A 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum was just the way the Islanders wanted to ring in the New Year.
On the day the team honored Ken Morrow, by inducting him into the Islanders Hall of Fame, Matt Moulson
played in his 200th consecutive game as an Islander and John Tavares
scored his 150th point.
|Ales Hemsky tries to move the puck around Matt Martin and Travis Hamonic at Nassau Coliseum on December 31, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
The team's well rounded play is what Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said was a key to the win.
“We talked about a total team effort and the way that we have to play,” Capuano said. “We did that tonight. Everyone contributed.”
However, it was the play of Islanders power forward Matt Martin
that propelled the Islanders to their second consecutive win. He tallied the team’s fourth goal at 4:05 of the second, but also drew both penalties on Ben Eager which led to the Islanders power plays and ultimately to their timely goals. His play earned Martin the third star of the game.
“I thought Matty Martin did a good job, showing the discipline that he showed,” Capuano said. “If you go back and look at those power play goals, he had a lot to do with them and he got rewarded himself by getting the puck to the net.”
Martin was extremely disciplined, despite being antagonized by Eager throughout the game.
“Eager was out there trying to do his job and he wanted to fight, but I guess I don’t really care what he wants,” Martin said. “I’m out here to help our team win and I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win. So that’s what I needed to do at the time.”
Prior to Eager’s second visit to the penalty box, he dropped his stick and gloves to the ice and grabbed Martin looking for a fight, but the Islanders power forward kept his arms down, chirped a little bit, but never bit and threw a punch.
“Maybe I should have protected myself a little bit more, but I was still well aware,” Martin said. “He was grabbing my arms. If he would have threw a punch, I would have protected myself, but I play physical and I try to get under the other teams’ skin. It worked tonight and I have to continue to do that. It will create more power plays for us, which builds momentum.”
|Matt Martin scores at 4:05 of the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Nassau Coliseum on December 31, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
The Islanders power play was rocking. Despite going up against the Oilers penalty kill, which ranks ninth in the league, Tavares (3:44 of the first) and Parenteau (3:19 of the second) both scored with the man advantage. Possibly a testament to how hard they’ve worked to perfect special teams and find the back of the net.
“The power play did a great job tonight, putting the puck in the net,” Martin said. “There are not too many better feelings when you draw a penalty like that and the power play goes right out there and pots one. It’s important. Power plays are probably one of the most important parts of the game these days. They did a good job tonight.”
Moulson closed out the first period with an even strength tally after Tavares connected with him at 17:55. The goal put the Islanders ahead 2-1, and could have been 3-1, after an earlier play was deemed no goal due to a “distinct kicking motion” on the ice and there wasn’t enough evidence to support the contrary in the video review.
In the second period, Parenteau’s power play goal would follow suit. But that was then followed by Martin’s fourth goal of the season for which he made a drop pass to Josh Bailey
entering the offensive zone, which the two players grinded out in the corner for Martin to shoot from the lower end of the circle and beat Devan Dubnyk far side.
“It definitely felt good to finally put another one in,” Martin said. “I’ve been held off the sheet for a little while, but it’s great playing with Grabs (Michael Grabner
) and Bails (Bailey). They’re two offensive guys. I can go in there and be physical and create some havoc, just throw the puck on net. Sometimes they go in.”
It’s more games like these that the Isles will need to earn more wins heading into 2012.