Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier each scored their first goal of the year as the Islanders earned their first win of the season - a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday evening at NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum.
Ten different Islanders found their way onto the scoresheet, as the Isles found their offensive groove, bouncing back following a tough 2-1 loss during their home opener on Friday. After a scoreless first period, the Isles rode three second period goals en route to the win. Patrik Laine scored the lone goal for the Jets to make the game 3-1, but that's as close as Winnipeg would come.
"You're getting production through the lineup; everybody feels they have a little bit of a role," Head Coach Barry Trotz said of his team's balanced offense. "I'm not afraid to play one through four against anybody."
Video: Islanders ride big 2nd to 4-1 win against Jets
ISLES OFFENSE BOUNCES BACK:
Following Friday's 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, Coach Trotz emphasized to the group the importance of putting a loss behind them and shifting their concentration towards their execution in the next game. On Sunday, the Isles did just that.
"I thought we responded well," Lee said. "Not only from our game against Washington, but a little bit of their first period was pretty good. I think we did a really good job of staying on top of them, especially on the forecheck. Beau and Bails got us going, Nelly, Greisser had some huge saves at some huge moments, even up 4-1, so it was a good rebound for sure."
Video: WPG@NYI: Nelson goes top shelf to double lead
Lee continued: "For the most part we really kept them to the outside, they have plenty of skill and plenty of guys that can skate with the puck. They were really winding it up at times, and I think we did a really good job. Our D credit to them for keeping them to the outside. Our guys, we were a committed bunch tonight."
There were no shortage of chances for the Islanders, especially during a thrilling and dominant second frame, where they outshot the Jets 19-9. Aside from the goals including Nelson's wrister in the slot, Lee's redirect off a Scott Mayfield point shot and Beauvillier's third period tally, the Islanders had a plethora of chances. In the second period alone, Barzal floated a backhander over Winnipeg's goalie Laurent Brossoit, Ryan Pulock was denied on an odd-man rush, Casey Cizikas set up Cal Clutterbuck on the doorstep and Nick Leddy struck iron on the rush.
"I thought we were a little slow out of the box," Trotz said. "The whole second period was good, we were playing fast, we had good line change. We could have really pulled away in the second, we had really good looks, shorthanded chances and breakaways."
Video: WPG@NYI: Bailey nets redirection in slot for PPG
POWER PLAY NETS FIRST OF THE SEASON:
Last season, the Isles power play was lackluster, finishing 29th in the NHL. This season, the Isles have made concerted efforts to transform the power play, notably bringing in Assistant Coach Jim Hillier, who oversaw the Toronto Maple Leafs' power play last season. Additionally, the Isles wiped the titles of PP1 and PP2 unit to rid any sense of entitlement. Trotz stressed that there would be no distinction between units, but rather the coaches would run with whichever unit was rolling.
The unit consisting of Devon Toews, Jordan Eberle, Nelson, Beauvillier and Bailey scored the Islanders first power-play goal of the season, which in turn sparked the Islanders offense. Beauvillier sent a feed down low to Bailey who wired a one-timer past Brossoit.
"It was a good entry by us," Beauvillier said. "I was surprised I had so much time. Bails was by himself. I think we have two good power plays. It's going to get us going for sure. It's going to win us games this year."
Video: WPG@NYI: Beauvillier jams home backhander in tight
GREISS SOLID IN SEASON DEBUT:
Prior to Sunday's contest, Trotz stressed the importance of allotting both goaltenders with opportunities early in the season. Semyon Varlamov got the starting nod during the home opener, so Greiss, who is accustomed to splitting the pipes, as he did last season with Robin Lehner, got his first taste of action against the Jets.
"The great thing about both of those guys is there's not a selfish bone in their bodies," Trotz said. "Both of them. I can guarantee you that coming in there, Varly is just as happy for Greisser as Greisser would be for Varly. They have a great relationship and it's one that will continue to grow. They are team-first guys. You are not going to find any better guys that think about the group more than those two guys."
Video: WPG@NYI: Greiss turns away Connor with pad
The 33-year-old German netminder stopped 35 of 36 shots on Sunday, including all 15 during the Jets first-period barrage. In the second period, the Jets caught the Isles on their heels just after Lee had scored the third goal of the night. Laine fired a shot from the point, but Greiss flashed his glove to make the stop. In the third period, Greiss stoned Kyle Connor on a breakaway. Greiss was even sharp in the third period, as the always-dangerous Jets continued to test him, but the Isles netminder held firm. Greiss earned himself a series of "Greiss-er" chants from the 9,923 fans in attendance.
"It's always nice to get the first one out of the way," Greiss said. "Everyone was chipping in. I've got to do my part and the guys have got to do their part. I'm glad we could pull out the win there."
The Islanders wrap up a three-game homestand when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night at NYCB Live.