Head Coach Jack Capuano said there were a lot of things that he and the coaches saw in the New York Islanders 6-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. Among what pleased him, the power play.
“I like our power play because everybody is skilled, everybody can shoot the puck, everybody can pass the puck and the guys are great skaters and they work really hard,” said Islanders captain Mark Streit
. “It was a good start.”
|Mark Streit #2 and John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders celebrate defeating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in a preseason game at Nassau Coliseum on September 24, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images for New York Islanders) |
Capuano added, "We started the way we wanted. Obviously, it was a good start to have. It was a good chance for us to look at our team, look at our special teams and look at certain guys. That's what preseason is about - for our coaching staff to evaluate our players.”
To open the scoring, Michael Grabner
used his speed to fly up the ice along the left boards, break into the offensive zone and ultimately connect with Kyle Okposo
in the slot to beat Johan Hedberg glove side at 10:35.
The Islanders would work in their first power play goal 37 seconds into a hooking call on Henrik Tallinder. From inside the trapezoid, Matt Moulson
paused for barely a second, giving Hedberg time to get into position along the post before making a pass to the top of the crease where Streit skated into position to put a one-timer on net at 15:17.
“(Moulson) moved the puck pretty well,” Streit said. “I snuck down there, the far post. He obviously saw me and made a perfect play and I just had to put it in the net.”
Quarterbacking the power play in his first two seasons, Streit was anxious to get back into game action after missing all of last season, but expectedly nervous for his return to the ice. His power play goal, which lifted the Islanders 2-0, was all that was needed to calm his nerves.
I was a bit nervous because I didn’t play for quite a while and I just tried to keep it simple and not too many crazy plays. I think it was good to have that power play right at the beginning of the game and it looked really well, the breakout. We scored a goal. We moved the puck really well. It’s good for my confidence. - Mark Streit
“I was a bit nervous because I didn’t play for quite a while and I just tried to keep it simple and not too many crazy plays,” Streit said. “I think it was good to have that power play right at the beginning of the game and it looked really well, the breakout. We scored a goal. We moved the puck really well. It’s good for my confidence.”
Capuano is glad to have his captain back.
“He played almost nine (minutes) in the first period,” Capuano said. “It's good to get him back where he needs to be. His conditioning level was good tonight. I was overall happy with Mark's game.”
Devils winger Nick Palmeri cut the goal differential in half, scoring on goaltender Al Montoya
at 16:53 of the first, but the Islanders would score three straight in the second period, making a comeback too difficult.
At 3:43, Frans Nielsen
opened the period with the Islanders second power play goal. Defenseman Steve Staios
would get his first goal in an Islanders uniform when he took a shot from the point, aiming wide, and had it deflect off a Devils defenseman’s chest before crossing the goal line at 12:47.
Playing alongside Streit, the 38-year-old defenseman is at training camp on a tryout-basis and is just glad to be given an opportunity.
“I really appreciate the opportunity,” Staios said. “I felt good in the back-to-backs and I think coming in a couple days late may have played into that. They want to get me out there and see where my fitness level is at. Overall I felt good.”
Moulson scored his first of two goals at 14:16 when he brought the puck into the zone and walked in through the slot to wrist the puck high glove side.
|John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders controls the puck during the second period of a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum on September 24, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images for New York Islanders) |
“On one of the shots, on the save that Staios passed to me in the slot, same kind of shot, I didn’t pass to Johnny back door, so I was looking for him the whole time I came down with him on a two-on-one, but the D kind of took him away so I took the shot and luckily it somehow found its way in.”
As Capuano had hinted earlier in the day, the Islanders made a goalie change midway through the second period and at 17:13, Mattias Tedenby would squeak the puck low past Kevin Poulin
to close the second period 5-2.
Moulson would score the only goal in the third period, providing the final margin. Positioning was everything on Moulson’s goal. Set up by defenseman Travis Hamonic
, Moulson was in the slot to tip the puck into the empty net.
“Hammer made a great play,” Moulson said. “I think he saw me the whole time. I saw him look at me so I just went to the net. He pretty much put it off my stick and in, so I’ll take those any time I can.”
Needless to say, the Islanders showed a lot of positives in their preseason home opener.
As for Streit, who was named first star of the game, he said: “I’ll tell you one thing, it’s great to be out there again.”