have gone around the rink twice. - Scott Gordon
“There’s no question he’s (got) probably one of the hardest shots,” Gordon said about Jurcina. “Dean (Chynoweth) joked with me that had that missed the net, it probably would have gone around the rink twice.”
But that wasn’t Jurcina’s only point in the game, as he scored his second goal at 18:01 of the second when he shot from about two feet out front of the goal line along the boards, trickling in past Anderson. The defenseman also tallied an assist on the final score of the game when Tavares earned his first point of the season after sliding the puck into an empty net with 20 seconds left in regulation.
Jurcina and Tavares weren’t the only one to tally firsts in Saturday night’s game. Michael Grabner
showed what Islanders General Manager saw in the forward when he picked him up off waivers this preseason.
Grabner, alongside PA Parenteau
, showed his speed in a two-on-two rush down ice. Just before reaching Anderson, Parenteau made a beautiful pass right on Grabner’s stick for a tip past the Colorado goaltender at 4:11.
“This is a kid that, with the style we play, (Grabner) should be able to flourish,” Gordon said. “His speed, he’s got good skill. We’re working him slowly. Ideally we’d like to be able to get him into some special teams situations. I’ve found him to be a low maintenance guy that just wants to get the opportunity to play and he’s going to get it.”
Even though the Isles tallied three straight goals in the second period, the Avalanche didn’t give up, coming back in the third period to score two goals. Chris Stewart tallied Colorado’s first goal of the night at 2:19 of the final period, while TJ Galiardi tallied the second at 10:08.
Winning the game couldn’t have been a possibility without an outstanding performance in goal from Roloson, who saw 30 shots and made 28 saves. Even though Roloson had a lot to do with the Islanders second regulation victory of the season, the goaltender is extremely humble and really just cares about helping his teammates be the best team they can be.
“It’s huge for our team,” Roloson said about the win. “We’ve talked from the beginning of the year, from our veterans down to our younger guys, about trying not to lose back-to-back games, try to nip it in the bud early and we were able to succeed tonight. Coming out of a start that we had, we’re looking pretty good right now.”
The Islanders leave for a four-game road trip on Sunday afternoon, making their first stop in Toronto, before playing their next game at home on Oct. 29 against the Canadiens.