is set to play in his 100th career game tonight when the Islanders take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum. For any player in their young career, hitting that milestone is exciting.
“It’s special to play your 100th game,” Martin said. “It’s a small accomplishment, but it’s definitely a milestone. I hope to have many more games in my career. One thousand might be stretch, but I want to get as close to there as I can.”
|Matt Martin works the puck ahead against Adam Pardy at the American Airlines Center on December 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Just two short seasons ago, on Feb. 9, 2010, Martin remembers playing in his first NHL game as a call-up from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. That game, the Islanders defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 in the shootout at Nassau Coliseum and Martin notched two primary assists. Both goals were scored on the power play; the first was scored by former Islanders defenseman Bruno Gervais and the second scored by Isles Captain Mark Streit
“I remember being really, really nervous on the bench, a lot of butterflies and I wasn’t feeling too well,” Martin said. “I remember G (Islanders Trainer Garrett Timms) had to give me a ton of Tums before the game, but I picked up a couple of assists in that game and we ended up winning in a shootout, so it was pretty awesome.”
Since that game, Martin has made a name for himself on Long Island as one of the toughest checkers in the league, posting a league-high 117 hits. But Martin’s talents run deeper; he is a strong two-way player that can contribute offensively and puts in a great effort on the penalty kill.
“I’ve just become more confident,” Martin said. “I’m playing a lot smarter than I did when I first got up here. Even last year, I had to run around a little bit and I kind of let my emotions get the best of me. Now I’m a lot smarter and stick to the way I want to play the game. And that’s playing a power forward type game, getting shots on net and finishing all of my checks.”