Take a deep breath Islander faithful, you beloved blue and orange now have a number other than zero in the win column. After being swept in a home-and-home against the Chicago Blackhawks this weekend, the Isles came out Monday afternoon and defeated in Winnipeg Jets four to two and obtained their first win of the 2015-2016 regular season. Here are three quick takeaways from this afternoon’s contest.
Increased Energy and Intensity
Although it was only the third game of the season, it was critical that the Islanders came out and got a win against the visiting Jets. The Isles looked determine to do so from the very first puck drop. A level of intensity was on the ice that could not be found in either game against Chicago. The Isles charged the net with purpose and finished sixty minutes of play with an impressive 44 shots on goal. A wise man once said, “in order to score goals, one must shoot the puck.” Luckily the Isles followed this extremely important advice. All kidding aside, New York demonstrated a will to win that was not seen in the first two games and it obviously paid off.
Improved Power Play
Special teams had been the bane of existence for the Islanders all last season and in the first two games of this season. With all of the offensive talent on this team, it was impossible to comprehend why this team looked so discombobulated on the power play. Fortunately, today was a completely different story. The Isles experienced six power play opportunities this afternoon and were able to find the back of the net twice. Now two out of six may not look like great odds but when your team normally stinks on the man advantage, it is quite lovely. Not only did the power play produce two goals, it appeared as if the Isles actually knew what they were doing. This my friends is an accomplishment all on its own.
No Halak= No Problem
The Isles starting goaltender, Jaroslav Halak, has not been able to suit up for the Islanders this season due to injury. Luckily for New York, backup goalie Thomas Greiss has looked like a straight up boss in his two starts. Greiss stopped 22 of 24 shots taken by the Jets this afternoon and looked very solid against the Stanley Cup champions on Friday night. A healthy Halak is still the best net minder for the Isles but it is comforting to know that he is not the only reliable goalie on the roster.
The Isles have accomplished that ever-so-precious first victory of the season and now they can breathe a little bit easier. As long as they continue to play like they did today, everybody will forget about the feelings of uneasiness they experienced watching their Islanders struggle through the first weekend of the regular season. New York will get some much need rest these next few days and then host a talented Nashville Predators team on Thursday night . Until then, enjoy this victory Islander faithful!
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.