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Reigniting the Chemistry

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
When you read a newspaper article about a successful line combination, you’re often going to read about chemistry. Not the kind of chemistry that occurs when you mix baking soda with vinegar, but instead the kind of chemistry you get when two tango dancers read each other’s slightest movements and predict their partner’s next move.

Matt Moulson (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Last season, Matt Moulson, John Tavares and PA Parenteau developed that kind of chemistry. Things may have gotten off to a rocky start, but by season’s end, they were thinking one step ahead of their opponents.

“Johnny, PA and I seem to be able to read off of each other out there,” said Moulson, who now has two consecutive 30-goal seasons. “We know where each other are going to be. We obviously love playing with each other. We talked about a lot of things off the ice and on the bench. I think that helps when you’re talking about chemistry.”

He added, “The main thing is that we really enjoy playing with each other and it seems sometimes you find guys that click on lines for whatever reason and seem to mesh well. That’s the case with our line.”

Tavares and Moulson, from the same town in Ontario, have known each other for years and tend to spend a lot of time together in the summer, training at the same facility in Mississauga, Ontario. But Parenteau, who completes the trio, is another story.

“I’ve talked to PA a couple times,” Moulson said. “I asked him, ‘Are you going to come back (to Long Island) so we can get our chemistry together before the season?’ He said, ‘We never lose it.’ According to him, we never lose chemistry and I think I agree with that.”

According to Moulson, Parenteau is already en route from Quebec to Long Island. And even though the guys have all been in contact with each other over the summer, Tavares said the space can be a good thing.

John Tavares (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
“Sometimes I think you have to get away from each other to appreciate the guys you play with and what they bring to the table,” Tavares said. “We all prepare in our own ways, but obviously, we still keep in touch here and there and know what each other are doing. I’m staying with Matt for training camp. I think that’s a great way to keep the chemistry going. PA will be here soon, so we’ll be able to rekindle what we had going last season.”

All three players reached new milestones by seasons’ end and the team’s most productive offensive line is looking to improve on what they had last year.

“I think chemistry can always get better,” Tavares said. “We just want to be more consistent than we were at times last year and I think that comes with experience and maturing at this level, just consistency and being a threat every night.”

Moulson added, “Obviously, we all love getting points and getting wins, so I think you have to be hungry to get those goals, which lead to wins. That’s the biggest thing. I hope we can score as many as we possibly can. I don’t want to put a cap on it.”

So for now, they’ll each be that source of motivation, lighting that metaphorical Bunsen burner underneath each other’s skates.
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